Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Transcription service-- update

About a month ago, I mentioned that I decided to bust out the credit card and pay to have 4.5 hours of audio transcribed by a service. Now that I've gotten all the files back (the audio was from three separate 1.5 hour group discussions) and have had time to check the accuracy of the transcriptions, I'm really happy that I opted for this.


  • I used escriptionist.com. Their rates seemed competitive. I had to pay $3.00/min (the highest per minute rate) because the discussion sessions each had more than three participants. (Lower rates available for smaller sessions.) My total bill ended up being about $700 (if you're doing the math at home, note that I didn't have to pay for the minutes during which I played a video for the group). That sum hurts to look at all at once, but I was seriously avoiding doing that work myself. Now it's done, and I'm moving forward. Worth it.

  • Service was quick and friendly. The initial contact is by phone (I left my phone number at the website) to make sure that both parties are clear on the transaction. Then, I received an email with instructions on how to upload the mp3s via FTP (if you don't understand FTP-- like me-- then let me assure you it was really easy).

  • Transcribing took 3-5 business days. I opted to have the speakers identified separately (Female 1, Male 2, Male 3, etc). This identification wasn't always perfect, but it was right about 85% of the time.

  • The transcripts were very accurate. I had to adjust a couple of words per page. The transcripts were weakest when several people were speaking at once, but this is hardly a surprise.

I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is sitting on some audio and finding every reason possible to not transcribe it herself.

Cross posted at Intent/effect.


liquid distance said...

Aggg... transcribing audio is nightmarish, I did transcribe 36 hours worth of family interviews last year and I just realised I have two interviews I didn't process. Because I already completed my data analysis I'm leaving them out but when I think about it, those two interviews were hard to get, I spent a few hours in LA's highways driving to visit potential informants, using precious pay as you go minutes on the cell insisting on arranging a timetable for domestic sessions, etc. Well, I guess something always goes to waste.

Meagan said...

36 hours!?!? Wow. I am officially impressed. :)

Alicia said...

I tried transcribing my dissertation interviews myself using express scribe (about 4 hours worth of interviews with special ed teachers), but it was way too hard. I found http://www.omegatranscripts.com and had her do them. She even transcribed a few pages for free because I really wanted to see what I was getting before I paid to have this done. There was a little problem, but there were four people speaking over each other on those parts and i probably should have given them all a mic. Otherwise, I was very happy with the services. By the way, great blog!

Neena said...

Great thoughts you got there, believe I may possibly try just some of it throughout my daily life.
audio transcription