Top Five Questions to Ask a Transcription Service

If you are new to the transcription industry and have never used a transcription service before, but find that you have the need to, here are our top questions you should ask before choosing a transcription provider

  1. Who will be transcribing of your work? – Some transcription companies use software, others use multiple transcriptionists with different skill sets. If you are looking for someone who is knowledgeable in your field then ask for it, after all who is better positioned to transcribe your work than someone who knows it. Be wary of transcription services that use transcription software as it can lead to inconsistencies and poor quality.
  2. How much do they charge? Are there any hidden fees? – As with most things, it is important to read the small print. If it appears to be cheap or too good to be true, then it probably is. Think, does the rate they quote include everything you need, or will there be additional charges? Some service providers charge extra for; timestamps, fast delivery, extra time to transcribe because of poor audio. Make sure you know exactly how you’ll be charged and for what.
  3. Confidentiality and Privacy – What’s their privacy policy when dealing with your documents? Are they willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA).This is especially important if your audio contains personal/sensitive or confidential information. Legally you need to ensure that the appropriate measures are in place to ensure it stays safe, secure, private and confidential. Work with a service provider that is registered under the Data Protection Act.
  4. How soon is now? – What is their turnaround time? If your transcription requirement is urgent it is likely to cost more than the advertised rate.
  5. Accuracy – This is an extremely important factor, as you want your work to be highly accurate and proofed. What is their accuracy rate? Is proof reading included as standard? If you are looking for a specific type of transcription such as medical or legal, then is the transcriptionist experienced in this area, as if not this can greatly affect the accuracy of your transcription.

As with any service, it is recommended that you get a few quotes from different service providers, where possible ask for a testimonial or case study from someone who has used their service and is in the same industry as you. This will give you a good understanding of their strengths and indeed weaknesses.

Here at Fingertips Typing Services we offer a wide range of transcription services and have transcriptionists experienced in industries such as: Legal, Medical, Academic and Insurance. If you would like a quote please email info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Why Transcription services are essential for todays’ business

We speak, on average between 150 to 170 words per minute! And if my maths is correct that is 10,000 words per hour that is a whole lot of words!

We also speak 4 times faster than we type, and 7 times faster than we write, making a transcriptionists job a challenging one.  Our professional transcriptionists can type between 80 to 100 words per minute (wpm). So a 1-hour recorded interview takes around 4 to 6 hours to fully transcribe.

Here is our view on why Transcription services are essential for todays’ business.

  • Drive SEO and Website traffic – Audio and video content, once transcribed, can help improve your website traffic
  • Increase your audience reach – Recordings of corporate videos or meetings can be easily published once transcribed and distributed to your customers, your industry peers and media
  • Making it user friendly for those hard of hearing – Captioning film or video content will ensure you do not exclude people who are hard of hearing, or where English is not their first language
  • Create more content – Repurposing old online video and audio content as downloadable PDFs or e-books will provide extra content for your website and boost website strategy
  • Alternative to note taking – Transcription services are a great alternative to taking notes throughout a discussion
  • Capture everything – This is one of the biggest benefits of transcription, literally nothing is missed out. Every sentence, word, mumble or cough is recorded. The transcriber will ensure that everything is entirely accurate.

Summary

Transcription is a great tool for any business, it allows you to focus on your core business and reaching your goals and objectives instead of doing everything by yourself.

Tips on recording an academic lecture

Recording lectures is an easy and convenient way to make learning easier, with large class sizes and not to mention to short attention span of students, recording lectures has become popular in all major universities in the UK.

Here are our tips to getting a crystal clear lecture recording:

  1. Let the class know you are recording – This will ensure that you have the class engaged.
  2. Who are you? – State your name and the lecture clearly at the beginning of the recsording, this will make it easier for the transcriber.
  3. Invest in a decent digital voice recorder – There are several good recorders on the market without costing a fortune.
  4. Do a trial run– Check the sound quality, you may need to use a small microphone as some recorders may not pick up sound after a certain distance.
  5. Use a recording device that has a background cancellation feature -This will limit interference and make it easier to transcribe.
  6. Location, location, location – Place your recording device near the lecturer to ensure good audio quality.
  7. Repeat questions – Even thought you may have great audio, it can still sometimes be difficult to pick out questions, so repeat the questions so that the transcriber can pick up on that and the answers.
  8. Switch off other devices nearby – As these can interfere with the recording.
  9. Speak loudly and clearly – This will help your recording device pick up what your saying and repeat any answers from the students.
  10. Don’t forget to save – It sounds really simple, but you would be amazed how many people forget this!

