Do Transcription Service Rates Impact The Security of Transcription Services

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The short answer is yes, transcription service rates impact the security delivered by transcription services. The long answer is a bit more complicated. The need for security does not mean that you have to entirely forget about finding a good deal, or that an expensive service automatically means a secure service. There are certain elements of security that are directly linked to cost, but some things have more to do with priorities than money. To get a good deal and a secure transcription service, you need to understand the details of what goes into both.

Offshore Transcriptionists: A Factor Directly Linked to the Cost of Transcription Services

If you want quality transcription services, it’s important to look into transcription companies and research how they carry out their operations. Many transcription services reduce costs by hiring offshore transcriptionists, typically freelancers in countries where the average wage is lower. The ability to pay transcribers less allows the transcription service to charge their clients less in turn.

This might pose ethical questions that you should consider. But, it certainly creates security risks that should impact the choices made by transcription service users with highly sensitive data.

The reality is that not all countries follow the same privacy laws and multiple jurisdictions make it hard to enforce violations. Even if you get a company to sign an NDA, there’s a good chance it will be difficult to enforce that NDA if they use an offshore workforce. The challenges of resolving a breach can cause you to waste even more time and money just to right a wrong. The fact that these challenges exist ultimately make it more likely that something goes wrong in the first place.

This is not to say that the use of offshore transcription companies is a non-starter for everyone. But, if you have high-security concerns, it is something you need to consider. Unfortunately, choosing the safer option here will cost you. But, if you need security, it is a price worth paying.

Encryption and Secure Processes: Factors Not Necessarily Linked to Transcription Service Rates

If security is a concern, then it’s vital that you look for transcription services that offer ISO 27001 & 9001 accreditation, an HTTPS website and TLS or SSL encrypted log-in portals and file storage measures.

ISO is a set of international standards of quality assurance that give companies the power to document their capabilities and what they’ve done to provide those assurances. In order to receive an ISO accreditation, companies must be formally assessed by a third party. ISO 9001 is a management system standard and ISO 27001 is for information security management. With both of these accreditations, you can have peace of mind knowing the transcription service provider is as concerned about your security as you are.

Website security is another issue, and that’s where an HTTPS website and encrypted log-in portals/data storage come in to play. HTTPS ensures that communication between your browser and the website is secured; encrypted data and log-in information mean that all of your sensitive data is stored in encrypted formats.

Encryption costs money, and, therefore, does drive up costs. You might expect to pay a slight premium for ISO accreditation or encrypted log-in portals. But, HTTPS should be standard for any service company operating online, and the total cost increase caused by any of these factors will be slight.

In reality, encryption and ISO accreditations should also be standard practice for almost anyone looking for audio transcription services, regardless of how sensitive their data is. Compared to the price variations caused by using offshore transcriptionists vs. in-house, professional transcribers, the increased costs you should expect to see from encryption and ISO accreditation are negligible.

Make Sure That The Rate You See is The Rate You Get: Hidden Fees in Transcription Services

Headline price points aren’t always the full story when it comes to transcription rates. Starting quotes are typically low to attract more, first-time clients. But, additional features such as timestamps, the identification of speakers and quick turnaround times are often priced independently. Equally, poor quality audio or multiple speakers can sometimes trigger extra fees. These choices can be valuable if the features aren’t needed. However, it’s important to look beyond headline price points to ensure that you don’t get caught out by hidden fees.

For instance, a website may advertise prices as low as £0.90 per minute of audio. In reality, however, that might very well come out to over £3 per minute. A price breakdown might look something like this:

  • Standard rate – £0.90
  • Shorter turnaround time (7 business days to 2) – £0.30
  • Background noise in the audio – £0.30
  • Standard timecodes – £0.30
  • Strict verbatim (exact speech, includes repetitions, ums, ahs, etc) – £0.60
  • Subject is a non-native English speaker – £0.40
  • 20% VATAudio Transcription Quote CTA

From a standard rate of £0.90 per minute of audio, we’ve gone up to £3.36 per minute of audio. This is almost four times as much as the initial price. If caught unaware, that could be a huge unexpected fee in the end.

If you don’t want a lot of extras, a benchmark rate for quality transcription services is around £1 a minute. Anything less than that, and there will probably be extras that make up the difference. However, if you can wait for slow turnaround times, you might be able to access secure and high-quality transcription services for less.

Is Speech to Text Software a Cheap and Secure Solution?

The cost of human transcription services can be surprisingly expensive, especially if you’re hiring a reputable service that is concerned about your security. Because of this, first-time users may be tempted to find a cheaper solution using speech to text software — also known as automatic speech recognition (ASR).

Unfortunately, speech to text software is often inaccurate, especially if the recording is unclear or contains more than one voice. In fact, you shouldn’t expect to see higher than 80% accuracy rates on a speech to text transcription. If complicating factors are present, it can be far, far less.

ASR also isn’t necessarily more secure than human transcription services. Some will promise that no ‘person’ will ever view your data. But, if no promises are made, your data might end up being reviewed for quality control purposes.

More to the point, all encryption concerns are still present. You will still need to look for a transcription service that has ISO accreditation and a secure website. Ultimately, you can find security-conscious ASR service providers. But, what will determine their viability as a solution is the quality of your audio, whether or not you need an accurate transcription, and your ability to spend time editing the ASR result.

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Transcription Service Rates and Security are Linked, But Are Not One and The Same

Transcription service rates are often impacted by security. However, they are not directly correlated and there are many transcription services that can offer low rates yet will still keep your data safe and secure. The most secure transcription services won’t offshore their workforce, which will cost extra. This is most important for really sensitive data involved in things like a legal transcription or medical transcription. But, the price variations shouldn’t be that dramatic.

The biggest price differences exist between human transcription services and speech to text software. But, this isn’t about security and has everything to do with the overheads within the business. From a customer perspective, the choice between ASR and human transcription services isn’t related to security at all, or necessarily even cost. It comes down to the quality of your audio and the type of transcript you need to be delivered. Under a lot of circumstances, it doesn’t matter how cheap ASR is, it just isn’t fit for purpose when it comes to meeting transcription needs.

If the security of your audio is a concern, you can probably avoid looking at the cheapest transcription services. But, you don’t necessarily have to buy the most expensive service on the market to keep your data safe. Under all circumstances, you should simply make sure that any ‘premium’ priced transcription service is backed up by sufficient security features. But, getting a secure transcription service has more to do with knowing what to look for and looking into the detail than just buying based on price.

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.