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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: What kind of audio can you transcribe? We will work with almost any
digital format as long as it can actually be transcribed!
Our systems can crank up most of the digital audio types there is.  We do
prefer digital files simply because it saves you both time and money and it
results in a quicker turn around time for us.
We have a secure site where you can upload your digital soundfiles - mp3,
mp2 wav, avi, dss, dvf,  RealPlay, webcasts, and others.  If you’re unsure as
to whether or not we can work with one of your audio sources, just ask us.
We do not accept analog files for now (tapes, mini-cassettes, vhs, et cetera).

Q: Why are your prices so much lower than other transcription services?
We work fast. We are always looking for ways to streamline our work
process and pass the savings to our clients.
Some of the companies put huge markups in their quotations.  We would
like to maintain decent profit margins and believe in having delighted
customers who will keep sending their business to us.
We are dedicated to building our client base instead of relying on a few
clients to make our quota. The people behind Green Griffin Transcripts
believe in putting customers first in terms of service and price.

Q: Can you work with confidential material? Yes. We will be happy to sign
any confidentiality agreements necessary and are very sensitive to any
information, whether it be confidential or not.
We also have a secure FTP system in place to both receive and submit files
securely and confidentially.  All of our transcriptionists and editors are
likewise bound by the same non-disclosure agreements.

Q: Is sending files through email secure? Yes and No.
Yes, in that it is faster and convenient and the chances of someone hacking
and reading your files are pretty slim. But email does have its vulnerabilities
and you need to be aware of that when transmitting any information.
We can send and receive via our FTP for clients who require high level
security. Clients can also log in to their account on our website (requires a
subscription to us for free) and download files directly from our server if you
don’t like receiving files via email.

Q: Where do I mail physical audio sources to you? Send it directly to us at:

137 N. Larchmont Blvd., #678
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Q: How often do you bill me and what are the payment methods? If you are
a regular customer, we bill when the invoice reaches $800.  Otherwise, we
shall send you our invoice at the completion of each project.
Our preferred method of payment is by check mailed to our office, a direct
deposit to our bank account or through
Paypal.  A Paypal icon will appear in
the email message we will send you, which will bring up a professional
invoice to help you pay instantly.
Any client paying by check, bank deposit or Paypal must pay for half the
project ahead of time before work is started.  Invoices and receipts of
payment are all sent electronically to the email address you indicated on
your active email account you indicated to us.

Q: Can you handle big and small projects? We want your business and we
will do everything to accommodate your needs.
No project is too big or too small for us.  Whether you are an individual, a
small business or a big company, we have a capable staff and can increase
our capacity for those extra large projects on an as needed basis. Email us
with any questions you might have regarding your project.

Q: Do you do medical transcription? Yes, we do.
We have in our team qualified medical transcriptionists who can transcribe
medical reports.  We also accept audios of meeting, conference, etc. that
has medical terms. We do not consider this as medical transcription (which
we charge higher) but charge accordingly for the technical nature of the topic.

Q: How much would an hour of tape recording cost to transcribe? We
charge by the audio minute. Our lowest rate starts at $1.25 per audio minute
for a single speaker or dictation with clear recording.
Email us to ask for our
complete rate sheet.

Q: How come you charge by the audio minute? A flat transcription rate per
recorded audio minute let’s you keep track of how much you’ll be paying for
the work we do.
We maintain honest billing and it keeps you from getting ripped off by
confusing page counts, work hours, etc.  It also keeps things simpler for
both of us.  We do round up to the next minute, which makes it still cheaper
compared to those who charge and round up by the audio hour.

Q: How long will it take to transcribe an hour’s worth of file? On average it
takes four hours to transcribe one hour of tape, but this varies considerably.
It will probably be closer to three hours for one person speaking but could
well be at least six to eight hours for a large focus-group.

Q: Why would it take 3 hours to transcribe an hour of audio if it's only 1
hour?
Basically, we speak much faster than even the fastest typist can type.
Also, we don't just type what we hear - we have to ensure it makes sense
and analyze the information being said.
Although we only type what is being said (unless specifically requested to
edit), it's not just a matter of the right words, but also the right punctuation
and, of course, picking the correct homonym (e.g. there or their, two, to or
too).
Transcribing also includes a fair amount of time for research and editing.

Q: Why are there differences in length of time taken to transcribe? The
time taken to transcribe a recording can vary according to a number of
factors. These include:
  • Clarity of speech. Strong or varied accents slow down the
    transcription.
  • Quality of recording. Background hiss will make the speech more
    difficult to hear and therefore slow down the transcribing. Also, if a
    number of people are being recorded, the positioning and number of
    microphones can make an enormous difference to the quality of the
    recording.
  • Background noise. A recording in a pub or café is likely to have
    significant background noise and deciphering the speech from the
    background noise can be difficult.  Even the air-conditioning in a
    room can affect how clearly the event is being recorded.
  • Number of people talking. Everyone talks at a different rate and pitch,
    and with a different accent. Having to 'tune in' to a number of different
    people slows down the speed of transcription.
  • Speed of speech. As already mentioned, some people speak faster
    than others. Clearly a fast speaker will take longer to transcribe, as
    they will fit more words in to an hour than a slower speaker.
  • Whether the speaker speaks in coherent sentences. Few people
    actually do speak in the same way as we write. There are usually
    multiple 'ums and ers' and people often speak in partial sentences.
    This can require the transcriber re-listening to a section several
    times to grasp the meaning.
  • Whether you are seeking an exact transcription or a transcription
    'for meaning'. Our standard offering is to transcribe word for word but
    to leave out 'ums and ers' and repeated meaningless phrases, such
    as 'you know', and 'know what I mean?' It is obviously quicker to leave
    out these parts, but we are happy to transcribe them if required.