Fingertips Typing Services offers a comprehensive Academic Transcription Service, for more information on how we can help you email: info@fingertipstyping.co.uk

Transcribing Podcasts

The podcast has revolutionised the way we communicate content to the public, it has been perfect for; Schools, colleges, universities, businesses, the travel industry, not to mention more common forms of media such as: radio programmes, magazines, political broadcasts, religious organisations, TV commentary and newspapers.

However to be able to search for podcasts over the internet you need written content, search terms and keywords, otherwise your podcast is effectively invisible, unless you spend time and money advertising.

Providing a transcript of the full podcast or excerpts of it will help with getting good search engine results and ultimately drive more people to listen to your content. By providing a full transcript you also ensure that you do not alienate the deaf or those with slightly impaired hearing. If you can’t hear clearly, then your only option is to read. In fact the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and the Communications Act 2003 encourages the provision of full accessible content for all broadcasts.

It is also quicker to read than listen to an audio file, you may find that some of your audience will prefer reading your podcast rather than listening.  By providing options you will not be limiting your audience.

Tips for transcribing podcasts:

  • Use Time Markers – Allow listeners to go to the point they want to hear, or they can read the transcript for that section
  • Transcribe in Intelligent Verbatim Transcription – This ensures a full, accurate transcript, removing all the ‘ums’, ‘ahs’, repetitions and other verbal habits people have. Making it easier to read and actually reduces transcription time and cost

How long does a Podcast take to transcribe?

The professional transcription industry standard allows one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of clearly recorded speech. It therefore takes a minimum of four hours to transcribe a one hour recording but this can be more depending on a number of factors including:

  • How clear the recording is
  • The clarity and speed of the voices
  • The number of people speaking
  • Background noise
  • Accents of speakers

The Benefits of Transcribing your Podcast

  • It allows you to create clickable links – Ensuring that you are always driving your listeners back to your website, which is always good etiquette
  • Reinforce the content – Some people like to have the written text in front of their eyes while listen
  • It is professional
  • Makes your content searchable – Which will drive more visitors to your site
  • Great for search engine optimization (SEO) – The transcribed files will allow you to create title, tags and description of the audio file which will be picked up by search engines whereas audio files do not currently have this ability

If you have a podcast and feel you would benefit from transcription services, then Fingertips Typing can help. Visit Fingertips Typing Services.

Written by: Cerri Killworth, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing Services.

Transcription and the Rio Olympics 2016

The opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro is only a few days away. This is the first Olympic Games ever to be held in South America.

This years games has not been without its controversy, with political, economic and health crises has dominated the headlines, and the doping scandal casting a shadow over the sport, in particular track and field, with 113 Russian athletes banned from participating.

As August the 5th gets ever closer, organisers are hoping to put these problems behind them, with all eyes on the opening ceremony, which is set to be a spectacular event.

There are 206 countries participating, competing for 4,924 medals across 42 sports in just 17 days, with multiple languages, transcribers and commentators all over the globe are poised ready to get talking and typing. With all the different languages and accents, it isn’t always going to be plain sailing for transcribers.

Here are a few things that they will be looking out for in order to present a professional service to the Olympics and the public.

  • Accent- With 206 countries taking part, there will be many different accents to look out for, the ways in which words are pronounced
  • Dialect – The distinctive grammar and vocabulary associated with a regional or social use of a language, transcribers will need to listen hard to ensure that the correct message is conveyed
  • Idiolect – an individuals’ distinctive and unique style of speaking
  • Paralinguistic – A persons’ body language, facial expressions and gestures (all other non-verbal communication) that add emphasis and meaning to the speakers message
  • Time coding – This is particularly important when it comes to subtitles, which determines the start and end times going through the footage frame by frame

It is going to be a busy and challenging few weeks for transcribers across the globe, communicating all of the stories, interviews and live action of the games, but should be very rewarding and enjoyable, watching all those athletes battle it out for that all important Gold Olympic medal!

