Back in the Spring I wrote a blog for our series on content creation all about video transcription. If you missed it then you can find it here.

There are all sorts of reasons why transcribing videos is a solid and reliable form of content creation and I am not going to go through them all again now (hint – read the blog…) Instead at long last I am going to move onto the next stage of the transcription series and look at whether or not you should transcribe content yourself or find someone else to do it. The final post in a week or so will be give some advice on how best to go about a transcription project.

So, lets get started. It won’t take long though as you will see this is an easy question to answer!

Transcription blog content creationD.I.Y. Or Outsource?

This is simple. Outsource.

OK, thats a bit hasty. You could tackle it yourself or get someone in your team to do it but here is a list of reasons why you shouldn’t do the transcription in-house.



The time taken is immense:

On average an hour of recorded material will take between 4-6 hours to transcribe. Yes, that’s right. 4-6 hours.

As if this alone wasn’t enough to make you decide that hiring a company to deal with it for you then perhaps if I told you that it is very easy to underestimate the time taken even for experienced typists perhaps that might convince you!

There are lots of companies out there:

You only have to type transcription services into Google and you will instantly have a list of firms vying for your business.

It is a case of supply and demand. Most people (myself included) who have tried to transcribe things themselves fairly quickly discover that it is a relentlessly long task. A much easier approach is to get someone who can type ridiculously fast to do it for them and therefore there are lots of companies offering transcription services. Content always needs transcribing.

It is not expensive:

In fact it is cheap especially when you take into account the cost of one of your staff members spending hours and hours working away on it instead.

The firm we use (Bynes Transcript & Typing Sers) offers rates of 99 cents (US) per 100 words. Put in context, a 26 minute video we had transcribed back in the Spring cost came in at 2000 words or there abouts cost in the region of $20. We thought this was incredibly good value knowing as we did how long it would have taken us to transcribe it ourselves and the cost this would have entailed.

Expertise & kit needed:

We don’t have either of these here at Teapot Creative (for transcription at least!) and the chances are that if you’re reading this blog then you or your company doesn’t either.

Pedals, software packages, headsets, special keyboards, qualifications and the benefit of hundreds of hours of transcription time are all on tap if you outsource to a reputable company.

Quick Turn Around Time:

When you arrange for a company to undertake a transcription project for you, one of the things you’ll have to arrange is the timescale for completion.

If you know how long a transcription project can take then being able to ask for it to be completed in four days time for instance will feel pretty good. Smooth turnarounds are all part of the outsourcing process.

Whilst the transcription work is being done your team can crack on with work as normal without any interruptions. Outsourcing some tasks can be expensive but transcription is not one of them.

Not Convinced?

If you still need persuading to outsource then why don’t you try the following test…

Step One:

–    Choose a video or audio recording to transcribe.
–    Time how long it takes you or the poor unfortunate dogsbody to complete it.
–    Calculate the cost (hourly rate of said person)
–    Collapse in a frustrated/exhausted heap on the floor of the office.

Step Two:

–    Find a reputable transcription company
–    Agree price (based on word count) & turn around time
–    Send copy of file for transcription
–    Await delivery of completed file whilst continuing with normal work, drinking tea & not stressing.
–    Pay firm for services
–    Subtract cost (paid to firm) from the employee cost (above) – the difference is how much you would have saved by outsourcing.

Step Three:

–    Agree with your boss never to transcribe anything over a minute long ‘in-house’.

Final Things

Transcription of video or audio content is easy but only if you swallow your pride and outsource to someone who can do it cheaply and effectively. You’ll save money this way, prevent a mutiny in the office and get great content for your site to post alongside the video.

Lots of things are described as ‘not rocket science’ and transcription projects are definitely not rocket science. All your doing is writing out the spoken words. Don’t be fooled though by the apparent simplicity of the process. Save yourself a lot of hassle and cost and hire someone to do it. After all, whats the point of having a dog and barking yourself?

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