May 2019

Viewing posts from May , 2019

Tips for Success as a Transcriptionist

Tips for Success as a Transcriptionist


We’re often asked by people how they can break into the transcription industry. What does a new hire or a new grad need to do to be successful? How can someone find their first work at home transcription job? As we celebrate National Medical Transcriptionist Week for 2019, in this blog entry, we offer 11 suggestions for being successful as a speech to text transcriptionist.

  1. Educate Yourself. It’s a common misconception that if you can type fast, you have what it takes to be an at home transcriptionist. Sure, typing quickly helps, but it’s far from the most important skill you’ll need for success. You’ll need an excellent command of the English language, including grammar, spelling, and punctuation. Likewise, if you want to be considered for medical transcription or legal transcription, you’ll need to know the terminology that is unique to those domains. Community colleges and distance learning programs offer educational coursework for those serious about launching a career in transcription.
  2. Never Guess. When you’re not sure, ask. Don’t guess. Guessing can lead to adverse outcomes that can cause a client problems. Authors often depend on the transcript you create to make business decisions, treat a patient, try a case in court or make other critical decisions. Making the wrong guess could have serious consequences. A professional transcription company will not penalize you for flagging items you are unsure how to resolve. Of course, research thoroughly and most times you’ll find the answer, but never guess when in doubt.
  3. Proofread. Attention to detail is everything in transcription. The transcript you produce is a representation of both you and the author you’re creating it for. Often clients use a speech to text transcription service because they are not great with grammar, punctuation or spelling. Still, they need to project a polished image with any document that has their name attached to it. These authors depend on you to help them manage their professional reputations.
  4. Research. Search engines are your friend. For example, if you don’t know how to spell something, type it in Google or Yahoo or Bing the best way you can. Even when you spell it wrong, all three search engines will suggest alternative spellings that may lead you to the answer you are seeking. Additionally, print references that you will use consistently should be part of your library.
  5. Review Feedback. Professional speech to text transcription companies will provide their transcriptionists with regular feedback. Feedback is intended to help transcriptionists avoid repetitive errors and expand their fund of knowledge. Make sure to review your feedback daily and ask questions when you don’t understand or agree with something. Feedback should spur a two-way conversation between the transcriptionist and the transcription company.
  6. Be Adaptable. The transcription industry is one of rapid change. Stay up-to-date on industry news. For instance, in recent years, speech recognition technology has transformed the industry. It’s being leveraged to reduce costs and speed turnaround times. Likewise, be open to new types of transcription work. For instance, if you’ve only done medical transcription, consider expanding your repertoire to non-medical interview transcription or focus group transcription. While change can be unnerving, being open to new technology and new approaches to working can open you to even greater career opportunities.
  7. Communicate. When something isn’t working well, talk to your point of contact at the transcription company. A professional transcription company will often work with you while you navigate a challenging situation. Likewise, if you see a way to improve something, speak up. Some of the best ideas come from transcriptionists. Transcriptionists are often the first to identify risks or make suggestions that help make things better for everyone.
  8. Be Safe Online. Make sure you protect yourself against cyber threats. Install antivirus software and keep it updated. Likewise, install other software updates as your computer prompts you. Your computer is the link to your livelihood, so make sure you keep it healthy at all times. For security purposes, it’s not advisable to allow other members of your household to use the same computer that you use to do your work. Likewise, be diligent about changing your passwords regularly, and use a VPN if you ever need to work outside your regular Wi-Fi network.
  9. Use Professional Tools. Invest in a professional-grade headset from a company like or HTH Engineering. Quality headphones will not only enable you to hear clearly, but they will also help you do the best job you can and stay comfortable. Since you’ll be listening to audio files for many hours a day, your job will only be made easier when you invest in a professional headset. A quality keyboard, desk, and chair are essential for proper ergonomics as well. Make sure your workspace is well-lit too.
  10. Designate a Workspace. To be successful as an at home transcriptionist, you need to have a clearly defined place to do your job. Working from the couch or the kitchen table won’t cut it. You need a space that’s yours and is intended for extended work periods. If you have other members in your household, make sure your workspace is a quiet place where you can close the door, concentrate, and be free from distractions. Others should recognize that just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you should be disturbed while you’re transcribing.
  11. Relax. It’s impossible to do quality work when you’re consistently stressed. Spend time with your family and friends or just with yourself if you’re more introverted. Whatever brings you joy in life, make time for it. When you tend to your personal life, the joy you derive from your non-work activities will spill-over into your professional sphere. A relaxed transcriptionist is a more productive transcriptionist.