Get on the podium

Everyone strives to be the best they can be, our day to day lives can be our own race, both business and personal. We all train hard to get to where we want to be, we focus on delivering and achieving our goals despite the hurdles that life throws at us.  Getting onto that podium can often be a challenge but not impossible and when we do win that first place, deadline, get the deal we feel like a gold medal winner.

If you find yourself with too much to do and too little time, then Fingertips Typing can help. Visit Fingertips Typing Services.

Written by: Cerri Killworth, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing Services.

Spot the difference?

All transcription services are the same…

Wrong… there are significant differences between different types of transcription services available, this blog explores these differences.

Edited Transcriptions

This is where the transcriber can omit parts of the audio file as long as the meaning of the recording does not change. Like verbatim this type of transcription is quite time-consuming because the transcriber must be able to differentiate between what is important and what is not important.

Examples of where this type of transcription is used: Speeches, conferences, seminars, tutorials.

Intelligent Transcription

This is where the transcriber does not need to include emotions, half sentences or mumbled words.  This type of transcription often takes longer as it involves the transcriber having a complete understanding of what the speaker is trying to convey.

Verbatim Transcription

This is probably the most difficult and time consuming of all types of transcription services., this is because it involves transcribing each word, laugh, emotion, background noise or mumbles.

The transcriber must pay very close attention to all of the sounds on the audio file, including understanding emotions or making out mumbled noises.

Examples of where this type of transcription is used: Legal proceedings, movies, films,  and commercials.

Summary

Each type of transcription requires a highly skilled transcriber to be able to decipher and convey the correct message in written format.

Transcription and Confidentiality

Definition of confidentiality

confidentiality
What is confidential data?

Any data that contains personal, sensitive or confidential information. This data might include, but not limited to:

  • Medical record, be that doctor, dentist, hospital, optometrist, any healthcare provider
  • Police records
  • School/education records
  • Government held information, such as driving licence or passport
  • Information held by social services
  • Legal proceedings or information held by a lawyer
  • Property dealings, including lettings or sales
  • Personnel/HR data, including contracts, grievances or disciplinaries

Legislation

DPA 8
8 Principles of the Data Protection Act

The Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) is an Act of Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland which defines UK law on the processing of data on identifiable living people. It is the main piece of legislation that governs the protection of personal data in the UK. The Data Protection Act (DPA) is designed to protect personal data stored on electronically.

It requires that organisations must ensure the protection of personal information, that might include name, address, date of birth, bank details. There is stronger legal protection for more sensitive information, such as:

  • ethnic background
  • political opinions
  • religious beliefs
  • health
  • sexual health
  • criminal records

Any organisation with access to personal data has a legal responsibility to adhere to DPA.

The individual whose personal data is being held is known as the data subject.

The individual who is identified as being responsible for the security of the personal data is known as the data controller.

The Information Commissioners Office (ICO) is responsible of overseeing and ensuring the DPA is followed.

Fingertips typing Services Limited Ltd is registered under the Data Protection Act acts in accordance with all the regulations set out by the ICO.

Ensuring confidentiality

Files are uploaded onto our web folders server.

Clients have a dedicated folder for their company. They can log in using a user name  and password provided by Fingertips. The client uploads their file into their Dictations To Do folder. There can be sub-folders in this folder, depending on urgency e.g. 4 hour, same day, overnight etc.

The system notifies the director that a new file is ready. Only the director and administrator has access to all folders. The manager will then transfer the file into the file that is specifically for typists. Typists only have access to that specific folder.

Once the transcription is complete, the manager will move it from the Typists folder to the client’s Transcriptions Done folder. The client can easily check the progress or completion of their files.

Clients can also send their files by YouSendIt (now called Hightail) and SendThisFile securely.

There is a strict non-disclosure policy provided by Fingertips Typing, which is adhered to by the typists.

Choosing Fingertips Typing

Fingertips has been established for over a decade, since director, Cathy Bennett, started the business. Our reputation is built on quality and trust – our transcribers are highly trained typists with experience in many different industries.

We’ve prepared this Privacy Statement to make specific reassurances that your information is kept confidential. This document will run through the different kinds of information collected and stored by Fingertips and explain what we will use it for.

Privacy Statement

Your personal details

To register for an account with Fingertips, you are required to supply your company name, your name, address, telephone number, email address and web address if applicable. This information will be used for invoicing purposes, as well as being added to the Fingertips customer database. The telephone number is used to contact the client in the event of unpaid invoices and any other work related reason that may occur.

