Transcription – Do We Require Cheaper Or Better?

Here’s a problem facing everyone in the world of business today, from transcribers to corporate bosses – Do you want things to be done cheaper or better?

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn

Words are one of the first ‘victims’ when speed is of the essence. Emails and text messages are littered with abbreviations, slang, condensed phrases like LOL and u r gr8! If you read one of my teenage daughter’s text messages you’d probably understand 60% of what was being said. You have to guess the rest. Guessing is okay in this instance, it’s likely that whatever the text reads the meaning is either can I have some more money or can I have a lift! The tone is not important either; not so in research situations.

McGowan Transcriptions don’t cut corners with words. The majority of the transcribers at McGowan Transcriptions are parents and have or will be having soon, monosyllabic teenage children who have a Zen like simplicity to their communication. A transcription of a teenage focus group would take a blissful few hours to transcribe, ‘dunno’, ‘know what I mean’, ’nuff said’. But when faced with transcribing a mammoth research project, no matter the age or background of the target group involved, each member of the McGowan Transcriptions team knows that every word counts.

It takes time to find the right words; it takes time to listen to those words, to extract their full meaning and ensure every word is captured and that, where relevant, tone is noted. As the clock ticks on and deadlines loom it’s so easy to cut corners in data collection and data delivery. In any transcribing situation there are potentially many, many points at which a rushed element trips up the whole project and ironically takes more time to put right. You’re a researcher setting up a focus group and only arrive with a few minutes to spare due to traffic hold-ups, so you rush where you put the recording device i.e. putting it next to a buzzing piece of machinery, under a fan, next to the member of the group who has a tickly cough or near the crisps! Ask any transcriber at McGowan Transcriptions and they’d say this kind of thing happens a lot. Luckily for researchers though the team at McGowan Transcriptions have spent their time wisely because your words are their business so they’ve prepared for tricky situations by fine tuning their skills, gaining experience in so many different transcription scenarios from crackly phone lines to research groups with extreme dialects or complex technical terminology. The majority of our senior transcribers are also accredited proof-readers. Experience is one thing that can definitely not be skimped on, it can’t be abbreviated or cut into easily digestible pieces and it can’t be taught, only learned over a long period of time.

The last few years we have seen a large increase in the amount of groups and depth interviews we have had to transcribe for a client after they have already given it to another agency that has failed to produce the required quality.

We never outsource projects at McGowan Transcriptions so you will not receive the same quality of service anywhere else as our transcribers don’t work for anyone else.

For me, I’d always say I’d like something done better rather than something done cheaper, whether it be a meal with friends or a sixty page verbatim transcribed group discussion. After all, something done badly takes a long time to forget and amend.

Blog by
David Bartholomew