What type of transcript should I choose?

Keep in mind that the type of transcript you request will impact the amount of time it takes to transcribe your piece. Consider the two types of transcripts:

  • Intelligent Verbatim – omits the distracting verbal habits of everyday speech (the “sort ofs,” “okays,” and “you know” habits). More cost effective and still an accurate transcript.
  • Complete Verbatim – captures absolutely everything that is spoken and includes the conversation verbatim (with identifiable dialect, pauses, etc.). Less cost effective, but often needed for legal purposes or as a part of focus group studies.

How long will it take to transcribe my recording/documents?

That depends on a number of factors: the quality of the recording (or how legible the written materials are); the speaker’s dialect, tone, and pitch; how fast the speaker talks; the number of speakers; the level of background noise; the amount of specialized terminology in the interview (consider providing a terminology list to the transcriber in advance). The generally accepted rule of thumb is that it takes a maximum of 4 hours to transcribe 1 hour of recorded material. Shawna has found, however, that her maximum is generally 3 hours to transcribe 1 hour of recorded material. These estimates can obviously be far lower with superior recordings or higher with poor quality recordings.

What are the benefits of a quality recording?

You will save money, because a low-quality recording will take far longer to transcribe. A poor quality recording will also result in more “indiscernibles,” making your transcript less accurate.

How can I ensure a quality recording?

  • Choose the right recording device. Digital recorders are always clearer than cassettes or microcassettes (though they can still be used in rooms/areas with no background noises, and when used at close range.)
  • Position the recorder/microphone properly. Be sure it is not too far away from the speakers and that it is pointed toward them. Consider an external microphone, as it will capture a clearer recording – especially with multiple speakers.
  • Identify speakers. For recordings that include panels of speakers/multiple interview subjects, ask speakers to state their names and spell them before the interview/event. This helps the transcriber ID different voices throughout the transcription process (and saves her time/saves you money).
  • Choose the right recording environment. Quiet, indoor environments are best. Recorders tend to pick up on the background noises our ears filter out: coughs, other voices, paper shuffling, traffic, air conditioning units, clinking silverware against plates, etc. (restaurants are generally too noisy).
  • Test your recording device. Talk into your recording device as if in normal conversation, within the room where your recording will take place. Test the microphone’s ability to pick up your voice from varying distances.

What recorded medium does Turbo Transcripts prefer?

We will work with any recorded medium, keeping in mind that quality of the recording will dictate total length of time to complete the project. We can transcribe from standard or microcassettes, CDs, DVDs, sound files and written documents.