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It seems inevitable that attorneys, doctors, corporations, and even government entities will need audio or video files transcribed into text. These files can range from court hearings and trials, voicemails, examinations, meetings (board, annual, financial, town hall, etc.), to interviews, investigations, and even podcasts or webinars.

It is important to select a quality transcription company to avoid disappointment in the end product. But how do you ensure you’re selecting the best transcription company for the task? Here are 7 questions you should ask before you make your final transcription vendor selection.

Who is doing the transcription?

If you search for transcription jobs, you may notice there are thousands available with very little in the way of experience required. Some companies will require their transcribers go through a vetting process, but many others will hire anyone just to keep up with the demand. When you’re relying on the accuracy of the transcription, you need to make sure they’re only hiring the best. Find out if your firm is using court reporters and other experienced transcribers; it may save you in the end.

Where is the transcription being done?

The economy is global, for better or worse. While many projects are great to outsource, your transcription may not be one of them. You may save a few dollars if you use an overseas transcriber, but the results may not be what you expect, or what you need.

How are the files being transmitted?

While this may not seem as important, since practically everyone uses email these days, you may want to find out exactly how you’ll submit and receive the files. Can your provider send via encrypted email, or a secure portal or form? With the constant fear of hacking and unsecured communication, this may need to be higher on your list than you thought.

What types of files can the transcriber handle?

Qualified transcribers should be able to handle practically any format, and they should have the resources available to convert and enhance the files if necessary. Make sure your transcription company can handle more than just MP3 and MPEG files. They should, at a minimum, be able to handle those, plus CourtSmart (used in most courtrooms), FTR Gold, AAC, MP4, and many others.

How much will the transcription cost?

This can depend on several variables, including the length of the recording and the clarity, as well as how quickly you need the turnaround. A good rule-of-thumb for quality transcription companies is a standard 10-day turnaround, with quicker turnarounds at an extra fee. Once your transcriber receives the files, they should be able to provide you with an accurate estimate.

In what format will you need the final transcript?

Final transcripts should be deliverable in a wide variety of formats, not just a Word doc or PDF. Check with your transcriber to ensure they can deliver in the format you need. Popular formats include PTX, PDF, ASCII, Word, LiveNote (LEF), TextMap (XMEF), Case Notebook (PTZ), Summation (SBF), and trial software such as Sanction (MDB) and Trial Director (CMS).

Will the transcript and audio/video be searchable or synched?

A searchable deliverable can make finding the information you need quick and easy, especially for lengthy transcriptions. It’s not going to help you to receive 100+ pages with no way to search through them easily. Similarly, if you’re planning to play the audio or show the video with the transcript, you will want to receive a transcript that is synched to the original file.

With these seven considerations, you should be in a much better position when searching for your transcription vendor. Any high-quality provider will be able to answer these questions confidently, and you can feel secure knowing your transcription is being handled by a qualified vendor.

As a leading provider of transcription services, Planet Depos and our team of transcription project managers, transcribers, court reporters, and back-office technologists can support projects of all sizes. We’re well versed in handling file conversion, enhancement, and providing deliverables in many different formats. For further information, assistance, or a quote, just fill out our easy and secure online transcription request, or call 888.433.3767.

Author Profile
Daniel Malgran
Digital Marketing Manager at

Dan is the Digital Marketing Manager at Planet Depos. His specialties include email marketing, SEO strategy, user experience design, and more. When he's not hard at work helping spread the Planet Depos word, he can be found with his hyperactive dog, Daisy, often hiking state and national parks.

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