Stop and Listen Before Taking Transcription!
It’s 10:00 o’clock in the morning, and you get a phone call from a client that he needs a new transcription that is an hour long and he needs it tonight. Like any organized virtual assistant, I look at my calendar and see that I don’t have any projects due today. I say okay, sure. But…
There are some important things that need to be done before a transcriptionist agrees to take on a new transcription job for a new client.
Stop and Listen
First of all, I recommend you ask your client if they have listened to all or part of the audio. They all believe they have a good quality tape. If the client says yes and then you listen to it and it’s not, then you have some options that you can follow regarding your price.
If you listen to the audio and the voices are too low, there is a lot of static, there are excessive echoes, etc., this will definitely take you longer to transcribe. Your goal, should you get the opportunity, is to stop and listen to parts of the audio prior to giving a quote, especially since reality is that the audios are not usually as “good” as the client leads you to believe. Unfortunately, we found this out the hard way after losing money and time having to struggle to catch all the words. There were many times that we almost ended up working for free, and that is not what you should have to do.
After much trial and error, we implemented the process of providing a client that had a new transcription with terms of agreement that stipulate, “If the audios are poor quality due to heavy accents, voices too soft to be heard clearly, or slurring of words to the point that there are excessive inaudibles overall per tape, the Buyer will be contacted immediately and asked to try and enhance the quality. If the Buyer is unable to do so, the audio will be returned to the Buyer, and the fee to the Buyer will only be for the completed portion.”
If you are a freelancer and bidding for projects on some of the freelance sites, go ahead and accept the bid. In the acceptance I would recommend you always include terms of agreement along with your acceptance, including a clause that you will stop and listen to their audio prior to accepting their bid. They will let you know right away if it’s not acceptable. We have not had one client that found that to be unreasonable. As a matter of fact, if it’s a new client that someone referred to you, we always recommend you provide the terms prior to accepting the project.
Now, you do not have to use this exact wording; however, something similar will at least lessen the possibility of your receiving a bad audio. Our goal is to make money. When accepting new transcriptions, set reasonable prices, plan for roadblocks, and stop and listen.
Pam Lokker is a master writer and a virtual assistant professional. While we are not currently taking on new clients, Borlok Virtual Assistants has been the place to get global expert VA services with quality and on-time delivery for many years.