There’s a premium on professional transcription services because it’s not something which can be automated or done by unskilled transcriptionists without the proper tools. The devil is in the details, because there are certain sectors which need extreme levels of accuracy in transcribed data. Even a single mistake could prove to be extremely costly.
Maybe it would be better to start from the concept and work upwards towards today’s real-world needs and implementation solutions. As per definition, the business of transcription involves taking speech in some form (live or recorded audio/video) and converting it into text that can be stored as digital data. This is done by a transcriptionist who listens to the audio and types it as text.
At first, it may seem like it’s an easy job that anyone can do. That’s true in a broad sense, but industry-specific requirements where speed and accuracy must be balanced make it a completely different ball game. A general standard or rule is that transcriptionists must be able to transcribe 15 minutes of audio per hour. Professionals have hardware as well as software tools to assist them in providing better quality and productivity.
There’s also a fair bit of training and a learning curve involved. For instance, a medical transcription company needs to have transcriptionists with a sound knowledge about the field of medicine and the terminology. In fact, many transcription firms require candidates to have working experience as a nursing or pharmacy assistant.
Way it works is that doctors record the case details and other information they want to see in case files, and send over the audio to be transcribed. The job has to be done perfectly, because even a small error or omission can be fatal for patients and would inevitably end up as a medical malpractice claim. Such errors have been known to end the careers of the medical professionals involved.
Data security as it is shared with third-party providers and sent to and fro across the Internet is another major concern. Health care records in the U. S. Are subject to HIPAA compliance, and their providers with access to the data need to be complaint too. Similarly, compatibility with the hospital’s electronic medical record system is needed, and this calls for the transcriptionist to follow specific naming protocols and standards.
Legal firms need just as high a level of accuracy as the health care industry. A lawyer may record several hours of depositions and then needs to have it transcribed verbatim, just like a court stenographer. Again, even a single error can cause the lawyer to lose a perfectly winnable case, and such clerical errors are also a cause for malpractice lawsuits.
Apart from such standard transcriptions of recorded speech, there are quite a few other professional transcription services that may be required. Translated transcription (audio in one language to text in several languages) comes to mind, as does closed captioning for live video feeds. Once more, there is no room for error in live transcriptions because there’s no time for verification and corrections. In other words, not paying a professional to do this kind of work will turn out to be hugely expensive in the end.
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