The Perfect Word Transcription Service
The Perfect Word Transcription
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Frequently Asked Questions

What is audio transcription?

Simply speaking, transcription is turning the spoken words on a recording into a typed document. The person doing this type of work, the transcriptionist, normally uses a transcription program to play the digital audio/video files while he or she listens and types what is heard. Often a foot pedal is connected to the computer for stopping and starting the recording. Headphones are also useful.

How do I send you my files?

Here are the easy, free, and secure options for sending and receiving digital files:

Google Drive
Upload on my website
Download from client's site

Work can also be sent by courier, FedEx, UPS, or USPS for documents, CDs, and DVDs.

You will receive your completed work according to your specifications.

Who are some of your clients?

Through my 20 years as owner of The Perfect Word, I have had the pleasure of working with many, many different types of clients, both businesses and individuals. Here are a few:

Workers’ compensationPhD candidatesChurches
Commercial and personal auto insurance Non-profits Consultants
Risk management County of Henrico Virginia Virginia State Police
Virginia Commonwealth University College of William & Mary Christopher Newport University
University of Pennsylvania Small business owners Market research organizations

And the list grows each year!

Do you have a bunch of different people doing my transcription?

I have a very professional and experienced subcontractor that works with me on some projects. Your work is as important to me and my subcontractor as it is to you. On these projects, we are both involved in ensuring that it is done properly, professionally, and with strict confidentiality. I maintain strict control over the quality of the work, something that’s very difficult to do in large transcription companies. You will communicate with me, the owner, every step of the way.

What about security and confidentiality?

The Perfect Word takes the security and confidentiality of client work very seriously, using password-protected computers, encryption of files when appropriate, and encryption of e-mails when requested. Client work is also backed up on flash drives, which are stored in a locked box. At the client's request, any files sent to The Perfect Word for transcription and/or transcripts produced by The Perfect Word can be destroyed once the project is completed.

Where are you located?

All transcription is done in the United States—Central Virginia to be more exact. Work is NEVER subcontracted to anyone outside of the US.

Do you only work with local clients?

I have had clients from all over the United States, as well as Canada and overseas. But because I am located in Virginia, a large number of my clients are from areas in that state including Lynchburg, Williamsburg, Newport News, Roanoke, and of course Richmond and Glen Allen. So wherever you are in the USA (or the world), please get in touch if you’d like to have The Perfect Word’s expertise handle that transcription you’d probably rather not be doing!

Isn't transcription just typing?

It takes a certain skill and talent to transcribe proficiently, even with a very clear recording and only one person talking. Being able to type well is, obviously, essential, but so is a person's ability to listen and type at the same time! And in so many cases there is much more on the recording than just the voice or voices to transcribe. It takes a keen ear and great concentration to pick out clearly what should be typed from everything else.

Can't I use voice-to-text programs like Dragon?

If it's just one person without an accent on a clear recording (no static, background noise, etc.), and you can train that person's voice to the program, then yes, I believe it could be done that way. But proofing the transcript against the recording would still be necessary, as well as some editing.

But so many recordings have background noise, more than one person, static, voices cutting in and out, mumbling, or a heavy accent. It would be almost impossible to get a transcript of a recording like this that would be anywhere near correct.

I've heard it may take four times the length of a recording, maybe even longer, to transcribe. Why so long?

Try to type what someone is saying and keep up with them, and you will quickly see how much faster a person talks than we type. Average conversational speech is at about 120-160* words per minute. Now compare that to the typing speed of 40** wpm for the average person to 65-75** for a professional typist. As you can see, there's a big difference.

Then there are other things a transcriptionist may work with on a recording such as loud background noises, heavy accents, multiple speakers, and poorly recorded audio. And don't forget proofreading and possible Internet research for specific terminology or items that are unclear The more of these there are, the longer the time.

Knowing the full extent of the transcription process, the time involved definitely makes sense.

*What's your speech rate?
**What Is a Good Typing Speed Per Minute?

Interesting and Helpful Resources!

Chicago Manual of Style
When writing a research paper of any type, it’s extremely important to produce your work with proper grammar and spelling and typed in the format required by your college or university. If you use recorded interviews for your data collection, your school will also have requirements for transcription of those recordings, so make sure you get all the facts before getting started. And when you're ready to have me trancribe those recordings, you'll have all that information already at hand to pass along!

Best Buy
This is just one of many sources for recording equipment and microphones. Make sure you research what you’ll need for the type of recording you’ll be doing to provide the best possible recordings.

QDA Miner Lite
This is a “free and easy-to-use version of our popular computer assisted qualitative analysis software. It can be used for the analysis of textual data such as interview and news transcripts, open-ended responses, etc. as well as for the analysis of still images.” A client uses this software and thought I might like to share it with others doing the type of work. Thanks, Rachel!

Tips on Conducting Qualitative Interviews, QualPage - Examining the World Through Qualitative Inquiry

Effective Practices for Research Interviews, Marilyn Simon and Jim Goes

General Guidelines for Conducting Research Interviews, Free Management Library

How to Conduct a Helpful Focus Group, Talkdesk

Phone Interviewing as a Means of Data Collection: Lessons Learned and Practical Recommendations, Forum: Qualitative Social Research

Conducting Focus Groups, Community Toolbox

Claims Journal

PropertyCasualty360 - Claims, News & Analysis

Click the button to have some typing fun!


In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. ~Proverbs 3:6 (NASB)

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