Fingertips will not pass your personal details on to any third party.

Who can access my information?

The sub-contractors of Fingertips do not have access to the database and therefore to your information. Only the Director of Fingertips has access to the database, and the administrator who updates the database.

Visit our website for more information.

Written by Debbie Rowe, Transcriber for Fingertips Typing

 

Transcription and Typing

First Typewriter

first typewriter

The first typewriter recognised as being “commercially successful” is one invented in 1868 by Christopher Latham Sholes, Carlos Glidden and Samuel W. Soule in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. [1]

The patent was sold for $12,000 to a company called Densmore and Yost, who tried to manufacture the machine. The company made an agreement with E. Remington and Sons to produce the machine.  In 1874,  the Sholes and Glidden Type-Writer went on sale. It had a QWERTY keyboard, and was a blind writer, as the keys struck upwards. It meant that the typist couldn’t see the characters as they were being typed. [2]

Learning to Type

Children these days learn the keyboard very quickly without ever having a typing lesson. Because they navigate the keyboard using one hand or just two fingers, does that make it wrong because they are not using the tried and tested methods?

Learning to type, in the traditional way, is about learning which fingers type which letters, lots of repetition, and then the development of typing by touch or touch typing, by muscle memory. It was believed that this was the most efficient way of typing. Once the individual has mastered touch typing, the development of speed is crucial.

Children today can learn to type by games that teach them whilst having fun. It becomes second nature very quickly as they are using mobile devices with keyboards from a very young age.

Typing speeds used to be the benchmark, along with accuracy, for administrative jobs. The job adverts used to state how many words per minute the individual needed to be able to type in order to be considered for the job. A typing test, at interview, was standard to check speed. Check your typing speed here.

edu_seating
Image courtesy of  ratatype.com/learn

 

Here are some best practice pointers for safe and efficient typing. You can view the web page here for full details.

Posture – sit straight, elbows at right angles, face the screen with head tilted slightly forward

Home keys – ensure you always return your fingers to the home keys between typing bouts

Take a break – ensure you take regular breaks, to rest your eyes and your hands, wrists and shoulders

 

Evolution of the Typewriter

Since the invention of the typewriter, the keyboard, as it has become known, has evolved hugely.

mytype-timeline-full
Click on the Timeline to learn more

The concept of the modern keyboard has also changed, with the invention of mobile technology.

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Typing Then and Now

When I learned to type, it was on the old fashioned manual keyboards, in a cold hut, whilst at sixth form college. Having mastered the basics, I then progressed to an electronic word processor that took on another learning journey. The keyboard was more reactive and faster, the keys required less pressure and what had been manual calculations before for tabs or centering were now a more automated process.

USB typwriter
USB Typewriter?

Typewriters and word processors gave way to computers, with small screens, small memory capacity and large keyboards. As technology progressed, screens got larger and so did the memory, and keyboards became more streamlined.

Eventually, the computers got smaller in physical size, massive in capacity and screen and keyboard condensed into one device. Typing can still be done manually on touchscreen with fingers or a stylus. But you can now dictate to your device and it is clever enough to recognise what it is you want to say.
The documentation produced has also changed. Letters used to be the only

hawking
Stephen Hawking

way to communicate, and these were typewritten or handwritten. Emails became another way to stay in touch, followed by text messaging.

Social media followed, allowing words to reach their recipient in a flash.

Technology exists to allow a user with a disability to type by having their eye movements tracked on a keyboard… Stephen Hawking.

The future is here – you can now buy a virtual keyboard, which a small bluetooth device projects on to a flat surface, offering the user a full keyboard experience. [3]

Virtual Keyboard.jpg
Virtual Keyboard

Whatever next?

Transcription and Typing

Whatever you  need typing, Fingertips Typing Services can help. We have years of experience of typing and transcribing a variety of projects, for example, but not limited to:

  • Interviews/focus groups/seminar/conferences
  • Medical reports
  • Property/lettings/estate agents reports
  • Legal/insurance reports
  • Education/dissertation/theses

Visit the Fingertips Typing website to see how we can help you work effectively, by providing a friendly, professional and personal service.

