Of course I believe in freelancing, it’s what I do, but there are many other reasons to consider a freelancer when it comes to your transcription projects. Other than supporting people who enjoy sharing their skills from home, you are likely to receive the highest quality of work for your needs. Along with freelancing, I work with some of the big name transcription companies. I cannot tell you how many times I have received a file that has already been worked on that is full of mistakes. One of my favorite examples of this was during a fascinating interview with a new restaurant owner, and instead of capturing that the employees worked the cold lines, someone had written that they worked the coal mines. Talk about confusion to the reader! Not only have I experienced this myself, but I have seen countless people on Upwork reaching out to hire a transcriptionist to fix the transcription or closed caption that they have already paid another company to do.
When you submit your file to a big name company you have no idea who will be working on your file, or even how many people will be working on it. Working with a freelancer ensures that there will be consistency throughout your file. You also know who will be working on your file and can develop a relationship with them to continue that consistency through various projects. Having open communication with your transcriptionist also allows your transcriptionist to ask questions and clarify information. This can be useful for providing names or labels, or for determining locations or geographical slang. Though I absolutely love to research (most transcriptionists should because it’s a huge part of the job!) your ears and Google can only get you so far sometimes. Hiring a freelance transcriptionist gives you the best chance for absolute accuracy the first time.
Along with the accuracy factor, there’s also the cost factor. Most transcription companies start their pricing around $1.00/ per minute of audio, which is pretty standard. But aside from one or two of these companies, the rates dramatically increase due to extra fees. (There will be another post that compares and breaks down these costs). Many companies include extra charges for rush jobs – those that are 24 hours or less, difficult audio quality, number of speakers, length of file, and time stamps. Your 30 minute audio file that should cost around $30 could end up costing over $100 once all is said and done. With a freelancer, you have the flexibility to discuss or negotiate rates. Many freelancers also have reasonable flat rates that don’t include surprise charges.
Why go with a unnamed stranger when you can get a personalized experience? If you’ve had a bad experience with a transcription company, or you’re just getting started in needing transcripts, look for a freelance transcriptionist and see the difference!