Author: outsource-typing

I am the owner of Outsource Typing. Based in the UK we provide Virtual PA and transcription services to businesses and individuals worldwide. You can follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Google+

Meet the speech to text specialists!

Want to know more about our Transcriber Team?  Here’s the skinny on who is carrying out your work!

About Fiona, Owner of Outsource-Typing
I’ve worked in secretarial, administrative and Personal Assistant jobs for solicitors, doctors, company directors and other professionals from 1996 until starting Outsource-Typing in 2011.  From then on I worked as a freelance transcriber, doing as much as I can – anything and everything! – to build up experience until recruiting my team in February 2015.  I also own and run Outsource-Typing: manage my transcriber staff, deal with all of the IT, marketing and finance.  Lots of work, but I love being heavily involved in it.  I’m also formally qualified in editing and proofreading, and all work is “double filtered” through me for a final proofing before being returned.

Our Transcriber Team
My team of transcribers have backgrounds in legal, medical, corporate and interview transcription.

  • We never use non-human methods (i.e. speech recognition software) to produce your transcript
  • Our Transcriber Team are all UK-based and we only ever use our own staff – we never outsource to other transcription companies, therefore the quality and service level therefore is one you can depend on
  • Confidentiality is paramount and we have policies and procedures in place to protect your data

Find out more about our culture.

What we offer “as standard”
We listen carefully and analyse exactly what is being said.  We realise it is crucial to capture all of the information and its meaning.  Anything that is unclear or where there is any uncertainty in meaning, our transcribers will assist in picking this out and marking it clearly within the transcript for you to double-check.  We are professionals and will carefully examine the speech and ensure you have an accurate and reliable document.

There are no hidden charges.  Included in our cost, which starts from as little as £1 per audio minute:

  • Research – we research unfamiliar terminology, place and person names
  • Participants – all speakers, interviewees and participants are clearly identified within the transcript.  We are used to dealing with multi-speaker interviews where there can be as many as 10 or more people speaking during a session.  We take extra measures to identify exactly who is speaking.
  • Understanding of nuances – e.g. homophones
  • Emotions – pauses, laughing, crying, raised voice, quiet tone/whispering, etc., can be added
  • Quotes – from text are clearly marked out on a separate paragraph
  • Publications – all references to any books or publications are italicised
  • Inaudible/unclear words/phrases – anything unclear is marked up with a “time-stamp” for easy and quick referencing/review
  • Accuracy and continuity – all work is proofread by the Transcriber Team, but then is also passed through a quality control process to ensure it meets our continued/sustained high standard
  • Tones, accents, verbal habits – you can rely on our extensive experience in dealing with all types of style and speech

Working out costs
Because you know the audio file(s) duration before we even begin to hit any keys, you can easily work out the exact price for the job.  We will review the audio prior to commencement to let you know the rate.  Rates can vary depending difficulty: audio quality, number of participants, etc., but start at £1 per audio minute.  Therefore, for example, for 1 hour audio length at the £1pam rate, the calculation would be 60 (mins) x £1.00 = £60 total cost.

A word about voice recognition / speech recognition software
“Speech-to-text” in the Google results may bring up some tempting offers for you.  Voice software may work for you if you find you are regularly dictating large chunks of unformatted text, i.e. simple paragraphs in a Word document, with no numbering, headings, etc. – or you can add these in easily later on… not always as easy as it may sound, however (more on that below).  Where it falls down especially is with medical terminology, which can be broad.  Likewise for some legal terms, or Latin – it doesn’t seem to cope with Latin very well at all!  Interview transcripts, due to their complex nature, cannot be put through the software, and need to be sent to an experienced service – such as ours…  #justsaying!

What users have also found is there can be a long period of time spent “training” it to get to know your voice and verbal habits – some of which it may never pick up!  Therefore, there may be an indefinite period of having to replace its errors manually with the correct words or phrases. Great if you have the patience and time for this.  It may appear to save you money in the long term, but then don’t forget to factor in the time you will inevitably spend cutting and pasting the text into your report or document template, adding numbering to paragraphs or bullets, etc., which can be technical, and frustrating if you don’t know what you are doing; even if you do know what you’re doing do you want to be spending your precious time on this when you could be focusing on other business tasks?!

As mentioned above, included in our price, we type everything for you – exactly how it was meant, fully researched, properly formatted – the finished article.  All you might need to do is tweak it here and there with any additions or edits you may have.  Easy.

