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

The Top Three Ways to Use Transcription in your Business

Many businesses are adopting transcription to streamline administrative tasks, freeing up valuable time to focus on business goals and projects.

Here are our top three ways transcription can be beneficial and save time and money:

  1. Record ideas and project goals – All successful projects start with a great idea, and a set of tasks that need to be completed. With the help of transcription you can record the ideas, discussions and tasks highlighted without the need for someone to write or minute the meeting. It also ensures that nothing is missed, which inevitably happens when jotting it down in a note pad.
  2. Record meetings and interviews – These are an essential part of business life, but anyone who has taken minutes a meeting will know that it is a tedious task. By recording the meetings or interviews you will ensure that everything is captured and that what was discussed flows naturally. It also ensures that all participants in the meeting are focused solely on what is being discussed rather than worrying about taking notes, making them more productive.
  3. Capture your events and conferences – Networking events and conferences play an important part in business growth. These types of events allow you and your customers (exiting and prospect) to get to know each other better. But what about those customers that were unable to make it, or were not invited, because you didn’t know they existed? If you record and then transcribe the content of your event into text and publish it online, they you are likely to engage with a wider audience and open your business to even more opportunities.

Fingertips typing offers an audio transcription service, for more information on our services and how we can help free up your businesses time and make it more productive then contact us:

Author: Cerri Killworth, Fingertips Typing Services

Why you should transcribe You Tube Videos and Vlogs

Did you know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world — second only to Google, its parent company. 60 hours of video are uploaded onto YouTube every minute[1] and with over a billion users[2], how do you get your video seen and heard by them when there is a sea of videos out there.

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) plays a massive part in your success in getting your video noticed, the basics of which are to use: keywords, title, description, and tags. However search engines can only crawl text, not images or audio, so as a vlogger or YouTuber you need to give your video text which involves having a full and accurate transcript.

By transcribing your YouTube videos you are likely to see your number of views increase.

Why you should transcribe your videos?

  • Aid People with Hearing Difficulties – There are 70 million deaf people worldwide, by transcribing your videos you will give people with hearing problems access to your videos. your videos. The laws also requires captioning videos in some context to help deaf people access the same content as everybody.  So it is better to transcribe your videos to be on the safe side
  • Better SEO and More Traffic to Your Website – As highlighted about by adding full transcription, keywords and tags you are allowing search engines to access the full content of your video, helping people find them quickly and easily
  • Improved Comprehension – Non native English speakers often find it easier to watch videos with transcription, making the content easier to understand and memorise
  • When you can’t access audio – If you are on public transport, a library or in the workplace there may be times when you do not have any headphones and therefore can’t listen  to the audio of a video. By transcribing your file you will still ensure that your audience can access it, wherever they are

How to transcribe your videos?

YouTube does have the facility to caption and transcribe your videos, however these tools are basic and although a good starting point, they still often produce errors which will mean that you need to manually clean up the errors which can be both time consuming and tedious.

You could use transcribing software or online resources such as:

  • SpeechPad
  • Fivver

You can use a professional transcription service like FingerTips Typing Services, which provides high quality services, with a quick turn around.  Contact us to see how we can help

[1] Source: Jeff

[2] Source: YouTube

The importance of eye care

Typing and transcription is not all about getting your fingers moving or your ears listening, it is also about using your eyes to focus on the content that you are typing

We all know that eye care is important, but we usually push it to the back of our mind or leave it until it becomes an issue.

The problem is leaving it until your eyes hurt, you get headaches or something else can mean that it is too late to do something about it.

I find myself daily spending more time focusing on my screen without taking a break to rest my eyes.

What are the symptoms of eye strain?

  • Eye discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Sore, tired, burning or itchy eyes
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Watery eyes
  • Dry eyes
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Increased sensitivity to light

So, how can we prevent eye strain?

