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How Audio Typing Changed the Business: Industry Standards

A time when the online transcription job was considered the one of the most difficult has gone long ago leaving some people with nostalgia about secretaries recording the speech from sources using advanced and specialized techniques, like shorthand. Shorthand was commonly used back in 1970 as a way to increase the speed of transcription from source to source and looked like a synthetic writing method consisting of abbreviations.

Nowadays standards have changed drastically, many industries the work of which requires constant recordings and information registering are using audio typing. Audio typing services approach the task implementation with various pricing networks including set of individually developed standards. From industry to industry some organizations changing per word, the others per line or sentence, some prefer charging per minute or hour.

Organizations that use the audio transcriptions more often usually fall within law industry or serving federal government needs, they are often used by trade associations and nonprofit organizations and for journalistic purposes.

A short insight on how typing standards changed:

In 1998, typists typed using only 2 fingers that slowed down the process significantly, due to this the average typing speed was limited to:

  • 40 words per minute (fast standard of typing)
  • 35 words per minute (moderate standard of typing)
  • 23 words per minute (slow standard of typing)
  • From 2005 and to the present time the quality and typing pace has been constantly increasing finally reaching the advanced point of 120 words

Audio Transcriptions Examples

Generally, an audio typist is a person who transcribes the audio or video format in-text source. Companies have such specialists on staff or outsource them on occasion when such services are needed. As a rule, the original information carrier source is a microcassette coming from an interview that has been recorded on the dictaphone. The true typing specialist is not only typing fast he or she usually doesn’t need to look on the keyboard because their typing speed has advanced increasingly.

Check the example of audio to text transcription from Apollo 12 space mission and the transcription from Bill Gated TED talk:

Even though at the first glance transcribing services work looks fairly easy to handle that is a quite deceptive impression, professional audio typists need to meet the standards the industry requires from them, take a look at the stats:

Between 80 to 100 words – is average typing speed of a professional transcriber.

Less than half the population of the world has the manual dexterity to wiggle their fingers at the speed of 50 words per minute or better. Dr. Alan Lloyd, seminal typing instructor.

The industry sometimes sets unrealistically high expectations of what the “average” typist or transcriber can do.

An average typist reaches 50 to 70 wpm, while some positions can require 80 to 95 (usually the minimum required for dispatch positions and other typing jobs), and some advanced typists work at speeds above 120.

1 hour of interview demands 4 to 6 hours of work on transcription, meaning 2.35 min. for 1 min. talking transcription.

The median amount of words per sentence is 140 words. Average English word includes approximately 4,5 letters, 140*4.5=630 characters, only for these 630 characters 170 need to be added for making the punctuation of the document. Transcriber work takes a lot of patience and attention for crafting those down on paper. Grammar is another concern of all professional typists, it’s far more easily to transcribe the general speech but the business, technical and medical terminology requires advanced knowledge and additional efforts for transcription. Professional will also note all the side comments during the speech and pay attention to interjections and any kind of utterance that’s why sometimes it’s better to use a professional online typing service.

8 Cases When You Need Transcription Services?

  • Better site ranking (on-site videos)

For the better SEO ranking purposes, you need to transcribe all your videos and audios into text format on order the information to be indexable by the search engines.

  • Making subtitles

Subtitles are essential for people who have difficulties with understanding the accent of the speaker and for people with impaired hearing abilities.

  • Translation

Content is promoted way better when it can be reached in multi-language format, it will contribute the global promotion of the source, the more languages will be available the more auditory from various countries can be drawn to the site.

  • Legal and court recordings

Recording every verbal information detail in courts is the common practice, essential for case proceeding and documenting the process for future references.

  • Marketing research

For inspecting the focus groups in market research transcription specialists are also needed to record the data received and make it publishable.

  • Conference recordings

In organizations of all levels it is a good tradition to record meetings and conferences to grasp the ideas and conclusions generated during the time spent in the conference room, such information documented can serve for the benefits of the company and taken info account for planning.

  • Work with PR and journalists

When giving the interviews to the press or announcing the news to the media transcriptions should be recorded and processed for publishing.

  • Transcriptions for HR managers

Some companies record interviews with potential employees for future interpretation of tone, mimics and answers given, also it is used for situations when another member of the interview was busy or absent but established an interest in the content of the responses.

Common Audio Formats

Is the most widespread format the audio transcriptions are converted from. Layer 3 is used for the audio signal compression. Theoretically, MP3 audio format helps to save the space because the format helps to reduce the size without sound changes. MP3 might have a set of drawbacks because MP3 encoding can cause distortion and muddiness to the sound caused by high frequency.
(Advanced Audio Coding) audio files reach the better compression that MP3 with better audible characteristics at lower bit rates. The better results can be achieved by better encoding than in MP3.
Both formats position themselves as uncompressed identical copy versions of originally recorded sound, storing data in the same original, uncompressed way.
Is an open source format that provides perfect CD copies at half price. Like a ZIP file when unfolded it sounds good and compresses the original sound so if you want to resize the file without the sound quality compromising FLAC might be the better option than others.

Digital Audio Typing: Expensive or Costly?

There are 7 factors that will affect the final paycheck you receive from transcriber, the same factors will also affect the turnaround time as more difficult the source to deal with the more time-consuming it will be.

    • Accents – The rarer and stronger the accent of the source speech the longer it will take a professional to transcribe it and the more expensive will be the work price.
    • Number of speakers – Almost every transcribing services take into account the number of speakers for calculating the cheap audio transcription services rate, thus the sum usually doubles with every voice added, 3 speakers speaking at the same time will demand not only additional time to decipher the words but also additional efforts.
    • Recording terminology and subject – Specific legal, technical, business and other terminologies will demand longer time span for transcriptions, in the perfect case, you would also want to hire the employee specializing in the industry to avoid misspellings and mispronunciations.
    • Speech pace – Some videos and audio sources are recorded in the very fast talking speech and with very few pauses. In this case, the typist will be forced to listen, re-listen and rewind back very often to memorize the words, that’s why it will mean extra expenses.
    • Source quality – Background noises, outdoor recordings create the obstacles on the way of speech recognition up to the making wild guesses, old, echoed materials at times need to be revised several times that takes a toll on transcription time and rate.
  • Experience – Experienced transcription specialist like any other proof the particular industry will charge more but the quality of the final result, as a rule, will exceed the quality of transcription handled by the newcomer. The first main factor is the typing speed which is no trouble for the professional, in the experience also falls the understanding of industry specifics, if the person has already done lots of transcriptions for a certain industry the odds are high another one will not be trouble too.

All these factors will affect the time and accuracy. So the question is what can you generally expect with your source?

Here is the 1 hour recording turnaround time for various work difficulty:

Average recording with no background noise and 1 to 3 speakers will take 4 hours to decipher.

Complex recording, including flaws like background noises, multiple speakers, accents and technical terminology will take from 5 to 9 hours.

In fast-paced life flow, many global corporations need to sort out and analyze data without interrupting the working process that’s why multitasking typing specialists are in the high demand. For an organization of conferences and negotiations, outsourcing transcription specialists can be the only way out for the smooth working process flow and thriving.

“Time is money” is our creed, we can save both of them with our audio typing services!