Outsourcing Transcription: Everything You Need To Know

Explore outsourcing transcription for your business: Learn how it works, signs you need it, and what to expect in cost and quality. Perfect for streamlining operations!

Does your line of work require transcription? Then you already know how important it is to have fast, accurate, ready-to-go transcripts created to your exact specifications. 

The good news is, even with the advent of automated transcription, you can still find professional transcriptionists who understand the very human needs of your business—and it’s a lot more affordable than you might think! 

In this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about outsourcing transcription, including:

  • How transcription outsourcing works 
  • How you know it’s time to outsource
  • What to look for when outsourcing 
  • How much it costs to outsource transcription 

Be sure to read from top to bottom, so don’t miss out on any of these expert tips!

What Is Outsourcing Transcription?

Outsourcing transcription involves delegating the task of converting audio or video content into written format to a third-party service provider. These providers have trained professionals specializing in transcription, ensuring accuracy and efficiency.

Outsourcing transcription services can offer numerous benefits, from saving time and resources to delivering high-quality, accurate transcripts. But how do you know when it’s time to consider outsourcing? The following signs indicate that your business could benefit from this move.

5 Signs You Need to Outsource Your Transcript Writing

No matter what line of work you’re in, it’s a safe bet that hiring a dedicated team for transcription is a strain on valuable resources. For organizations with tight budgets and high volumes of recorded audio, the transcription problem can translate to an overworked team that’s always running behind. 

Here are five signs transcription outsourcing might be right for you.

You want to avoid the overhead of hiring in-house transcriptionists.

If money were no object, you’d love to have an in-house team to handle your documents. But paying out wages and benefits for a team of qualified professionals is just not a realistic option. 

While there may have been a time when it was possible to have clerks and transcriptionists on your team, those days are long gone—your budget probably hasn’t risen in lockstep alongside the rising labor costs. If that’s the case, transcription outsourcing might be your best bet.

You’re understaffed or running behind on transcriptions.

Even if you’re lucky enough to manage some of your documentation needs in-house, you might have reached a point where things are piling up. Unfortunately, this can cause unnecessary delays in your operations. 

Worse yet, you may be paying out overtime to get these loose ends tied up. While it can seem like these inefficiencies are inevitable, understand that they don’t have to be. Outsourcing even some of your clerical operations can help you keep things moving. 

Your team has other priorities.

They say the devil is in the details. And while transcription is a vital function of your operations, it shouldn’t be something your team prioritizes over the “big picture” tasks in their job description. 

Time is a finite resource, and the hours spent on transcription could be dedicated to more important things. Transcription outsourcing frees up your team to focus on what matters most. 

You have specific formatting and style needs.

Automated transcription services have been a godsend for some industries, allowing for cheap-as-nails transcription at warp speed. But if you need transcripts that follow specific formatting or style conventions, AI is more trouble than it’s worth. 

Outsourcing transcription to professionals means you can get fully custom transcripts. For example, you can choose between edited transcription (cleaned up for clarity and conciseness), verbatim transcription (includes everything, including filler words and stutters), or intelligent verbatim (some editing). 

You can specify a particular template (excellent for legal practices and law enforcement needs) or even incorporate relevant photos into the document. 

You need transcripts quickly.

If your work demands fast turnaround times, outsourcing transcription to a professional service can be a game-changer. Whereas your in-house team may be comprised of one or two typists, enterprise transcription services work with dozens of experienced transcriptionists at a time to get the job done. 

Each one works to pitch in to transcribe your recording, edit for accuracy, and format the document to your specs. This all-hands-on-deck approach means you can get your finished transcription in a few hours—even if you submit it outside of regular business hours. 

What To Look For In A Transcription Service

Outsourcing transcription to the pros is a fantastic way to streamline operations and get high-quality transcripts quickly. But unfortunately, not all transcription services are created equal. If you’re looking for a transcription partner, here’s what you should look for.

Professional transcriptionists

Firstly, let’s talk about the irreplaceable human element. AI has its perks, but nothing beats a professional human transcriptionist when it comes to understanding the nuances of language, context, and specialized terminology. 

The bespoke nature of human transcription ensures accuracy and adherence to your unique instructions and preferences. This human-centric approach is a cornerstone of quality in transcription services.

Confidentiality and data security

In a world where data breaches are commonplace, confidentiality and robust data security measures are non-negotiable. Businesses dealing with sensitive information should accept nothing less than transcription services that employ vetted professionals bound by NDAs and backed by stringent data security protocols. 

This isn’t just about protecting data; it’s about safeguarding your business’s integrity and reputation.


Accuracy in transcription isn’t just a feature; it’s the whole point. Renowned transcription services often boast 99-100% accuracy rates. Why does this matter? 

Because every error, no matter how small, can distort the original message, leading to misinterpretations and potentially costly mistakes. Accurate transcriptions save invaluable editing time and uphold the integrity of your content.


Every organization has its unique fingerprint, and so do its transcription needs. The ability to customize documents, be it in structure or content, isn’t just a luxury—it’s essential for seamless integration into diverse business workflows. 