  • Work in a well-lit environment ensuring that the room around you is well illuminated so that you aren’t staring at a super bright screen in a dark room
  • Take regular breaks to ensure that your eyes are focusing on something further away and not just at your screen
  • Regular eye tests are essential; the optometrist checks the health of your eyes and looks for signs of other medical conditions
  • Rest your eyes, regularly look away from your computer screen and focus on distant objects. This will relax the focusing muscle inside the eye and reduces eye fatigue
  • Reduce glare, glare and reflections can cause eye strain, using a anti-glare screen filter can help
  • Adjust your monitor’s settings, this can help reduce eye strain and fatigue. Make sure the brightness is the same as the surroundings. You can also adjust the monitor’s colour temperature, reducing the amount of blue colours on your screen. Blue light is short-wavelength visible light that is associated with more eye strain than longer-wavelength hues, such as orange and red
  • Wear lenses specifically for computers if you already use glasses or contact lenses, wearing specific prescription glasses/lenses will give you the most comfort whilst working on your computer

Phonetics – Part One

This week I have been doing some reading up on Phonetics. It was a subject that I knew very little about (in regards to the alphabet) and it got me wondering whether there is still a need for a phonetic alphabet and indeed phonetic transcription.

I wanted to share with you all my research so far, I am calling this blog Part One as there is still so much more information out there and it is quite lengthy and hard to read/absorb. But here is what I have discovered so far…

What is it?

Phonetic transcription is the visual representation of speech sounds. The most common type of phonetic transcription uses a phonetic alphabet.


Phonetic transcriptions are usually written in the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), in which each words sound has its own symbol (not the spelling) and are written in square brackets [ ].

What is the International Phonetic Alphabet?

 The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a system of phonetic notation devised by linguists to accurately and uniquely represent each of the wide variety of sounds (phones or phonemes) used in spoken human language. The IPA became widely used before the First World War.

For example: The word home is hoʊm, and the transcription of come is kʌm. Note that in spelling, these words are similar. They both end in ome. But their phonetic transcriptions are different, because they are pronounced differently.

Phonetic transcription is usually given in brackets, like this: /hoʊm/, /kʌm/.

 Why would you use Phonetic Transcription?

  • For someone where English is not their native language or they are learning it, phonetic transcription enables him or her to extract precise and explicit information on pronunciation
  • Public service announcements and broadcasting – to ensure that broadcasters, announcers and news readers are pronouncing word correctly

Is there still a need for the IPA?

The IPA is being used less and less here are our thoughts as to some of the reasons:

  • Both teachers and students to not feel that the symbols are useful or credible any more
  • Online dictionaries and thesauruses that pronounce the word as sound so that students can listen and repeat the words
  • The rise in online language tutorials
  • Phonetic alphabet may not be useful for everyone as it is quite difficult to understand

What is the difference between phonetic and phonemic transcription?

Phonetics is the study of the systematic organisation of sound in different languages. Phonetic transcription is concerned with the physical characteristics of sounds, not their patterns. Phonemic transcription is concerned with the distribution of sound therefore when a sound alters the meaning of the word it becomes important to allocate separate symbols to make them distinguishable.


This is by no means a conclusion on the subject, there is still a lot to be understood on this subject, but I want to try and steer away from using academic terms and share with you my research in more layman terms, because I am not in any way shape or form an academic and will not try to be. I personally find some of the reading I have done difficult to understand and I want to make sure that my blog post explains phonetic and phonemic transcription in a simple and easy to understand way.

If anyone has any experience or knowledge that they would like to share on the subject then please leave a comment.


Cerri Killworth, Typist for Fingertips Typing services.

How to turn an interview into something meaningful?

There are many different types of interviews conducted every day; job and university, celebrity and sports personalities, police and legal interviews. Although each of these has different requirements for what the information gathered is going to be used for, each is using same underlying technique which is to ask lots of questions to gather as much information as possible.

But there is so much more that can be done to ensure that you are getting the best possible quality answers from the interviewee.

This blog post explores the most useful techniques that can be adopted to turn questions and answers into a meaningful conversation.

