What To Consider When Setting Transcription-Job Deadlines


The DubbingKing Software - A Comprehensive Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) Software For Windows

The Dubbing King software caters for various Audio-Visual Translation (AVT) modes. It is used for subtitling, translation and the dubbing processes.


When in search of transcription services, clients always want to work with a service provider whose turnaround time is convenient for them and one that doesn’t compromise on quality. A lot of factors determine how a service providers set their turnaround time. Normally we know that the amount of work or the size of a project would determine the turnaround time. In transcription, there many other factors that determine how long a project will be worked on before they return it to the client. In this article, I will outline some factors that service providers consider when coming up with a turnaround time for a project.

Full Verbatim VS Clean Verbatim Transcription

What Factors Affect Transcription-Job Timelines?

1. Audio Quality

Audio quality is the single most important factor for accurate transcription. Poor quality could cause errors or inaudible sections, decreasing the precision of the record. Poor-quality dictation includes background noise, muffled dictation, overlapping conversations, and speakers that are recorded at different volumes. This outrightly means that coming up with conclusive and accurate transcripts for a project with poor audio quality, will take a lot of time. This will definitely affect the turnaround time. If normally a service provider has a one week turnaround time for a particular size project that has good quality audio, it will take them two weeks or more for the same size project which might have bad quality audio. Any background noises on audio can make it more difficult for the transcriber to hear what is being said and transcribe accurately. Bad audio quality affects the turnaround time and also the quality of the transcripts. If a client wants a turnaround time that is short and works for them, they should strive to hand in quality audios which won’t make the transcriber’s job hard.

2. Number Of Speakers

The number of speakers is another factor that affects the turnaround time of a transcription project. In my years of working as a transcriber and working on several projects, I have realized that it takes more time to transcribe audio with multiple speakers than it is to transcribe a free-flowing audio that only has one speaker. For audio with over one speaker, it means that you constantly have to check which speaker you are dealing with, whether they are male or female, also keep on forwarding and rewinding trying to figure out if you got the speaker names correctly. This takes so much time and it will definitely affect your turnaround time. When dealing with a single speaker audio, you won’t have to worry about tagging them because it is not a dialogue. As a client, when you take your audios for transcription and they have multiple speakers kindly be ready to wait awhile before you get your transcripts because dealing with audios with multiple speakers is no child’s play.

3. Heavy Accents

There are very many languages globally and in all these languages the accents differ. There are accents hard to work with or impossible to work with when being dealt with by someone who is not a native speaker of a said language. This 100% affects the turnaround time of a transcription process. In point number one, I mentioned that accents also fall under bad quality audio. Imagine an American transcriber tying to transcribe Indian audio with deep Indian accents. Imagine how hard it would be and then put the time on it. If normally such a transcriber uses two hours to transcribe a 30-minute audio, it will take them 5 or more hours to transcribe the same 30-minute audio with a deep Indian accent. This is why service providers try to be versatile and diverse by employing transcribers from different regions with different cultural specifications for such instances. If they don’t have transcribers who can work well with the said accents then it definitely takes a long time for them to work on such projects.

4. Topic Of Discussion

If you are a professional transcriber with a couple of year’s experience then you are aware of the fact that there are very many categories of transcription. These categories are usually outlined in terms of professional industries. You will get transcription works for the Legal industry, Medical industry, Education industry, Business industry, and so on and so forth. This means that the topics will differ from time to time. Educational topic transcriptions are said to be easier to deal with than Legal or Medical topic transcriptions. In such a case when working on Educational topic transcription, you will end up using less time than when you are working with Legal topic transcription. This is because the Legal topic will have more complex ideologies and jargon that need a lot of research while the Education topic won’t. To come up with accurate and conclusive transcripts, you need to do a lot of research that needs time, and that is why the turnaround time will be longer. You will also need research and time for the Educational topic transcription but it won’t be as much as for the legal one. This is why the topic of transcription will always affect the turnaround time. If it is complex, it will take longer and the vice versa is also true.

5. Typing Speed

Typing speed is one skill that a transcriber should horn and it should always be on the higher side. When working with a freelance transcriber who’s typing speed is fairly good, the turnaround time will also be fairly good. If you are working with one who’s typing speed is slow, the turnaround time will be longer. Typing speed affects a lot of things. As much as it affects the turnaround time, it also affects the quality of your transcripts. It is always better to work with a transcriber who’s typing speed is good enough and one who doesn’t compromise on quality. A lot of clients want transcribers whose turnaround time works with their schedules and whatnot, but then, they forget that turnaround time can also affect the quality of the transcripts they will receive. Typing speed is important in setting a turnaround time but also be sure to get one who’s typing speed doesn’t affect the quality of work.

6. Verbatim

A verbatim transcript captures every single word from an audio file in text, exactly the same way those words were originally spoken. When someone requests a verbatim transcription, they are looking for a transcript that includes filler words, false starts, grammatical errors, and other verbal cues that provide helpful context and set the scene of the scenario that was recorded. A verbatim transcription includes absolutely everything. It corresponds word-for-word with the audio file a customer uploads. Non-verbatim transcription is cleaned up to remove filler words, stammers, and anything that takes away from the core message of what’s being said. Depending on what kind of verbatim a client wants, the turn around time will definitely be affected. On one side, verbatim will take a shorter time to work with because then you are typing everything you hear. A non-verbatim will take more time because you have to transcribe the audios while removing their filler words and still trying to make it make sense grammatically.

7. Timestamps

Timestamps are usually set so that one can find it easy to interact with a particular segment of audio without really having to go through all of it to find it. Creating timestamps for a transcript definitely takes more time than not creating them at all. Depending on what kind of transcript a client wants, this will determine the turnaround time of their project. There are four types of timestamps in transcription and some are complex than the other. There are Periodic timestamps, Paragraph timestamps, Sentence timestamps, and Speaker timestamps.

Periodic timestamps appear at a consistent frequency, such as every 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 2 minutes. 

Paragraph timestamps appear at the beginning or end of each paragraph. 

Sentence timestamps appear at the beginning of each sentence. 

Speaker timestamps are placed whenever there is a change in speakers. 

When either of these timestamps are added to a transcript, they affect the time the transcription would take to end.

8. Formatting

There very many cases of formatting in transcription. The most known formatting request a client would have in transcription is for her transcription to be a non-verbatim transcript. This means that the service provider should clean verbatim the transcript and remove any filler words and grammatical errors. This means, something has to be altered from the original audio which further means that more time is needed, for the transcript to come out perfectly. There are many formatting requests that clients make and this means that for service providers to cater to these requests, the turnaround time will be affected and it will definitely be longer.

All these factors affect the turn around time of any transcription service provider. Some affect it greatly and others affect it slightly. Depending on the specification you have for your transcripts when looking for a transcription service provider, be sure to have this in mind.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Other Posts