I personally haven’t tried the voice software, but I am going on reliable feedback from contacts and clients who have trialled it in the past.  Feel free to comment below your experiences with using voice recognition transcription software.

Recapping on six years in business

As September draws to a close, I’m taking some time to recap on six years in business with Outsource-Typing.

True story
I heard about the concept of “Virtual Assistants” on the Woman’s Hour radio programme back in 2010 whilst in a job I was undervalued and miserable at.  It saved my life!

I love my work and have learned and gained so much from doing it – personally and professionally.  I’m reading a book that puts forward the idea that no learned skill is wasted.  Experience gathered over the years in jobs – some good, some bad – all adds up and, if you are pushed hard enough to use your resources like I was, you might be surprised at the outcome.  I now have a business I am proud of and a team who are top-notch.  I still have to pinch myself sometimes!

We’re moving forward!
We’re glad that our users find our service helpful, and with the assistance of a great team we can carry on helping clients and continue to grow and welcome new ones without compromising quality.  Check out our client reviews.

Our team are UK-based, time-served, from secretarial and PA backgrounds and are thoroughly vetted prior to joining our team.  We respect confidentiality and have strict policies and procedures in place to keep your information and data safe.  We are also registered under the Data Protection Act.  All work passes through me as Head of Quality Control!  I am formally qualified in editing and proofreading, ensuring the finish is both professional and word-perfect.

How our service can work for you
If you’re considering how a virtual PA or transcription service (or both) may work for you, check out our guide Questions to ask your Virtual PA and let us know what your requirements are.  We can provide you with a detailed quote as well as a free sample of any audio work so you can see for yourself how it will work for you.  We aim to tailor the work to suit your requirements, but if you are unsure of how to approach a task we can offer reliable suggestions – you can rely on our combined and extensive industry knowledge to help get tasks delivered to you efficiently, excellently presented and with a high rate of accuracy.

We can also provide information on optimising quality of audio recordings during dictation or interviews, to include equipment tips, software and hardware recommendations, and any apps you can use to make recording tasks easier.

For anything else, don’t hesitate to contact us

40 examples of transcription we provide


Case Studies | Questions to ask your VA

To demonstrate how you can utilise our services and to give an idea of cost-effectiveness, we’ve outlined below some case study examples of work we’ve done recently for our valued clients.

The task: Telemarketing / database creation 
What we did: 9 hours over the course of six weeks – researched potential customers, gathered the details, followed up with calls and created user-friendly Excel database with all info. Passed this on to our client who then did a mass cut and paste of the email addresses gathered for a brief follow-up email to all, and et voilà, effective marketing to around 200 potential leads.
Cost: All for around £160!

The task: Survey Monkey – Survey creation and maintenance
What we did: 13 hours of admin time perfecting four long and complex in-depth surveys. Saved the client considerable time and effort as these can be tricky and require thorough testing before making them available to complete.
Cost: Just over £200

The task: Blog article drafting
What we did: Two hours drafting a blog article collating best tips from previous articles. I’m trained in editing and also a keen writer, and lover of the English language, and relish these types of task! If you’re looking to buy time and rehash or recap while you’re thinking up new material, this can be a good way to keep your readership and followers engaged meanwhile – plus other ideas can often be sparked from revisiting and reviewing.
Cost: £36

The task: Editing and proofreading
What we did: Looked at 36-page e-book a longstanding client had created, edited and proofread so it was ready for publishing.
Cost: £36

The task: Typing
What we did: As well as PA and admin type duties, we also carry out a lot of typing! We take on many hours each month and pride ourselves on always returning on or before the deadline and to the highest standards. Examples of work provided: medico-legal reports; medical correspondence; legal correspondence and file notes; CVs; interview recordings; PDF to Word conversions (involves tidying up formatting). We also take on regular copy typing handwritten docs and data entry tasks – of all shapes and sizes!
Cost: From 85p per recorded audio minute

Hopefully this gives an insight into what we do all day! And it proves that you can use our service as and when you need it – there’s no commitments or packages to consider or anything like that – you simply pay for the time you use and you can cap this at any figure you would like. We work to your budget!

So if you require any of the above, travel planning, event organisation (room/venue bookings, catering), formal meeting room bookings, database creation or management, data entry, podcast transcription (the list goes on… – hopefully you get the idea!) then just drop us an email or a call, we’d be happy to discuss how we can help. We are resourceful, well established and have access to lots of local and national resources, as well as bags of initiative and great ideas – just ask us!

