We at RWS do a lot of work for advertising/marketing firms. If you're interviewing employees or customers to get feedback about how a brand is perceived, you'll be generating a sometimes-overwhelming amount of material, and it can be incredibly helpful to be able to reference a transcript. Or if you're putting together a promotional video with clips from the C-suite, a transcript is necessary.
Here's a list of a few things to look for when sourcing for a transcription service.
Accurate time stamps. If you can trust the time stamps on your transcript, then it becomes a lot easier to do quick edits and to know exactly how much material you have.
Rendering all spoken words. As we all know, people don't tend to speak with particularly good grammar. People talking off-the-cuff tend to have a lot of false sentence starts, verbal tics, repeated words, etc. If your transcript isn't video editing verbatim, you run the risk of something looking fantastic on paper, but sounding really convoluted.
For example, some transcription companies might write, "I like to have orange juice for breakfast," when the interviewee really said, "You know, I really--I like to, you know, have orange juice for, um--for breakfast, you know?" That's the difference between a useable take and an unusable one, and it pays to be able to tell that information directly from your transcript.
Meeting or exceeding deadlines. This one is pretty obvious. The business world is going faster and faster these days, and we all need to have things done exactly when we need them. A delay of a few hours can easily get compounded into days or even weeks of delay down the line. You need to hit as few snags as possible, and a late transcript should not be one of them.
Security. You don't want your clients to have to worry that you're sending their interviews off to a shady third party to listen to every single second of material. Make sure your transcription service has their transcribers sign NDAs and has proper measures in place to ensure network security.
Good speaker attributions. If possible, provide the transcription service with a list of the people speaking. Having accurate speaker attributions allows you to find the best information quickly, and can help you gain insights into certain conversational dynamics that might have gone unnoticed.
In-depth research. If your subject matter is highly technical, unusual, or industry-specific, you need a transcription service that will do the necessary research to make an exceptional transcript. You need an editor with a highly attuned Google-fu and a wide knowledge base so they can ask the right questions.
These are just a few things to look for when seeking out a transcription service.
Thanks for reading!