08 November 2016

Transcription: death by sitting?

I know the title sounds a bit dramatic, but there are serious health risks associated with inactivity and in particular sitting down for long periods of time.

Of course, being in the transcription profession, sitting down for long periods of time is what us transcribers do along with many other professions.

Transcription: possible health risks

It's shocking to think that sitting to do transcription for long periods of time can cause health issues such as:

  • weight gain
  • obesity
  • high blood pressure
  • deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • type 2 diabetes
  • some types of cancer 
  • early death.

However, being physically active for approximately 25 minutes a day and reducing transcription / sitting time may help to reduce the risk of ill health.

It is recommended to take a break from transcription every 30 minutes

Breaking up long periods of transcription time with short bursts of physical activity for just one or two minutes can help keep your circulation and metabolism going.

Physical activity can also help to reduce the risk of:

  • Depression
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s

Physical activity can:

  • Improve psychological well-being
  • Improve self-esteem
  • Improve mood and sleep quality
  • Reduce levels of anxiety and fatigue

 Doing exercise for at least 60 minutes a day can help to negate the impact of sitting for too long throughout the day

I have recently been trying to be more active so now I’ve just got to figure out how to incorporate 60 minutes of exercise into my days. The gym sounds like a good option as this could be incorporated into a daily routine.

Becoming more physically active

I used to be a gym ‘hater’, you know, one of those people who never went to a gym but said 'oh no, it’s not for me'. I was also put off by the high membership fees.

That being said, earlier this year my daughter joined a gym where you pay an affordable monthly fee and can go at any time… literally as its open 24/7. She was keen for me to go with her, so I paid for a day pass and went along.

I was very surprised to find that I really enjoyed the experience so I joined. Now I just need to build up the amount of time I spend there… that’s the hard part.

Taking regular breaks from transcription

Sometimes it is difficult to drag myself away when I'm stuck into a really good interview transcription or a focus group transcription, where it's an advantage to keep transcribing for voice identification purposes or when I've only got a few more minutes of transcription to go and it's the race to the end (fellow transcribers will know that feeling well). However, I will be making a conscious effort to take a break every 30 minutes and try to make it an active break. 

To learn more about this topic visit the NHS Choices webpage Why we should sit less

If you are interested in the transcription services I provide please visit the King Audio Transcription & Typing Services website.    

04 July 2016

Taking the plunge to Windows 10

I was a bit concerned about upgrading to Windows 10 in case some or all of my software that I use for providing transcription services wouldn't work anymore. 

However, I did want to upgrade to Windows 10 before the free time period expired... obviously free is better than paying for it and as I run a transcription services business, as with any small business, keeping overheads to a minimum is important.

So I overcame my concerns and took the plunge. I downloaded and installed Windows 10 back in March and was delighted to find that all my important transcription tools still worked perfectly. The bonus is I really like it.

I particularly like the Quick Access from which I can - as the name suggests - quickly recall my most recently used transcription files and folders so I can get to work on my transcriptions with fewer clicks.

As is the way of the world, all good things come to an end eventually and Microsoft's generosity is no exception. The free upgrade to Windows 10 will no longer be available from 29 July 2016.

So if you want to upgrade for free now is the time.

If you want more information about the pros and cons of upgrading to Windows 10 and the costs after 29 July 2016, here is an interesting article from Martyn Casserly on pcadvisor.co.uk.

If you are interested in transcription services please visit King Audio Transcription & Typing Services to find out more and/or to get a no obligation quote.

10 June 2015

Transcription Services: 3 key ways to get clients

On occasion I am asked for my advice on how to get clients by people starting a transcription services business and transcribers that need to boost their client base. I can only speak from my own experience of setting up and running King Audio Transcription & Typing Services, which I started in 2003.  

In the early days of King Audio Transcription & Typing Services, I found that no amount of direct marketing was fruitful in finding new clients and quite frankly, I have to admit, it was spammy. Nobody likes a spammer!