Free Download! Questions to ask your Virtual Assistant 

Thinking of hiring a Virtual Assistant this year to help support your business or busy department? Download our free guide to assist you in selecting the right provider.

7 Categories of Transcription and Style

Need a transcript produced from your audio recording? Here at Outsource-Typing we draw on our many years’ combined experience in secretarial and transcription work to offer you a professionally presented end product.

Transcription of lengthy reports, correspondence, interviews or discussions can be time-consuming and often quite technical. We can transcribe your audio files for you to produce an accurate record of what was discussed or dictated, saving you time to get on with your research or core business tasks.

We can accept the following:

  • Medical Transcription
    Medico-legal reports, medical notes, summaries, clinic letters, etc.
  • Legal Transcription
    Letters, memos, court documents
  • Academic Transcription
    We assist students, lecturers and professors in transcribing lectures to assist students. We accurately type research interviews
  • HR Transcription
    We can produce a verbatim transcript of your grievance and disciplinary hearing meetings
  • Media Transcription
    We can transcribe your YouTube videos, radio, video, or podcast content
  • Market Research Transcription
    In-depth discussions, one-to-one and multi-speaker interviews, focus groups
  • Other Types of Transcription
    These might include journalist interviews, conference recordings, seminars, panel discussions, focus groups on anything and everything

    If there’s something you don’t see on the list above, contact us and we will advise on how best to carry out the work to the highest standards.

Types of format we offer
Full details of the below formats can be provided to you prior to commencement so we know what type of finished transcript you would like.  We offer four types:

  1. Full Verbatim
    Includes everything that is said. 
  2. Standard Format
    A verbatim transcript, but excludes insignificant prompts by the interviewer, half sentences, repeated words, etc.
  3. Smart Style
    This type of transcript avoids use of verbiage, but includes half sentences, repeated words, etc. 
  4. Media Transcript
    In a tabled format to include time codes each time there is a new speaker / segment / introduction / music / sound effects, etc.  

If you’d like to an example copy transcript of any or all of the above just ask – we will be happy to produce copies of these for you to peruse to help make your decision easier.

If you would like to adapt any of the above formats with any of your own requests or additions we are happy to work to your preferred needs – we aim to provide a tailored service. The above will hopefully give you a solid framework.

If you are carrying out research interviews or dictating for the first time take a look at our 8 Top Tips for Recording Interviews article, which can be found here.

8 Top Tips for Recording Interviews

You might be brand new to audio recording or just fed up getting poor quality transcripts back.  If so, this is the article for you! 

At Outsource-Typing we have extensive experience in the transcription process. We’ve compiled below a cheat sheet, feeding back some of our best tips to help things run as smoothly as possible for you on the day of your recording and beyond, into the transcript phase. 

A link to a PDF of this article can be found here: 8-top-tips-for-recording-interviews – you might find it helpful to keep as a prompt or for ease of reference.   

  1. Trial & Test Equipment
  • Perform a short test to check audio is being picked up clearly on the recording and all speakers are sitting at a suitable distance from the mic.
  • Check battery levels and that everything is plugged in correctly!
  • Remember to periodically check the indicator light on your recording equipment during the session.
  1. Introductions and Identifying Speakers
  • At the beginning of the recording, it is essential that each participant introduce themselves, spelling names if necessary, to enable the typist to then identify that person each time they speak as the meeting evolves. A longer introduction (e.g. full name, where from, how they travelled to the session) would be preferable where interviewees or participants have similar accents.  This longer dialogue at the beginning can help typists pick up on distinguishing voice characteristics to make it easier to identify each speaker throughout the transcript. 
  • Remind all participants that the session is being recorded and to speak slowly, clearly and audibly for recording purposes.
  • Encourage participants not to speak over each other.
  • The interviewer / moderator could attempt on occasions to refer to the speaker upon completion of their comments to aid the typist in identifying speakers. This is especially helpful regarding participants who contribute less to the discussion over the piece. 

If a person is unidentifiable within the recording, (UMS) (unidentified male speaker) or (UFS) (unidentified female speaker) will be inserted into the transcript down the left-hand margin.   

  1. Overspeaking

We do our best when people are talking over one another to pick out exactly what is being said, but this can be difficult at times.  If this happens, prompt the person(s) to repeat themselves, separately, for the recording.  If speech cannot be made out for these reasons, (overspeaking) will be inserted into the transcript.

