Are you considering outsourcing your typing and are looking for a high quality transcription company to work with? If so, it is vital that you thoroughly vet any potential transcription companies, prior to utilising their services or signing any contracts.
There are so many companies out there whose typists are not based in the UK, do not have English as their first language or who use voice recognition software in place of a human being!
Know what type of service you are looking for and how you want the transcription company to help you. That way, you will be better able to ensure that the transcription company you choose will be able to meet your needs.
Research is key!
Although my company offers a transcription service to the legal industry, regardless of the industry you are in, the questions I have listed below could still help you decide which transcription company is the right fit for you and your business:-
- Who will be typing your work and what quality control procedures does the transcription company have in place?
First and foremost, make sure the people typing your work have English as their first language! This is absolutely vital if you want to ensure that the grammar, punctuation and spelling used in your transcriptions is accurate.
Ask if the typists are experienced in the type of work you will be submitting. For example, if you are sending legal work, it is important that the typists have a sound knowledge of legal terminology and spellings.
Ask what quality control procedures the transcription company has in place, to ensure that your work has been completed to a high standard.
- What are their charges and are there any ‘hidden’ fees?
If there is any one question that you should always ask, this is it – especially the hidden fees aspect!
Ask the company to explain their fee structure and, specifically, what their fees are.
Ask them whether there are any additional or ‘hidden’ fees and, if so, what they are and when they are applied. You will be surprised how these ‘hidden’ fees can creep up on you.
By way of example, if you decide you need a transcription back urgently, there will undoubtedly be an additional charge or enhanced rate levied. Make sure you are aware of what this service will cost you.
Does the transcription company make an additional charge for poor quality recordings? Again, you need to know in advance if this is the case and, if so, what that additional charge will be.
If you are going to be charged anything over and above the rates you have previously agreed, will the transcription company let you know in advance of those fees being incurred?
Put simply, make sure that you will not be charged for anything without you being made aware of it prior to be charge being incurred!
- Will you need to sign a contract and/or will there be a minimum monthly charge, even if the work you send in does not amount to that sum?
Find out if you will need to sign a contract with the transcription company and, if so, how that contract binds you.
Frankly, any transcription company worth its salt will not make a minimum charge. My apologies if this offends anyone; it is just my personal opinion and one that I strongly believe in.
I believe that most transcription companies only charge for the work they do, but do check first.
- Does the transcription company charge any kind of subscription fee?
I have not, personally, come across a transcription company that charges subscription fees, but always ask. Better to be made aware of any potential subscription charges in advance, than find out when you get your first invoice!
- What are the turnaround times?
Different transcription companies have different turnaround times for work. Always make sure that the timescales offered match your requirements.
- Does the company use voice recognition software?
This is, of course, personal preference. However, I personally feel that transcription by a human being cannot be beaten!
- Confidentiality and Privacy
With the new GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018, this is of significant importance.
Is the transcription company registered with the ICO and how do they deal with data processing?
Are the typists subject to a confidentiality agreement?
If the typists work remotely, does anybody else in their home/office have access to confidential material? Is their PC password protected? What sort of security software do they use and are regular updates applied to it?
Does the transcription company have privacy and confidentiality policies?
Is the transcription company willing to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
These are just some of the questions you should consider asking any transcription company you are thinking of using. However, please do bear in mind that the above questions are based solely on my years of experience as a transcriptionist and running a transcription company and are only intended as a guide.
Here, at SW Legal Transcription, we offer a first-class transcription service to the legal profession. Our clients include: sole practitioner solicitors, small to large law firms, barristers and chambers, experts, law students, etc.
We pride ourselves on the quality, accuracy and speed of the work we produce and we try to be open and honest about everything we do.
We do not ask clients to sign any type of contract. The service we provide is on an “on demand” basis and there are no minimum submission requirements or subscription fees. Our fees are clearly set out on the “Rates” page of our website and there are absolutely no hidden fees.
We are fully GDPR compliant and registered with the ICO. Our typists are all UK-based, experienced legal secretaries, they have all signed confidentiality agreements and have password protected PCs with paid-for security software.
Please feel free to contact me if I can help you in any way at all, with regards to transcription.