Our Techniques

  • Use Open-ended Questions – You want to get as much information as possible from the candidate, so avoid yes or no questions “Are you thirsty?” For example as the answer is either going to be “Yes” or “No”. Open-ended questions will elicit longer answers and ensure that the interviewee gives you examples and details, for example: “What else do we need to do to make this a success?”
  • Try not to anticipate answers – There is nothing worse than be interrupted mid conversation or having your sentences finished. Let the interviewee speak and have their opportunity to explain everything for you.
  • Funnel Questions – This involves using general questions, and then homing in on a point in each answer. This is a common technique used by the police when taking a statement. For example: “How many people were involved in the robbery?”
    “About four.”
    “Were they children or adults?”
    “Mostly adults.”
    “What sort of ages were they?”
    “About twenty-one and thirty.”
    “Were they carrying any weapons or tools?”
    “Yes, several of them had crow bars and hammers.”

By continuing with the funnel technique you can help the interviewee  re-live the scenario and focus on the detail that is needed.

  •  Listen slowly – This can help you illicit more information from the interviewee, without having to ask any further questions. Try this technique
    • Ask a question
    • Listen attentively
    • Count to five once they have finished talking before asking the next question. Yes this may feel unnatural at first, but it might illicit additional information and an expansion of the answer from the interviewee.
    • Tip: Pick a few questions that give the interviewee room for introspection, the pause will then give the interviewee the space to fill it with an additional example or a more detailed explanation.

These interview techniques can be applied to any interview situation and will give you even more food for thought.

Your note taking is just as important as the techniques you apply, after all you want to be able to capture and save as much information as possible for you to look back on at a later date. This is where audio recording can help as it will capture everything at source.

At Fingertips Typing Services we offer audio transcription services If you have an interview 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.

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.

Improving your words per minute

Has anyone asked you, how fast do you type?

But, how do you calculate your words per minute?

The Basics of Words per Minute

Words per Minute, commonly abbreviated to WPM is used as a measurement of typing speed or reading speed. Typically each word is standardised to five characters (keystrokes) including spaces and punctuation typed in one minute, divided by five.

The famous sentence “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs.” contains 46 characters. If it takes you one minute to type this sentence, we can calculate your WPM:

Characters Typed in One Minute / 5 = WPM
46 / 5 = 9.2 WPM

What about accuracy?

It is important to try and maintain 100% accuracy, however realistically this is not always possible, but accuracy can be measured. In the quick brown fox example, if you mistyped one letter you would have still typed 9.2 WPM, but with a 98% accuracy.

Gross WPM vs Net WPM

Net Words per Minute is your WPM x your accuracy percentage, however measuring by NetWords can lead to greater mistakes and inaccuracies. As a transcriber or typist it is much better to slow down and be more accurate as ultimately it will lead you to be faster in the long run as you will not need to go back and fix your mistakes.

Accuracy and speed all boils down to the content

With any piece of work, if you know the subject matter or are familiar with the content then it will be easier for you to type quickly and accurately. Simple vocabulary is easier than typing technical or long words such as “pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanokoniosis” (which out of interest is a lung disease and the longest word in the English dictionary!), words such as these require more though processing to establish the correct spelling to ensure higher accuracy.

Here is what you should look out for to get the most accurate gauge for your typing speed:

  • Length of Test – 3 and 5 minute tests tend to be the most accurate gauge of overall typing speed, they are long enough to produce a repeatable average speed and accuracy
  • Familiarity of Content – The less familiar you are with the content the better as it will be most accurate, repetition and familiar content is likely to give you an elevated score because simply if you type the same sentence over and over and you will get faster and faster, as you will remember the content and sentence structure.

How do I increase my WPM?

It is like any kind of exam revision, practice, practice, practice!

Find an article that is interesting to you and get typing, start off fast, then slow down to improve your accuracy, you will quickly pick up your speed and accuracy.

Test yourself, there are many typing test sites out there so find one and test yourself with content that you are not familiar with to continue to improve your ability.

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.

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.


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