Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Have You Been in the Transcription Business?
We have been in the professional transcription business since 1987. We opened our doors in 1987 and have built a very reliable, dependable and professional transcription service since then. We began with only two transcribers and now have a staff of approximately 12 transcribers. We also have three levels of transcribers, including several Project Coordinators, which helps to ensure that only the best quality transcripts reach our clients.
How Do Your Prices Compare to Those of Other Transcription Services?
We are cheaper than our competitors! We are constantly researching the rates of our competitors’ transcription services and always want to know what they are charging. We have even provided a rate comparison grid on our rate page that gives the results of our most recent research efforts. We also try to take economic trends into account and revise our rates accordingly. For instance, our current rates and discounts reflect the need most businesses now have to be austere and save money. Our recent research reinforced what we felt was the reality of current business conditions and accordingly we have lowered our rates and now offer even larger discounts.
What Is Your Transcription Process?
Once we receive your recording, it is assigned to our staff of experienced, professional initial transcribers. They are all screened and tested as part of the application process. They are then placed on probation until they prove an ability to produce high quality transcripts. Once your transcript is completed, it is then sent to another team of transcribers we call Project Coordinators. The attention the transcript receives from the Project Coordinator is dependent upon your requirements and instructions. If you are requesting first time through processing, the Project Coordinator reviews it for obvious, visual errors and prepares it for transmission to you. If you have requested a higher level of review, the Project Coordinator will relisten to the audio and proof the transcript for the best level of accuracy.
How Much Will My Transcription Cost?
A number of variables affect your rate. First is the quality of your audio recording. The clearer the audio, the cheaper it is to transcribe. Unclear audio requires the transcriber to spend a lot more time identifying words, phrases, dialogue, and speakers. It is not uncommon for a transcriber to spend several minutes relistening to a segment of poor audio – only to determine that it can’t be transcribed.
We “conference” poor audio. Poor audio generally causes confusion and indecision. Because of that, the only accepted approach to accuracy is to get a “consensus” among transcribers as to what was said. That consensus process means more time and handling of the audio.
The number of speakers, along with your speaker identification requirements, will also affect your rate. A dictated recording, or one with only two speakers, will generally require less time to transcribe. The more speakers you have, the more voices to identify – and (usually) the more patterns of speech to discern.
A strong, disciplined moderator can ultimately reduce your rate. You can review our recording tips for more info. A moderator who can “protect the record” will employ several techniques that help make the transcript more accurate – and make for proceedings that will require less time to transcribe. At the beginning of the meeting, your moderator should introduce strict ground rules and enforce those rules during the meeting. The goal is to reduce instances of talkovers, mumbled speech, and whispered comments.
Your deadline is another rate factor. Generally, the faster you need your project, the higher your rate. We treat an hourly or daily request with an “all hands on deck” mentality. Depending upon other projects to which we’re committed, we may have to reassign a transcriber from another project to yours. Being flexible is one of our strengths, but it means we have to carefully prioritize our workload and charge more for the “hot” items.
Your need for special formatting or handling could also impact your rate. If you need a verbatim transcription, or you require us to single-space, proof (a second listen by a Project Coordinator), or edit your transcript, we have to add an incremental charge.
Finally, the size of your project is a factor. We will generally give discounts for large projects. Keep in mind that large projects are generally done over a longer period, with some degree of lead time. Our standard rates for those projects are already very low, so the amount of additional discount could be limited.
How Accurate Are Your Transcripts?
Our highest accuracy level is about 99% (Project Coordinator proofed transcripts). Our initial level of accuracy (first time through processing) is just below that. You select which level of transcription you require. Why not 100%? Transcription isn’t a science. There is a level of interpretation that enters into the equation. A transcriber has to listen to speech and dialogue and then interpret what the speaker is saying, usually without the aid of any documents used by, or relevant facts known by, the speaker. You should inform us of your need for verbatim/proofing, or other higher level accuracy requirement, and we will accommodate your request.
What Audio Formats Do You Accept?
We will accept almost any audio format. In addition to digital files, we can also transcribe from cassette tapes and micro-cassette tapes. We recommend digital files over tapes because they can be handled more easily and are cheaper to send from you to us. We use digital converters to get audio into a format we can use in our transcribers. We suggest that you inform us of your recording format, especially if it is other than .wav., mp3, or Sony. If we have any doubts, we will ask you to send us a short (1 minute) extract of the recording for us to test prior to receiving your full project. We want to know that there aren’t any conversion problems prior to the receipt of your project.
What Are Your File Security Measures?
To begin with, access to your audio file is password protected. In addition, only a limited number of our Project Coordinators have been given security clearance to download files. Once it is in-office, we have instituted several procedures to distinguish your files from other clients and to protect archived files. The code we assign your files remains intact the entire time you are on our client list. We are certified transcribers for the Federal Courts and one of only three approved transcription services for the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia. We have transcribed very sensitive (sealed) proceedings that involve patents and other highly sensitive subjects. We have also transcribed a pharmaceutical new drug pending introduction meeting. A leading drug manufacturer was discussing the efficacy and market positioning of certain drugs that were pending and obviously it was a highly sensitive subject.
We treat those requests quite differently from our regular work, including being sensitive to who can work on the project. We also cover file deletion after the transcription is completed and the file is given to a Project Coordinator. In most instances, the transcriber doesn’t know the client’s name or have contact information. In addition, our large projects are divided among several transcribers, which limits the knowledge any one transcriber has about your project.
One of your best indications of our professionalism and our commitment to confidentiality is our tenure in the industry. We have been in business since 1987 and have always been dedicated to the ideals of propriety and security. We realize how important your work is to you and we treat it with a high level of sensitivity.
How Do I Get My Audio To You?
We offer an uploading service through this website. Using the “File Transfer” tab, you can upload as many as five files simultaneously. The server is sendthisfile,com and all files are encrytped for security and confidentiality. File size is virtually unlimited and we receive an immediate notice that your file has been posted for us to download.
For your taped recordings, you can use whatever shipping method suites your immediate needs. If you are requesting fast turnaround service, we recommend that you use a trusted carrier like FedEx, UPS, etc. In addition, we recommend that, when possible, you send us a copy of the audio and not the original. The last thing you wish to happen is to send your recording only to find out it has been lost or damaged in transit. That doesn’t happen very often, but is does happen. We have used the master copy of audio recordings in the past and have never had a problem occur.
How Do I Get Answers to Questions Not Addressed Here?
That’s easy. You can e-mail your question by clicking here. Or just call us at (609) 588-8043. We will do our best to make you comfortable with us and our professionalism.
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With over 25 years of transcription industry experience and a highly-educated, professional staff, let's see how we can help you.
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At Writer’s Cramp, we specialize in offering premium audio and digital transcription services. We have over 25 years of transcription industry experience and a highly-educated, professional staff. We offer affordable transcription services, including tape and digital transcription, voice transcription, verbatim transcription, and edited transcription.
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