Establishing appropriate TATs (turnaround times) is an important negotiation point between businesses that need transcription, and general transcription providers. In the present day business world, real-time information access is crucial and this has made turnaround times more significant. When outsourcing transcription tasks to save time and effort, businesses attach priority to three factors – superior quality, affordability and ability to meet turnaround time requirements. It may be very challenging to meet all these priorities and you may have to make compromises. For instance, if you are insistent on both high quality and speed, the transcription service may prove expensive. If you consider fast turnaround time and lower costs as crucial, you may have to compromise on the QA process – not that you can agree to an unreasonably poor quality, but there may be a dip in quality. However, the best option is to always put quality of content in front of turnaround time. Having it “right” is more important than having it “fast.” First make sure that the quality requirements are met, and then ensure that the turnaround time requirements are also met.
Factors Affecting TAT
There are certain important factors that determine the turnaround time and which may be beyond the control of the transcriptionist.
- Number of speakers: An audio with a single speaker is easy to transcribe as there is only minimal chance for any confusion. However, a speaker with a heavy accent or one who talks very fast or uses a lot of technical terms will require more time for transcribing. Multiple speakers also prove challenging when it comes to speedy transcription.
- Audio quality: Audio quality is one of the key elements for accurate transcription. For transcribing any recording, it requires frequent rewinding and re-listening. So better the quality of recording, shorter is the time required for transcription.
- The speed of speakers talking: If the speakers talk slowly and clearly and takes long pauses in between, transcribing such recordings is easy and quick whereas recordings with fast speakers are difficult to transcribe and takes more time.
- Transcription style: The transcription style – verbatim and non-verbatim transcription- has an impact on turnaround. In verbatim transcription each and every word uttered by the speaker is transcribed quickly whereas in non-verbatim transcription all mistakes and non-verbal sounds should be removed and this is a time-consuming task.
- Proofing a transcript: To ensure the accuracy of a transcript proofreading it is essential. Sometimes a transcript is proofread twice or thrice to eliminate minor errors and this is one factor that can cause delay in returning the transcripts.
How to Speed Up Turnaround Time
If you prefer to have the transcription done in-house in your office, there are some ways in which you can speed up the turnaround time.
- Use of transcription productivity tools: Using online transcription tools like Word’s Auto Correct or Macro features is one way of improving efficiency in transcription. A tool like Instant Text or Shorthanded can improve the turnaround time.
- Enhance office ergonomics: Improving the ergonomics of your office will improve the efficiency of your employees and eliminate conditions such as neck pain, shoulder pain, eyestrain and migraine.
- Practice with dialects and heavy accents: There are many English dialects, it is important to familiarize yourself with the dialects and heavy accents of speakers. The International Dialects of English Archive provides access to a database of audio and corresponding transcripts, covering English language dialects and accents as heard around the world.