Online Transcription – Smart, Efficient Technology for the Global Business Model

Not so long ago, I worked for an executive who would hand me an aging, warped cassette tape every month (usually while I was trying to finish another urgent project for him). The tape contained his reports to the company's board of directors. Sighing, I would then load the tape into a dusty playback device,…

Not so long ago, I worked for an executive who would hand me an aging, warped cassette tape every month (usually while I was trying to finish another urgent project for him). The tape contained his reports to the company's board of directors. Sighing, I would then load the tape into a dusty playback device, struggle to find the machine's foot pedal among the computer cords under my desk, and then painstakingly transcribe its reports. My executive was not the clearest speaker; he often trailed off, mispronounced names, and ate his lunch while dictating his notes. Since we erased and reused tapes, previous recordings would have often bleed into the most recent dictation. Two or three hours later, I would finally have a verbatim transcription, which I then needed to edit into a final, error-free report. Meantime, the phone would ring, emails will fill my inbox, and I would silently despise that monthly event I called “tape day.” An entire workday would be lost due to outmoded technology and inefficient processes. Surely, I thought, there is a better way.

And, of course, there is. With the advent of digital media and online transcription services, there's really no need (or excuse) for cassette tapes, or for confining an employee to the task of transcription when outside professionals can handle such projects with greater efficiency, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness . Transcription itself remains vital, since written records of audio and video files provide valuable archive information and insight. The key is to find the transcription service provider that can best meet your needs.

Online transcription services have several advantages over traditional transcription services. As more businesses move to an online (rather than bricks-and-mortar) model, overhead costs decrease, and the savings are passed along to the consumer in lower prices. Both traditional and online services can save clients time, but online services-many of which are globally based-surpass their traditional counterparts here. With an online service, a client can securely upload audio or video files at the end of his workday, which is often the start of a new workday in the online provider's time zone. Once the client returns to the office, the finished transcription is ready.

Because of their global reach, online services have greater access to experienced transcriptionists who are fluent in various languages, cultural nuances, and terminology in various industries (including finance, medicine, law, and IT). Using a blend of speech-to-text software and human intelligence, online services can quickly process and refine audio and video file translations. Larger online services, such as