With more stenographers retiring each year and few replacements coming into the field, it feels like every professional in the industry is looking to do more, but with fewer resources. With knowledge of some key transcription productivity tips, professionals can both increase their average transcription speed and service more clients.
Transcription Productivity Tips that Improve the Quality of Work
Here are some tips to help professionals build a strong foundation and earn more.
Prioritize Quality Over Quantity to Save Client Recruitment Time
It’s critical to prioritize quality over quantity in transcription. Providing sloppy work can add hours of work to a transcriber’s plate. Clients will send transcriptions back for revisions and transcribers will likely work on projects for longer than intended. The business then also runs the risk of losing key clients.
On the flip side, when work is produced effectively, transcribers can increase customer retention. One study shows that an increase of even 5% can then increase profits by at least 25%. By providing high quality transcription work, transcribers can save time and allot this time to better uses, such as prospecting and closing deals. Prioritizing quality will also allow transcribers to continually produce better work, which is likely to increase their average transcription speed.
Do Your Research to Understand Recordings Faster
Conducting research is often key. The more a transcriber understands the industry he or she works in and how it’s evolving, the more accurately he or she will be able to transcribe. When a transcriber understands the topic they’re tasked with transcribing, they’ll produce efficient work that will save on revision time.
It’s also crucial to continue to expand on your team’s knowledge should you manage additional transcribers. Providing them with monthly or quarterly trainings will ensure they are on top of industry knowledge, trends and changes, which will help your business overall and reduce your team’s average transcription speed.
Use Abbreviations in Your First Draft to Focus on What Matters
Unless speakers use abbreviations, initials or acronyms themselves, use the full words in transcriptions. Even when abbreviations and acronyms occur, it is recommended to add parentheses to avoid confusion before submitting final versions to clients. For example, instead of just writing ABA, transcribe this as ABA (American Bar Association).
During the transcription work itself, using abbreviations can get transcribers through the first draft faster. It helps them concentrate on capturing what’s going on accurately, especially when transcribing is being conducted live. Then, going over abbreviations and spelling them out in the second draft takes significantly less time.
How Technology Increases Transcription Productivity
There are also key software tools to be aware of that make a transcriber’s work faster and more accurate.
Auto Correction and Grammar Checking Software Tools Act as Additional Team Members
It’s easy for even skilled transcribers to make typos when trying to keep up with their workload and deadlines. This rings especially true with the stenographer shortage. With more demand than supply, it’s easy to get overworked.
There are plenty of software products that provide automatic corrections and provide an additional revision of the content, to ensure the work is grammatically accurate. Some services are even free.
Whether a transcriber is self-employed or is part of an overworked team, using these tools is like gaining another team member with a few clicks of a button. Incorporating technology into your daily work life is likely one of the easiest, yet most dramatic transcription productivity tips to implement.
Foot Pedals Increase Concentration
One of the aspects that slows down transcription work and reduces average transcription speed is the need to play a recording back and forth multiple times in order to get it right.
Slowing the work further is the need to consistently switch tabs on one’s computer. A transcriber needs to use his or her hands to type, but also go back and forth to the recording to start and stop it.
Although costs of switching between these tasks “may be relatively small, sometimes just a few tenth of a second per switch, they can add up to large amounts when people switch repeatedly back and forth between tasks,” according to the American Psychological Association.
Switching tasks “may seem efficient on the surface, but may actually take more time in the end and involve more error… Even brief mental blocks created by shifting between tasks can cost as much as 40% of someone’s productive time,” the American Psychological Association also reported.
Foot pedals help overcome this challenge. A transcriber can keep typing as he or she uses her foot to play, pause, fast forward or rewind a recording as many times as needed.
Transcription Software Provides a Competitive Advantage
Instead of worrying about how to get better at transcribing or how to transcribe faster, you can compete with other professionals on average transcription speed and cost, by using transcription software products that do the heavy lifting for you.
Transcription software empowered by artificial intelligence follows some of the tips provided above. Mainly, it is trained to understand industry knowledge and terminology, so it can transcribe faster and more accurately. The software can “learn” from hours’ worth of books and courses which are implemented into the system much faster than any human can. With advanced ASR (automatic sound recognition) engines, these tools can also easily distinguish between speakers, adding further accuracy.
However, even with technology, a transcriber’s professional expertise is still required. Providers, including Verbit, use human professionals to review every transcription to ensure 99% accuracy. We use two humans for example to provide transcriptions faster and at a lower cost than businesses that provide human-only transcription. Your business can follow suit.
As we look ahead to 2030, there is a growing demand for digital transcriptions from law firms. Firms want faster submissions, lower costs, more predictability and opportunities to stand out to their clients as socially responsible firms by reducing the amount of paper they use.
Every state in the US has already approved the transition to digital transcription, yet many transcription businesses have not tapped into the opportunity fully. Your business should adapt and infuse its daily processes with technology, or it may get left behind.
Scale Transcription Productivity and Your Business
Learning how to transcribe faster is critical to grow your business and stay competitive. Leveraging technology to empower your work is a key way to accomplish this goal.