When it comes to outsourced speech to text services, quality can vary widely from one transcription service to the next. Items like the transcriptionists’ formalized training, their native language, the technology, and the transcription agency’s philosophy on quality will all contribute to the quality of transcript output. Likewise, in the transcription industry, quality not only means accurate speech to text conversion, but it also means accurate demographics, consistency in templating, and more. So, it’s important to ask the right questions as part of your vetting process. This will ensure that the transcript quality aligns with your expectations. We recommend asking the following questions before making a hiring decision for your next speech to text project:
Does the transcription company have a philosophy on quality? Any transcription company that makes quality a priority will define it, plan for it, continually reevaluate it, and make strategic adjustments to spur measurable improvement. Rather than accept a generic 98-99% accuracy guarantee, dig deeper. Ask how the quality percentage is measured? Are there reports that the company will provide you or can you run them independently? Rapid turnaround time and robust technology mean little unless the transcription quality satisfies your requirements.
Regardless if the transcription team is located domestically or abroad, if they do not have the requisite skills to perform the job, this will impact your document quality. Does the transcription company require a minimum amount of experience of its transcriptionists? Does it require that they have completed a formalized training program in speech to text conversion? Does it offer continuing education opportunities to its staff?
Does the transcription company actively seek feedback from its clients and act upon it to foster client satisfaction and retention? A team approach to quality often yields the most desirable quality outcomes. For instance, a combined effort among the author who records the audio file, the transcriptionist who types the audio file, and the quality assurance editor who verifies the integrity of the finished transcript will drive positive quality outcomes. When all participants do their part, this culminates in high-quality transcripts that accurately reflect a dictator’s intended meaning and desired result.
Does the finished document go directly from the typist to back to you or is there one or more intermediary levels of quality review? What does the quality review consist of? Is the QA staff only spot checking the work before delivery or are they comparing the audio file against the complete transcript from beginning to end? How does the QA staff address questions flagged by the typist? Likewise, if the speech to text partner runs audio files through speech recognition technology, who is responsible for monitoring the quality of the output? You may be surprised to learn that it’s not always the transcription agency.
Does the transcription company adhere to best practices prescribed by Six Sigma, ASTM or a reputable industry organization? For instance, in a healthcare setting, quality assurance methods that are recognized by the Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI) or the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) would signal that the transcription agency approaches projects in a workmanlike manner.
What is your recourse if you receive work back that is of substandard quality? Will the transcription company correct the issues for you? Is there a cost for the revisions? What precautions will the transcription company take to ensure the issues don’t repeat themselves? Will you have to call to explain your concerns or is there an online portal to submit change requests where you can track their progress. Edits can take considerable time, so this is a critical area to explore.
Will the transcription company provide references that can attest to the quality of the work they produce? To help build confidence that the prospective transcription vendor will produce transcripts of the quality standards you need, speak with their clients. Anybody can say anything about themselves, and it may be true or not. However, what others say can offer valuable perspective.
Clients in various industries depend on professional transcription services for a number of reasons. Some rely on transcripts to treat patients, others to make business decisions, and still others to enforce the law. If the price you’re quoted is lower than you anticipated, it’s also reasonable to anticipate that you’ll spend extra time making edits to your transcripts post-delivery. Ultimately, if the cost seems too good to be true, there’s likely a catch.
Athreon is committed to implementing complete, thorough, accurate, consistent, and transparent speech to text transcription solutions that yield measurable levels of quality. We offer a free trial to help prospective customers assess our quality before they agree to work with us. Contact us to learn more about our quality control procedures.