Customizability reflects a service’s commitment to cater to the nuanced needs of its clients.


Gone are the days of clunky, unintuitive digital services. In our digital age, user-friendliness is a hallmark of a service that respects your time and effort. 

An intuitive interface isn’t just about ease of use; it’s about ensuring that the transcription process is a smooth, seamless part of your business operation, accessible to all team members regardless of their tech prowess.

Customer support

Often overlooked but critically important, customer support can make or break your experience with a transcription service. 

Exceptional customer support indicates a service that values its clients and is committed to resolving issues swiftly and effectively. It’s about creating a partnership rather than a mere business transaction.


Finally, let’s talk about the bottom line. Quality transcription services shouldn’t require you to break the bank. Cost-effectiveness coupled with transparent pricing structures is key. It’s not just about finding the cheapest option but getting the best value for your investment.

How It Works: Transcription Outsourcing for Businesses

If you’ve been using an in-house transcription service, you may be wondering how transcription outsourcing works. Every transcription service has its own way of doing things, and it’s helpful to understand these processes so you can make an informed decision about which to partner with. 

Here, we’ll break down how we do things here at SpeakWrite so you know exactly what to expect when you make the switch. 

Step #1 – First, create and submit your recording. 

If you have a digital recording ready to go, you can submit it via the SpeakWrite website; however, most of our enterprise customers use our free desktop and mobile apps. 

These apps include a recording feature, allowing you to easily record and submit. SpeakWrite also has a toll-free dictation line, so you can dictate your work by phone, hang up, and receive a transcription within a matter of hours. 

Step #2 – Once your recording has been submitted, it will be routed to a transcriptionist. 

At SpeakWrite, we work with an extensive typist network in the U.S. and Canada. Longer recordings are typically broken up and sent out to multiple typists, then stitched back together into a single document and reviewed for accuracy and formatting. 

This ensures lightning-fast, fully human transcription that adheres to your specifications. When your transcript is ready, you will receive it by email. You can also access it from SpeakWrite’s mobile or desktop app or through the web dashboard on Speakwrite.com. 

Step #3 – Then, it’s time for the quality assurance process. 

After the transcription is completed, it undergoes a rigorous quality assurance process. At SpeakWrite, we take pride in our meticulous quality checks. Each transcript is reviewed by a team of experienced editors who ensure that the final product meets our high standards for accuracy and formatting. 

This step guarantees that the transcript reflects the content of your recording and adheres to any specific requirements or templates you may have provided.

Step #4 – Gain access to your completed transcripts. 

The final transcript will be delivered to you once the quality assurance process is complete. As mentioned earlier, you will receive an email notification, but there are multiple ways to access your completed transcripts. 

You can download them directly from the email or log in to the SpeakWrite app or web dashboard to access your transcript. This flexibility ensures that you can retrieve your documents wherever and whenever it’s convenient for you.

Step #5 – Finally, give your feedback. 

Lastly, SpeakWrite values your feedback. After you’ve reviewed your transcript, you can provide feedback directly through our platform. 

This feedback is integral to our continuous improvement process. It helps us tailor our services to better meet your needs and preferences in future projects.

How To Choose The Right Transcription Outsourcing Service

You might wonder how transcription providers can accommodate your organization’s or specialty area’s idiosyncrasies. For example, your recordings might feature specific acronyms or names, or you may need the transcript formatted according to your organization’s standards. 

SpeakWrite offers a few different customizability tools to help with this. Your account is designed to serve as a hub for all your transcription needs, including some features that are accessible to our typists. 

  • Templates for typists to work from. Simply add your templates to your account and dictate which to use in the recording.
  • Word lists to explain words, phrases, acronyms, and names that typists may be unfamiliar with. 
  • Address books that include the names and info of your professional contacts.
  • Photos can be added, free of charge, to the final document through your dashboard. 

With these features, you can get transcripts that are just as precise and customized as those you’d get from an in-house typist. In fact, many customers find the SpeakWrite user interface easier to navigate than the internal system they used. 

If you’re still emailing files back and forth or working from a shared folder, you may find even more value in transcription outsourcing.

How Much Does Transcription Outsourcing Cost?

Every transcription service uses a different pricing structure. Some charge by the word, others by the minute, and some may use a flat-rate transcription model. 

SpeakWrite charges between 1 ½ and 2 ¼ cents per word depending on the type of job. For reference, that would put a routine police report (around 3-4 minutes of dictation) might cost around $7.50. With two or more speakers, an 8-minute witness interview might cost around $25. 

SpeakWrite is significantly less expensive than employing an in-house professional or paying your employees to do it when they could be focusing on other things. This may be especially true if you’re paying out overtime so employees can tackle their paperwork. 

You can use SpeakWrite’s savings calculator to see how much time and money you could save with SpeakWrite.

Start Transcribing Today!

With more than 25 years in the business, we’re pretty certain you’ll breathe a sigh of relief when you see how easy and affordable transcription can be… but don’t take our word for it. 

Take SpeakWrite for a test drive today with a free trial. If you want to try it at the organizational level, SpeakWrite also offers a pilot program for larger entities. 

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