Why was this marketing approach unsuccessful? (Apart from the obvious). 

I wasn't getting my transcription services business in front of an audience who were specifically looking for that type of service at that specific moment in time - the target audience. 

Therefore, based on my experience my advice to someone who has just started in transcription services would be:  

1. Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Learn about Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). A good start would be learning how to optimise your website for search engines. Victoria Edwards wrote an article in 2013, which gives good overall advice: SEO Basics: 8 Essentials When Optimizing Your Site

Search engines can get your transcription services business in front of an audience who have specifically 
searched for this type of service when they need it. 

This is where the search engines hold the key to success.

Since 2003 millions of transcription services businesses have joined the World Wide Web, which is why it is so important to strive to feature on the first page of search engine results. 
Ask yourself, when you are searching for something online, how many pages of search results will you click through? Maybe the first three pages... less?

This is why learning SEO is so important, although I will warn you; SEO is not the easiest of subjects and is a long game. It may take up to a couple of years to get results.

Good sources of information about SEO can be found on forums and in articles on the net. Ensure any articles you choose to read are up to date as the search engines change their algorithms regularly and SEO has to be tweaked to accommodate these changes. The UKBusinessForum  has lots of useful information about SEO and other topical subjects. 

If you are not inclined to do your own SEO for your transcription services business, you may decide to hire a professional. However, I would still advise learning the basics so you have an understanding of the subject.

2. Pay per Click (PPC) Campaign

In the meantime you could try a Pay Per Click (PPC) campaign. Although again, this is something you will need to research to get your campaign right so you don't waste money. Google Adwords offer free help in setting up a campaign.

3. Social media

Social media is another way of reaching out and becoming known as a transcription services provider. Twitter and Facebook are great for this. If you want to follow me the links are over on the right. A LinkedIn account can also be very useful; ask your clients to recommend you for your transcription services. 

For more information about starting a business in the UK you may find the .gov page helpful: https://www.gov.uk/starting-up-a-business/start-with-an-idea.

I hope this information is useful. I know it's a lot to take onboard, but don't be put off. If you provide a great service to your clients and are determined to succeed you will. 

Alternatively, if you are looking for a transcription services provider visit the main King Audio Transcription & Typing Services website to get a quote.

22 February 2015

Interview recordings: iPhone / smartphone - potential problems

Many people who are studying for a Masters or PhD degree at some point need to conduct interviews as part of their research thesis or dissertation. This can be a daunting prospect, especially when thinking about what equipment to use to record the interviews to send to your interview transcription service provider.

However, you may not need to buy expensive recording equipment as many smartphones on the market ship with a recording app pre-installed that have the capacity to record for several hours. There are also many apps available to download that can do this that can produce good quality interview recordings. 

It is really important to check out the app by making a test recording in the first instance to ensure: 
  1. You know how to use the app correctly.
  2. The sound quality of the recording is clear and audible. 
  3. You can get the recording from your smartphone when your interview is complete to enable you to send it to your interview transcription service provider.

A couple of my clients recently experienced difficulty with the iPhone. After recording their interviews they were unable to sync the recording with iTunes to prepare to send the interview recordings for transcription via the Internet.

I have researched this problem. I made a 20 minute test sound file using Voice Memo with the iPhone. I connected the iPhone to my PC via USB lead and synced with iTunes. I found my recording in the Music folder under Voice Memos. So success, although it was only a 20 minute recording and problems seem to occur when the recording is fairly lengthy, i.e. 90 minutes or more in the case of my clients. 

Further research led me to this thread on discussions.apple.com, where people talk about some of the problems they have experienced when trying to sync longer recordings (not necessarily interview recordings) from their iPhones. It was suggested to download iExplorer, which enabled some people to locate and download their recordings.

As yet I have not heard of any of my clients experiencing this type of difficulty with Android smartphones, but that is not to say that problems do not exist. 

