Conference Transcription Outsourcing – Why Do It and How to Get the Best Results

The in-house transcription of the conference can be a huge drain on resources, as it can take a long time, especially for those who are not transcription experts. But how do you find the right outsourcing service for you? This article aims to provide advice on finding a transcription service that provides accurate, timely, and complete transcriptions. It demonstrates ways in which conference organizers can assist transcriptionalists to ensure that transcriptions are of good quality and error-free.

Order in advance

As a transcriptionist, one thing I would highly recommend is choosing your transcription service before the conference. Obviously your delegates and speakers will want to see the transcript as soon as possible, but conferences are an important part of the job to transcribe. If you have, for example, a conference that lasts five hours, with the afternoon divided into four separate workshop sessions of 2.5 hours each, and if you want each session transcribed, you see a total of 12.5 hours of recording. That’s probably at least 62 hours of work, because it takes longer to type than to talk. (See my article on affordable transcription for more on this). If you can order them in advance of the conference, and agree on a turnaround time in advance, you will be on the front foot when it comes to completing the post-conference package to give to your delegates and speakers.

Now if you start ringing the transcription company round once you have the footage ready to send, and you hope to have the transcript back to you in two or three days, you may be out of luck. Why? Because a competent and well-established transcription service will likely be ordered for some time in advance. A well-established, well-established transcription company, employing fully trained and competent transcriptionists who can not only type but also to read and edit evidence, recognize correct homophones (words that sound the same but are spelled differently), and prick English correctly , probably won’t be sitting there waiting for your call. While you may be lucky they will probably be booked for at least a few days!

So if you order your pre-conference footage and agree to have it delivered by a specific date, they’ll be able to reverse it for you much faster. But please keep in mind that if your conference date changes then you need to notify your transcription service!

How to choose a good service

Nothing can be relied on as a recommendation, as long as it’s a real recommendation and not just ‘referral marketing’ where someone who has never used the service can recommend it because they are in the marketing group they are in. However, if you don’t know anyone who can recommend a good service there are a number of other ways to choose wisely. First, look at the company’s website: does it mention conference transcriptions; is useful information on the site; is a site full of spelling and grammar mistakes, because if so how good the transcriptions are; are there any testimonials available?

Then, of course, you have to find out if the service is available. Whether you call or send an email, it doesn’t matter whether the transcription service is asking intelligent questions about your recordings. Do they ask about recording quality, type of recording, clarity of speech, when you need a recording back by, length of recording etc.? If they quote you an hourly rate without asking those questions then you don’t really get a sense of how many hours it will take, and neither do they.

How to get the best transcription from your recordings

The next key point for conferences is that if you’re going to have questions from an audience, you’re really going to need a ‘roaming microphone’ that can be carried around the audience, so that the questions really get heard on the recording. You will also need a conference recording setup well so that your main speaker can be heard clearly, and if you have a panel question session then you will also need an individual microphone for each panel member.