Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Getting the best out of SmartDocs Transcription Services

Quality versus turnaround speed of audio transcriptions 

If you have an urgent job, we’ll do our best to get it back to you within your required time frame, but we have audio limits for a reason. Our guaranteed 1-2 day return is based on a maximum of 60 audio minutes. When we do a rush job – and 100 minutes in 24 hours, whilst achievable for some, is a rush job for most typists – the quality can diminish.

Think about it: when most of us are put under pressure to deliver a very quick result, the quality of output suffers. This certainly applies to typists who may already be dealing with poor quality audio, heavy accents and multiple speakers.

So if you have an urgent job, please understand that while we’ll do our best, a hurried job may deliver lesser quality than a job done in a reasonable time frame. For more information on this, see What are your turnaround times? in our FAQs.

How long does it take to transcribe a 60 minute audio file? 

That is a good question, and one that can have varied answers. SmartDocs typists can type quickly and accurately and reach typing speeds around 85-100 words per minute. But they don’t just type the transcript and leave it at that. They often need to stop the audio, rewind and double check unfamiliar or indistinct words and unclear speech. They also spend considerable time Goggling words, acronyms, and company names they are not familiar with. 60 minutes of normal speech (audio content) will take approximately four to six hours to transcribe, based on clear audio. Poor quality audio, multiple speakers (eg, focus groups), verbatim transcripts and a complex subject will take longer. In some cases, a one hour interview or focus group can take the typist eight hours, or longer, to transcribe. It certainly is not easy. The clearer the audio, however, the faster and better the result.

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