Again, I think the important thing is to check your equipment before carrying out long interviews for transcription. Create a test sound file of approximately the same length that your interviews are likely to be and experiment with downloading the test recording from your device to ensure that you are able to send the interview recording via the Internet. 

If you would like more information about recording interviews for transcription or you would like a quotation for professional interview transcription, visit the interview transcription page at the King Audio Transcription & Typing Services website. 

15 January 2015

How to format copy time function in ExpressScribe transcription

When using the copy time Hot Key function in ExpressScribe it is easy to format how the time appears in your transcript in the following way. 

In the ExpressScribe interface click Options > display

As you can 
see in the image, under the Time Format section there are Prefix and Suffix boxes, where you can add brackets (open bracket in prefix and closing bracket in suffix). I have added a square opening bracket in the prefix box and a closing square bracket in the suffix box. Therefore, when I copy and paste the time into my transcript it will appear like this [0:08:58.7]. This time is obviously just an example to show you how the format appears. Of course, you could use any format that suits you, for example: ((?0:08:58.7)). In this example one would place ((? in the prefix box and )) in the suffix box. 
This is a really handy tip if you are a transcribing interviews for example. It makes it easy to insert time stamps into transcripts or to mark the time of an inaudible word in a transcript. 

We hope this has been useful and saves you lots of time in your transcriptions in the future. 

Alternatively, if you would like to outsource your transcription, King Audio Transcription & Typing Services in the UK would be happy to give you a quick quote. Please visit our main website at www.kingaudio.co.uk and use the contact page to contact us. 

02 January 2015

Focus Group Transcription: Guide for having focus groups transcribed

There are some aspects to consider when deciding how much detail you will need to include in your focus group transcripts to meet the needs of your project.

For example, if the focus group participants need to be identified in the transcript by their name, initials or participant 1 (P1), participant 2 (P2) etc this is a more expensive option for focus group transcription as it is a more time-consuming process for the transcriptionist.

A good analogy for why this is more time-consuming is imagine you are with a group of people you have never met before and you are blindfolded (apologies for my terrible doodle). Now try to identify each person by their voice. This is what it will be like for your transcriber listening to the focus group recording, although the transcriber will have the benefit of being able to rewind and listen again and again.

For this type of focus group transcription an experienced transcriber will need to keep a detailed record of each participant and the characteristics of their voice to refer to throughout the transcription and will, more often than not, have to flick backwards and forwards through the recording to pinpoint and double check voices.

One of our recent clients found a way around this by interjecting with the individual’s name each time a new participant spoke, which made the focus group transcription less complex and therefore a cheaper process.

Alternatively you might consider that it is not necessary to identify the participants but to give each new speaker a new paragraph in the transcript. Again, this is a cheaper option.

It goes without saying that a good, clear and audible recording is necessary for focus group transcription.

For more information and to get a price for focus group transcription visit the King Audio Transcription & Typing Services Focus Group Transcription page.


13 November 2014

Catch a mouse; kill the pain!

After nearly 12 years and thousands and thousands of hours of professional transcription at King Audio Transcription & Typing Services, I guess it was inevitable that I would suffer from some form of arm pain, tennis elbow or RSI-type symptoms predominantly in my right arm. 

After some research on the internet I discovered that a vertical mouse may help with these symptoms.

I was amazed to find a vertical mouse on Amazon for under £9 as usually any equipment which is designed to help with health problems is very expensive.

At this price I thought it’s worth a try to help make transcription more comfortable and if it doesn’t work, then I haven’t made a huge investment in this equipment.

The vertical mouse does look a lot different than a conventional mouse and I thought it would take a long time to get used to. However, I have found the vertical mouse very easy and comfortable to use whilst transcribing and generally using my PC.

After a short period of time, just a couple of weeks, I have noticed a big reduction in the arm pain I have been experiencing. This has vastly improved my comfort whilst transcribing for my clients.

I would recommend this mouse to anyone who experiences arm pain associated with mouse use and particularly transcribers.