You perhaps have more tips and thoughts on how to be successful in the transcription industry. We’d love to hear them. Leave your comments below.

Data Quality Assurance Wrangles Noisy Data Spurring Innovative Breakthroughs

Data Quality Assurance Wrangles Noisy Data Spurring Innovative Breakthroughs


From Speech to Text, Artificial Intelligence, to Text Mining–Data is ubiquitous and growing at an unprecedented rate, mathematically, upwards and onwards exponentially, without an apparent limitation. Contrary to popular understanding that data is just a concept discovered in our recent technological era, the history of humankind’s relationship with data stems back millennia. Data is simply about the concept of acquiring, understanding, and synthesizing information, in both measurable (i.e., numerical) and unmeasurable forms (e.g., observational). The measurable is digital or mathematical in nature because it can be manipulated or quantified.  Undoubtedly, data has become the new currency for economies and corporations worldwide; it has also become the backbone of innovative breakthroughs in nearly every discipline and industry. Data drives strategy, discovery, and forecasting.

Before the digital frontier, mainframes, and programmable cards, information gathering through observation made its way to becoming numerical data by only the human eye, a writing utensil or knotted strings to the Quipu, and later, paper–or in Archimedes’ style and time (circa 2nd century BC), sand grains, mathematical formulas, and scaled mechanical models. In all, numerical data was not easily obtained or just inconceivable.

In today’s world, with an expanding Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, our constant state of being connected online with a multitude of devices from our wrists, computers, to our smart auto vehicles, digital data is accumulating without bound. However, the facilitators and makers of digital data, such as a software program, wearable, mobile device, mobile app, GPS-enabled device and more, does not do so perfectly. Generated digital data exist in streams including lots of questionable data and errors based on unintended inputs and systemic mistakes. For example, from video to recording, speech is a complex expression of spoken words and sound and may differ from one individual to another. A person may change speech several times–if not more–during a lifetime based on meeting new people of new geographical regions, differing dialects, new environments, adaptation, physical attributes, age, learning, and so on–all affecting and changing speech. Simultaneously, accompanying ambient sound is also highly complex and constantly changes. Not considering the hardware and microphone, speech recording devices capture audible sound and all its intricacies. However, to understand patterns–analytically, computationally or mathematically–speech and sound are often converted into measurable form resulting in meaningful and meaningless information.

From model design to purpose, if the objective is to analyze speech patterns, distracting sounds, conversion errors from when speech and sound were digitized, to unclear sound or inaudible speech that should be removed–this is what we call noisy data.  Not to be confused with outliers, noisy data increases analytical error, because it is not necessarily discernable or understandable by either human beings or the machines processing it.

Dealing with noisy data is the lever to any desired breakthrough; the better the data, the more accurate data models are, and the more insights can be revealed. How is noise dealt with? Beyond data cleaning and preparation, the right data quality assurance (QA) reviews and filters data systemically based on key parameters and purpose; it’s an ongoing exercise that requires human expertise alongside machine power. Athreon’s QA models are methodical and diligent. With data increasingly growing and noisy data increasing in direct proportion–if not more–the path to successful academic studies, scientific breakthroughs, insurance case audio processing, law enforcement case interview transcription, healthcare, medical data, intelligent models, and analytics, is data quality assurance wrangling noisy data.

Learn how Athreon can help you in your speech to text and quality assurance needs. Diminish the error margins. Contact Us Today!

Balance and May the Fourth be with you!

Balance and May the Fourth be with you!