  1. Background Noise

While we are experts at completing even the trickiest of audio files (believe us, we’ve heard it all!), there are some things you can do to ensure your job is returned with less speech missing and also to a speedier timescale if you consider the below tips:

  • Politely request all participants to switch mobile phones off or onto silent mode prior to commencing the group or interview session.
  • Any internal telephones could be diverted either to voicemail or another line so as to avoid them ringing during the recording as this can interfere with the recording quality and render what is being said inaudible.
  • It may not be possible to avoid, but water coolers, fans, air conditioning, stirring of tea and coffee, shuffling paperwork, tapping or banging on the table, people coming in and out of the room, etc., all cause background noise on the mic and can obscure what is being said. If possible, turn undesired equipment off.  If a person enters the room it is advisable to curtail the discussion until they are seated and introduced. 
  • Sirens / heavy traffic noise / beeping horns / jet engine noise – please be aware that we can’t hear over this – it is amplified! If you can curtail the discussion while there are sudden loud disturbances such as these it would be helpful. 

If speech cannot be made out for any of the above reasons, (inaudible) will be inserted into the transcript and a time-stamp inserted to indicate the exact time-point of the discussion.  You may want to go over these yourself to see if you can make out what has been said. 

  1. Inaudible Speech

We can boost volume and sound quality to a certain extent with our software, but we can’t work miracles!  If recording quality is too quiet this can lead to issues.  People speak in a range of accents, tones and timbres, however excessively quiet or softly spoken people may require to be prompted to speak up for the recording.  Likewise if someone is mumbling!  To avoid embarrassing them or appearing rude by constantly asking them to speak up, you could ask the person to sit closest to the mic at the beginning of the session.    

  1. Industry Terms/Words

It’s helpful to us if you spell any unusual names, words or terms for the purposes of the recording – or afterwards provide us with a “crib sheet” containing a list of likely used words.    

  1. Breaks
  • You could consider designating a time for rest breaks that will not interfere with the recording of the session – after, say, 45-60 minutes.
  • When returning from breaks, it’s best to ensure everyone sits in the same seat to ensure continuity.

20 tasks we can do in under an hour

Could you work more effectively if you delegated? The benefits to you could equal more time to get on with your core business tasks, or just might make your life easier and more stress-free in general.

Here are 20 popular tasks our experienced admin staff can carry out for you:

  1. Data entry – type up over 100 lines of data, e.g. contacts list
  2. Social media – set you up on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  3. Document conversion – convert MS Word documents to PDF or vice-versa
  4. Marketing – set up a Mailchimp account for email marketing/newsletters
  5. Market research – create a survey using Survey Monkey
  6. General internet research
  7. Form filling
  8. Travel plans – book flights, accommodation, meals, etc.
  9. Diary management – meeting organisation, Doodle Polls, etc.
  10. Financial – chase up unpaid invoices
  11. PowerPoint – create a presentation template
  12. Copy typing – type 5-10 pages of A4 handwritten text
  13. Create a professional signature block for emails
  14. Get quotes from potential suppliers
  15. Personal errands – sourcing gifts or services online
  16. Reception duties – fielding calls/call handling service
  17. Type your dictation – short audio files, podcasts, interviews, etc.
  18. Create reports – pivot tables in Excel
  19. Organise files using Dropbox
  20. Create document templates and new databases

This is not an exhaustive list of what Outsource-Typing can do for you, just a sample of what we offer – we’re not just all about the typing! And at a cost-effective and competitive price, it’s worth finding out more. Contact us now:

Cost Comparison – Staff vs. Freelance Virtual Assistant

Thinking of hiring a temp, or full/part-time in-house staff to assist with admin or secretarial tasks?  How many of these tasks could be done remotely (off-site) by a skilled Virtual Assistant? To show how outsourcing to a Virtual Assistant can save you money, take a look at these cost comparison stats.

Because Virtual Assistants are specialised, highly experienced and have accumulated resources and connections at their fingertips, this automatically reduces down the number of hours spent on your tasks – important when you only pay for the time you use. We aren’t paid for coffee breaks, holidays or training. We are also self-employed – no need to worry about tax, National Insurance, overtime, mandatory pension, sickness/holiday pay, admin resources, equipment, supplies or training costs.

Our comparison guide above followed the version kindly offered by VA Networking.