It’s probably safe to assume there aren’t many journalists that get excited about manually transcribing audio files of interviews they’ve conducted. It’s a tedious and time-consuming task that is often best left to a professional online audio transcription service. Below are four ways that journalists can benefit from enlisting the help of a transcription service rather than trying to do the work themselves.

  1. Beat Short Deadlines: Journalists often have short deadlines, and transcribing a large amount of audio can be quite challenging. It’s important to note that when searching for a reputable transcription company, turnaround time is something that can vary greatly between service companies.Rev.com, for example, averages a 7-hour turnaround time to transcribe a 30 minute audio file while maintaining a minimum of 99% accuracy. Other service companies typically take anywhere between 36 hours to one week for the same file length, and if 24-hour delivery is needed, they charge an additional $1.50-$3.00 per minute of audio on top of their standard transcription fees.
  2. Get an Accurate, Written Record of the Interview: Taking notes alone, or trying to type out the audio word after arduous word, is a recipe for a disastrous misquoting.
  3. Transcripts help journalists make a story better. This is because they can focus on crafting prose that packs a punch, not on checking and rechecking their hand-typed transcript for personal errors.
  4. Journalists can be free to listen rather than take notes during interviews. Believe me, this is a true asset. The more wholly a journalist can devote their attention to the subject of the interview, the more observant they can be, leading to a more insightful report.

As a journalist, what are your favorite tools or services for transcribing your interview audio files?