The Dos and Don’ts of Transcription Services: How to Get the Best Transcript

Take Note

Take Note is a UK-based transcription service with world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security and ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and On-Site Note Taking.
How to get the best transcript

With the number of transcription services available online, it can be tricky to know which one will produce the best transcript.

Many people just go by cost, choose the cheapest service and move on with their day. However, this could result in you getting the wrong kind of transcript or a low-quality, inaccurate transcript instead of what you wanted. In such cases, you’ve just wasted your money.

That’s why it’s so important to know what you’re looking for when choosing a transcription service. There are a number of pitfalls to avoid and steps to take that will make your experience with transcription services much smoother.

To get the right transcript to suit your needs, first, you need to understand the do’s and don’ts of transcription services.

Don’t base the services you choose on price!

Everyone wants to get the best price when they choose a service. However, the best price isn’t always the cheapest one. You also need to consider the value that you receive for your money.

When you’re looking for quality transcription services, the cheapest options aren’t going to deliver the quality and value that you’re looking for. This is because cheaper transcription services rely solely on automated speech recognition (ASR) technology. Without professional transcribers who complete or correct the transcripts, ASR can lead to a high number of errors. While ASR is useful in some cases, when accuracy is critical, it’s better to opt for another solution.

High-Quality Transcription

There are many cheap ASR software services. Some speech-to-text software can provide an accuracy of around 80% for most recordings, and that’s if the audio is clean. Difficult recordings will be less accurate. Having one in five words incorrect isn’t the ideal situation. There are better versions of ASR that use proprietary software and have more accurate results, but even in those cases, the accuracy can’t match that of professional transcribers.

Human-based solutions often offer accurate transcripts that may reach 99%+ accuracy. These services generally take longer to carry out, but waiting for a high-quality transcript is worth it, and standard turnarounds are only 24 hours. There’s no need to spend time reviewing and editing your transcript to check it for mistakes.

A third option is to use a solution that uses ASR for speed, but still has professional transcribers correct and edit the results. Hybrid services can also provide high levels of accuracy. With so many options, it’s best not to choose based on price alone. Consider the use case of your transcript and determine the quality required. If you don’t get the transcript you need, it will always be overpriced.

hands typing on a laptop computer

Do research on the extras you could get (and the extras that are included)

There are several options for additional information that can be included in your transcripts. This mainly includes details such as the names of speakers and time stamps. Other additions might also include notes on tone, pauses and other details regarding the speech.

These extra services can add to the price of the transcription for some services. Other service providers choose to include these extras in their main listed rates. When you are assessing the price of transcription services, you should make sure to check what those solutions include.

Some people don’t need these extras and can save money by opting for a service without them. If you do need lots of extra options, it can be more cost-effective to choose a service that bundles them into the starting price. Make sure you’re aware of what you’re getting and which option offers the best value.

Audio quality can also impact costs, as can the number of speakers. Just like with extras, it’s important to consider how these things will impact price. Also, there are ways you can avoid higher prices, such as by using high-quality recordings.

Don’t just choose any kind of transcript

There are different types of transcripts available. It’s important to make sure that you choose the right one. The main types of transcript that you can choose from include Intelligent Verbatim and Verbatim.


A verbatim transcript details everything from a recording. Typically, ‘umms’, ‘errs’, stutters and repetitions are removed for an easier-to-read output. However, professional services, such as Verbit, can include them if they provide you with useful context. In some cases, such as legal matters or disciplinary hearings, this level of detail might be necessary. However, the inclusions can be distracting for most purposes.

people in a meeting

Intelligent Verbatim

An Intelligent Verbatim transcript provides a version of the recording that’s easier to review than a Verbatim version. If you’re using your transcript for reference or additional analysis, Intelligent Verbatim can help to streamline the process. All the important information is included, but off-topic chatter is removed and moderator or chair input is summarized.

Do read reviews and testimonials to verify the service you use

After paying for a transcription service, you don’t want to discover that you chose incorrectly. You need to know that the service you choose is trustworthy, credible and will deliver high-quality transcripts. This is why reading reviews is so important.

Figure out exactly what you need from a transcript before you buy it to avoid being tricked into paying hidden costs. Knowing exactly what kind of transcript you want and the extras you want can help you get the best value for your money.

If you want to avoid wasting money, reading reviews for a service is a smart idea. You can understand how other customers have experienced the service. Look for reviews that say whether the service offered high-quality results or snuck in hidden fees. Do the research to ensure you get transcripts that are up to your standards.

hands on a keyboard typing

Don’t take security for granted

If your recordings include sensitive, confidential or personal information, make sure you take data protection and security seriously. Transcription services are relatively safe, but you should never take the protection of your data for granted. That means going beyond reviews and knowing what to look for.

To find a secure transcription service, there are some key things to look for.

Look for a secure method for uploading your content

Getting started with a transcription service will involve you uploading or sending your content to your chosen provider. Email is not a secure method of transfer, so you should look for a transcription service that provides a fully encrypted online portal instead. At Verbit Go, we use state-of-the-art SSL encryption to ensure your data is invisible to third parties. What’s more, the data you upload is not locally downloaded but stored and worked on from within the portal.

Look for ISO accreditation 27001

ISO 27001 relates to information security management. You know that a service that holds these accreditations has met a set of international standards for best practice – a great starting point.

Look for HTTPS websites

HTTPS indicates a site is secure (unlike HTTP). Also, check for TLS or SSL encryption for data transfers and data storage. These help keep your data secure from a breach.

Look for transcription services that minimize content exposure

If you care about data security, you need to go one step further and think about who is transcribing your content and who else may have access.

One thing driving the priority of data protection is the law. For instance, all businesses that have customers in the EU must follow GDPR. Part of that means taking responsibility for how your partners handle the data you provide them and knowing the internal policies of the transcription services you use. For example, how long your data is kept for.

Even if the GDPR doesn’t apply to you, you don’t want trade secrets or other company policies leaking because you didn’t properly investigate the transcription service you were using.

Getting a good transcript depends on knowing your options and doing your research

To get the best transcript from a transcription service, you need to consider a variety of factors. If you want high-quality and accurate transcripts, do your research and get quotes from credible companies. It is important to take data protection seriously.

When it comes to the actual transcript, the level of detail and additional features (like timestamps and speaker identification) is critical to getting an outcome that fits your transcription needs. A large part of getting the right transcript comes down to knowing your options and simply picking the right service. Once you know what you need, you can start thinking about cost-saving measures (like opting for slow turnarounds) to maximize your return on investment when using transcription services.