How to get the best deal out of your transcription services provider
It’s simply good business sense to get the most out of every penny spent in the business. Money spent on transcription services by a lawyer or a real estate surveyor is no exception to this. Many legal firms and businesses don’t realise that a good collaborative effort between both their transcription services provider and them is a necessary requisite for optimising resources and minimising loss.
This article contains tips for getting the best out of your transcription services provider.
Understanding the reasons why you are outsourcing transcription services in the first place:
- Time constraints: Most legal firms cannot expect their solicitors and legal assistants to spend much time in drafting memos, statements and reports. Their time is better spent doing what they do!
- Minimize costs: Law firms and real estate businesses outsource their typing jobs to transcription companies to reduce their overheads. Businesses minimize their costs by not hiring fulltime employees for such jobs as typing, editing, proofreading, etc.
Keeping all the above points in mind, below is how you can get the best deal out of your transcription services provider.
- Provide clear instructions on the format: If possible you should provide samples of the documents so your transcriptionist can work from the samples. From experience I find this very useful and comfortable. Even if you are unable to provide samples, make sure you provide clear and concise instructions with regards formatting. These may include -
- Font/Font size – for body, heading, sub-heading, quotes, etc
- Paragraph spacing – one line, 1.5 or double spacing, etc
- Whether to populate headers and footers, etc
- If necessary spell out proper nouns like names of persons, places, legal terms and medical terms, etc
- Provide your details: This may seem like a given, but its surprising how many clients fail to provide their details when dictating. I often find myself in a limbo when finishing off, say, a letter and not knowing how the client wants to sign off. Is the name of the firm enough? Should the author’s name and designation be added as well?
- Set clear deadlines: Let your transcriptionist know beforehand when the transcripts are expected back. Calling your transcriptionist and/or emailing him/her 2 or 3 times during his work may affect the quality of his effort. Set a realistic deadline. Contact your transcriptionist if and only the deadline is not met. If the file is required urgently and instantly, inform him/her via IM or email instead of calling. Believe me, the pressure is much less this way.
- Provide contingency plans: This may include you providing your IM accounts/telephone numbers etc to your transcriptionist to contact you, if required, to deal with any exigencies. Exigencies may include wrong files being sent (believe it or, this can occur!), wrong templates attached, or simply when the transcriptionist has any doubt pertaining to all the above points he/she may contact you direct.
The list above is not exhaustive by any stretch. But they should minimize time spent editing and proofreading by you once you get back the transcripts from the transcriptionist. I mean, what use is it, if you have to spend more than 30 minutes pouring over the transcript to fill in the blanks and ready the copy for use. That’s what you paid the transcriptionist to do in the first place.
Hope this is useful to you. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave it in the comment below. I am always open to your suggestions. Believe me, it will improve my work and my life! BTW, if you require a transcriptionist you know where to find me, right?