Written by: Debbie Rowe, typist for Fingertips Typing Services

Resources

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typewriter

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sholes_and_Glidden_typewriter

[3] http://gandtnews4u.blogspot.com/2012/12/cube-laser-virtual-keyboard-future-of_75.html

Voting

Here in the UK, for some parts of the country, there is a vote to be cast on Thursday 5th May.

Voters in 41 police force areas in England & Wales, excluding London, will elect a Police and Crime Commissioner. [1] Turn out in the last PCC elections – in November 2012- was poor, at an average of 15.1%.

To find out more about the elections happening across the UK, visit the following links: [2] Continue reading Voting

May… we help?

Bank Holiday Monday – UK

This weekend sees the May Bank Holiday in the UK, a three day weekend, where historically banks and businesses would close.

Weather

It’s a running joke in the UK that, on the day that we have a day off work due to the bank

Weather Forecast May Bank Holiday
Courtesy of Weather.com

holiday, it rains.

The forecast, for the South East, at least, on Monday 2nd May, says cloudy, but not necessarily any rain.

 

Origins

The May Day holiday is the fourth of eight bank holidays in the UK.

British bank holidays are public holidays and have been recognised since 1871. [1]

The name Bank Holiday comes from the time when banks were shut and so no trading could take place. [1]

The first of May was the bank holiday, however, in modern times, it has moved to the first Monday in May, for convenience for schools and businesses, creating a long weekend.

Traditions

There are many traditions that surround the 1st of May, predominantly to do with the warmer weather and the onset of summer, after a long winter. The earliest celebration can be traced back 2000 years, where  Floralia, festival of Flora, the Roman goddess of flowers, was celebrated. [2]

Much of the May Day celebrations derive from the pagan Anglo-Saxon customs held during “Þrimilci-mōnaþ” as well as old Celtic traditions.

“The Old English name for the month of May means Month of Three Milkings.”

May Pole

In the past, people would cut down young trees and put them in the ground on the village green, tie ribbons to the top, and dance around to mark the arrival of the warm weather.

The dancers would weave in and out of each other, in opposite directions, effectively causing a plait-like effect with the ribbons. Maypoles were popular all over the country, and school children would practice for weeks before May Day to ensure they were able to remember the dance on the day.

May Queen

May Queens were, and still are,  human representations of the Roman goddess, Flora. A May Queen might be chosen from a group of young women, aged 13 and above, who had either performed a dance or similar, and would lead the procession.

Another tradition associated with the idea of choosing a May Queen, is the May Lifiting. On the first of May, in the old days, the young men of the village would choose the prettiest girl in the village and carry her around on their shoulders. On the second of May, the girl would choose a boy.

Morris Dancing

Morris dancing may have originated from several different places. The name Morris may be traced, possibly, back to a form of dancing that arrived in England with the arrival of the Moors from North Africa. Alternatively, the name of the dance may be so called because the dancers looked  Moor-ish, with their darker complexions. The dancers sometimes painted their faces black. [1]

Across England, the Morris dancers can be identified by their clothes. They are often dressed in white with coloured baldrics (coloured belts) across their chests. [1]

The formation of the Morris dance consists of either six or eight men, in two lines facing each other or in a circle. Part of their costume is white hankies or sticks, that they wave or shake. Some Morris dancers have bells tied to their knees to add to the music and their calls. [1]

1st May round the World

1297985112_industrial-workers-of-the-world.jpg

Around the world, the 1st of May is widely associated with commemorating the advancing of labour movements. It is known as Labour Day or International Worker’s Day.

In the US, in 1884, the American Federation of Organized Trades and Labor Unions demanded an eight-hour workday, to come in effect as of 1 May 1886. This resulted in the general strike and the Haymarket Riot of 1886, but eventually also in the official sanction of the eight-hour workday. [3] Labour Day, despite the auspicious date, is actually celebrated on the first Monday of September.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands also celebrate Labour Day on different dates; though that has to do with how the holiday originated in those countries. [3]

May we help?

Fingertips Typing Services can help with your labours, even if you have to work on any of the UK bank holidays. Visit us to find out more.

 

Written by: Debbie Rowe – Typist for Fingertips Typing

Resources

[1] http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/bankholidays.html

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/May_Day#Great_Britain

[3] http://www.officeholidays.com/countries/global/may_day.php