Please refer to the
Types of Transcription page for a more detailed
explanation of our level of transcription.

Q: I haven't made my recording yet. How can make sure it is good quality
and so reduce transcription costs?
  • Reduce background noise. If you record in a quiet environment such
    as a self-contained office, this will make an enormous difference to
    the quality of the recording. If you need to record in an open area, try
    to ensure your microphone is placed close to the speakers you are
    recording but as far as possible from other people in the venue who
    are not included in the recording (people talking on the phone, kids
    playing). Recording in pubs, restaurants and cafes, trains etc. will
    greatly reduce the quality of recording.  It would be best to have a
    lapel microphone ready.
  • Check you can hear the speaker. If the speaker has a very quiet
    voice the recorder will not pick it up. Although you don't want to
    remind people that the recording equipment is there, you may have to
    ask them to speak up.
  • Don't use a built-in microphone. Most built-in microphones are of
    poor quality with limited control over volume levels. They are
    designed to pick up close speech such as someone speaking
    directly into it. Using a good quality microphone for interviews and
    other multiple speaker recordings will greatly improve quality and
    reduce transcription time.
  • Place the microphone/s carefully. It is essential to ensure that the
    speaker is close enough to the microphone. If there are several
    speakers, for example in a seminar or conference, ensure that there
    are sufficient microphones around the room to pick up all the
    participants clearly. If seated around a table use something like a
    Conference mixer, which links several microphones to one central
    unit that will pick up a discussion more clearly than one central
    microphone.
  • Chair focus groups firmly. Ensure all participants know that they
    must speak clearly and one at a time or their words will not be clearly
    recorded. There will be times when participants get exited and
    interrupt each other. When this happens it may be sensible to
    interrupt and ask them to repeat, one at a time, so that all the words
    will be clearly recorded. Introduce speakers or have them say their
    names out loud for proper labeling of speakers in the transcript.
  • Don't use slow recording. Some recorders can tape at slower
    speeds, extending the recording time and reducing the number of
    tapes used. However, there is a related loss in recording quality. We
    would recommend that you use only the fastest speed setting on
    your recording equipment.
  • Don't use voice activation. Some recorders have a voice-activation
    system so that you don't waste tape recording long pauses. However
    there are two serious problems when using this. The first is that a
    soft-voiced person might not activate the recorder at all, so that whole
    sentences might not be recorded. The second is that every time
    somebody does speak and activate the recorder there is a slight time
    delay before recording starts, so the first word or two will probably not
    be recorded.
  • Use the best quality recording equipment & tapes that you can
    afford. A low-cost recorder may seem economical but the quality will
    be comparatively poor and a poor recording will take longer to
    transcribe. Paying for more transcription time will probably work out
    more expensive than spending a few dollars extra on better recording
    equipment.
  • Obtain professional help when recording conferences or
    seminars. Where you have speakers at a podium or multiple
    speakers in a large room, it is advised that you seek professional
    help to ensure everything is clearly recorded. Most hotels and
    conference centers will have in-house experts, or a company
    specializing in audiovisual equipment should be able to help.

Q: What do you consider difficult audio and why am I being charged more
for them?
Difficult audio can be as follows:
"Foreign" accents or non-native English speakers, audio source far from
speakers, technical words (medical, legal, foreign words, industry-specific
words, etc.), meetings with many cross-talking such as focus groups, loud
background noise that interferes with understanding the speaker's words,
etc.
These difficult audio take more time to transcribe as we need to re-listen,
sometimes over and over again. If you have a question about your audio,
please give us a call and we can provide an estimate of your work.

Q: Can you transcribe hard to hear audio? We can assess your audio for
free and give you an “estimate” of how the transcript will be.  But keep in
mind that we can only transcribe what we can clearly hear.
If you have difficulty understanding a speaker, then more than likely we will,
too.  We do have the advantage of having proper equipment and a well-
trained staff who are more attuned.
Still, the best way to ensure a good transcript is to make sure you record
your event clearly.  Invest in good recording equipment especially if the event
is very important for you.

Q: How do you deliver transcripts? Transcripts are e-mailed as a Word
document attachment.
If you wish, we can also send this to you via a secure FTP.

Q: Do you pick up and deliver? No, we do not.
Please send your media by messenger,
FedEx or any secure courier service
to our office.

Q: How do I send you our digital recording for transcription? We will
provide a secure site for you to upload your digital recording or send us the
link or FTP site with directions.
You may also send these via email or through reliable file delivery services
in the Internet.  We have tried and tested the following sites among others
(
yousendit.com, sendthisfile.com, sendspace.com).

Q: I have accidently erased my minutes of the meeting that was
transcribed three months ago. Can I still get it from you?
With proper client
verification we can provide you again the data with a charge of $1.00.
We keep a record of General and Business transcripts for 6 months in our
servers before we erase it from our systems.  If it is more than 6 months
ago, we have to transcribe it again at the same rate for that particular audio.
Email us at
ria@greengriffintranscripts.com

Q: I'm a student. Do you offer student discounts? Yes, we offer a 5%
discount.
This only applies to undergraduates, MSc and PhD students and we may
request an ID or proof from your University.

Q: I still have questions that are not here. Give us a call at (310)-492-5463
or send an Email to
ria@greengriffintranscripts.com.


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