When we think of balance, we think of juggling things that matter to us at any given moment.  Whether for work, home, school, the people we care about, a special project or all of those at the same time, the pressure to keep everything in its right place can be a constant struggle.  The fear of disappointment from those that matter to us or the fear of disappointing ourselves can drive us to extremes to keep ourselves from falling into that dark and shallow grave of failure.  But at what point do we just “let go”?  And, why should we? Consider the “why” of everything you do and ask yourself, what purpose any given task, desire or wish really serves?   Does it serve you, those you care about, or does it serve some other element that disguises itself as a need but is really a misguided want that places you down a path of self-destruction?  Consider the things you do and the motivators that truly lie at their core.  Greed, Pride, Hate, and Lust for Power/Recognition; our Dark Side if you will and Sharing, Humility, Love, Temperance and fulfillment for the greater good; our Light Side.

When you take a look at the things and people you balance in your life it is important to look inwards and realize which core motivators drive your desire to please or fulfill them.  The Dark Side will always be the easy path because it takes so little effort to fulfill yet the return so very powerful.  However, the Light Side often requires sacrifice and hard work on a level that can be daunting but it too does offer a powerful return, one that can stand the test of time and most importantly, gives back.

So, when things seem out of control, stop yourself for a moment and ask yourself, “Why am I doing this?” “What purpose does it serve?” If your answer takes you down the path of the Light side, stick to it, it won’t be easy, but in the end, you will feel like you did something worthwhile, something that mattered.  If your answer takes you down the path of the Dark side, let it go!  Let it go because the result will almost always be temporary and, in the end, you’ll likely be worse off than you were before.  So, on this Star Wars holiday, May the Fourth be with you!  And be thankful for the many lessons we can learn from this truly great space saga.

Automated Transcription Services – What should you consider?

Automated Transcription Services – What should you consider?

Automated speech to text transcription services are starting to gain more attention. They offer rapid turnaround time at a low cost. This can be attractive to clients that have audio or video files that need to be transcribed. When you don’t have the time or expertise to type the recordings yourself, an automated transcription service seems like a logical solution. But what should you consider before you upload your files through a web portal for transcription?

Transcription Data Security

If your recordings contain sensitive patient data, criminal justice information or confidential research, it’s imperative to take time to vet the speech to text transcription company. For instance, have they taken into account HIPAA, CJIS, and GDPR? Are they willing to sign a Business Associate Agreement? Do their transcriptionists undergo background checks? Who will have access to your data? Will it be encrypted in transit and while at rest? If the transcription company doesn’t have qualified answers to these questions, proceed with caution. Data mishandling and security incidents could put you and other stakeholders at risk.

Speech to Text Accuracy

When you’re a reporter facing a tight deadline or a university with a large transcription project, uploading your video or audio files for processing through an automated speech recognition engine can seem like a great solution on the surface. But what about the output? How accurate will the final transcript be? Transcripts produced by human typists are often upwards of 99% accurate. However, automated speech recognition technology can’t match this level of accuracy. Although speech recognition technology has improved over the years, it still leaves much to be desired. For example, speech engines make contextual errors that human transcriptionists are professionally trained to avoid.

Transcript Editing Time

 If you decide to use an automated speech to text transcription company, and you receive back 25 or 100 or 1000 pages of material, will you have the time to review every line of text carefully? Will you realistically be able to spend the hours necessary to compare the computer-generated text against the original audio file? Depending on how busy you are, this may not be realistic. When using an automated transcription service, it’s essential to factor in additional time to review the transcripts because speech engines are prone to making errors.

While it’s natural to want things rapidly, inexpensively, and of excellent quality, automated transcription companies are unable to deliver on all three objectives. And, if security is a consideration for your data, using an automated transcription service may be too risky. You can undoubtedly get your documents quickly and at a bargain price with an automated transcription service, but you will still need to budget extra time to review the transcripts carefully to ensure accuracy. After all, if you depend on quality transcripts to inform your decision making, inaccurate data can lead to adverse outcomes.

About Athreon Transcription

Athreon’s speech to text transcription services combine advanced speech recognition technology with the expertise of professional human editors. Our hybrid approach to speech to text conversion and our stringent security and quality standards ensure that transcripts are produced quickly, accurately, and securely. For more information about Athreon’s transcription services, contact us at 800.935.0973.