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PostPosted: July 15th, 2007, 5:19 pm 
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Joined: August 5th, 2005, 3:07 pm
Posts: 1053
Does anyone have any experience/advice re hiring someone to transcribe recorded interviews?

This is a laborious process for me, as I am a slowish, Must Look At Keys sort of typist. With at least four interviews on the immediate horizon I can't help wondering if it would be cost-effective to farm out the transcribing, and then, if needed, correct the transcripts while listening to the recording.

Has anyone ever hired out the transcribing? I don't know any college students in need of pocket money, so I'm not even sure how I would go about finding someone, or how to price the work - by the page? by the hours of recording? I don't need a legal or medical transcriptionist, and those are the only ones I see advertising. I just need someone who can listen and type fast, and turn it around reliably.

Thanks for any input!

Piper


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PostPosted: July 16th, 2007, 12:34 am 
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Joined: March 12th, 2007, 1:55 pm
Posts: 175
Location: New River, AZ
Piper,

Dragon Naturally Speaking is down to $99 and can take input from a recording. They claim 99% accuracy. If the recorded interview is of good quality, without noise, and if you expect to do more of these, you might want to look into it.

To be honest, I've never used it myself. No need. But I've seen it run on a friend's machine and it's really quite amazing how well it works.

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PostPosted: July 16th, 2007, 1:48 pm 
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Joined: December 9th, 2003, 9:32 pm
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Location: Sedona, AZ
Most writer's magazines have ads for people that do just this. The last time I check, which was a few years ago, the average rate was about $2.50 per page.

Dragon Naturally Speaking is a nice program, but I've heard you still get about a 10% error rate, and it takes a couple weeks for the program to really learn your voice.

Have Fun,
Jeff

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2007, 12:50 am 
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Joined: March 12th, 2007, 1:55 pm
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Location: New River, AZ
Good point Jeff. I forgot about the "training," Piper. I've only seen it in action after training. To get the 99% accuracy they claim, you need to read a set group of words and phrases, vowels, dipthongs and consonants. You train the program to work with your voice. Using the voice of another person (like in an interview) without training to it will likely get you the 90% accuracy Jeff mentions.

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"Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog it's too dark to read." — Groucho Marx


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2007, 2:12 am 
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Joined: October 24th, 2003, 11:34 am
Posts: 781
Location: Portland, Oregon
Dragon is ok (i use it) but is no substitute for a good transcriptionist.

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PostPosted: July 17th, 2007, 8:58 am 
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Joined: August 5th, 2005, 3:07 pm
Posts: 1053
Thanks for the suggestions and info!
I'll do some research on Dragon for Mac, and also the Mac VR software (iVoice?).

It would be really handy if VR software could do this, but I'm not sure it could transcribe from recordings, especially with two or more voices and the odd background noises. I used ViaVoice on my ThinkPad (now replaced with a MacBookPro) and found it somewhat useful for dictating, although I could never figure out why it worked really well or really poorly under what seemed to be the same conditions. And that was with lots of training, including entire chapters of "Treasure Island."

Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

Today I'll be recording a phone interview with someone in Scotland - now that recording would be a really good test case for VR!

I'll also go to the library today to check out the writers mags for ads. Maybe ask the librarians, too - they hire teenagers to work in the summer, and I'm sure any one of them can type four times faster than me.

Didn't realize how much of a time-sink this transcription is, until the recordings started piling up this month. After a dry spell, I suddenly find myself with five looming deadlines. Better feast than famine, but better still if I was actually writing instead of transcribing.

Piper


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PostPosted: July 17th, 2007, 9:03 am 
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Joined: August 5th, 2005, 3:07 pm
Posts: 1053
Just remembered a funny thing:
when I was using ViaVoice for dictation one day, my dog gave a couple of little barks. Turned out she was actually saying, "wheat" and "heather."
Who knew??
:)
Piper


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PostPosted: July 21st, 2007, 11:29 am 
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Joined: February 20th, 2006, 11:33 pm
Posts: 258
Location: Sydney, Australia
Piper, that is hilarious about your dog! Also love your description of yourself as a 'Must Look At Keys' typist. I also have to put my hands up for that one.


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PostPosted: July 24th, 2007, 2:10 pm 
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Joined: October 29th, 2003, 12:59 pm
Posts: 75
Location: Pahrump, Nevada
Usually the local business college can help you out or you can call Kelly Girl. Both should have people that can transcribe for you.

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