Tribulations of a Transcriber

Over the decades Transcription 2000 Services has often talked about the great respect and admiration we have for the unique set of skills, knowledge and professionalism that each member of our team of experienced transcriptionists brings to the table. But recently we commiserated and laughed with one them, Cheryl, who was sharing an anecdote about coming close to losing her cool recently when she met up for coffee with a friend who didn't have quite the same perspective on our demanding profession.  

It seems that the friend -- with all best intentions -- was commenting at length about how "lucky" Cheryl is to be able to work from home.  "You get to work in your sweats all day, be your own boss, just typing away, no stress, take breaks whenever you feel like it -- boy, you've really got it made."  Happily, Cheryl realized just in time that a latte accidentally ending up in her friend's lap was probably not the best way to communicate how far off base her friend's perception was of today's world of online transcription services. 

Cheryl's frustration with her pal's perception of her profession is understandable.  As she noted during our chat, "If Kelly ever actually saw me in action on a typical work day --  recording and then transcribing very high-level business meetings, researching technical terminology, picking my way through cross talk, deciphering dialects and accents, all the while keeping an eye on the ticking clock as my deadline looms -- I think she'd be stunned.  No stress? Breaks? Seriously?" 

She continued, "And among other things she had never thought about is the fact that, as an independent online transcriptionist, I don't have an employer to absorb the cost of health insurance, employment taxes, a pension, not to mention sick days or vacation. After our "chat," though, I think she has a much better, or should I say balanced, understanding of what the reality of working in my profession entails today. 

We commiserated and laughed with Cheryl's frustration about her friend's original perception but it also led to a longer conversation about some other challenges being faced by today's professional transcriptionists in the USA.  U.S.-based professional transcribers continue to have their earnings ability challenged by the increasing presence of late-to-the party transcription service providers whose highest priority is minimizing their labor costs.  These firms, many based offshore, often hire transcribers from third-world or developing countries who are willing to work for wages that a U.S. worker could not possibly survive on. Additionally, English is almost always not the first language of these workers, definitely a cause for concern in the type of high-level assignments a firm like Transcription 2000 Services processes daily.

As Cheryl noted, "To make it worse, even some online transcription firms based in the U.S. feel pressured to offer prices that are competitive to these offshore shops. Not only is it insulting to an experienced professional transcriber, but when you actually sit down with pen and paper, many U.S. transcribers who work for these outfits are earnings less -- way less -- than minimum wage. That's not only unfair, it's absurd when you consider the experience and skill sets of the caliber of transcribers like those I work with at T2K."

At Transcription 2000 Services we value the decades of business knowledge and transcription experience our transcribers bring to the table every day and that's why we will never get into that bidding war with our "we'll do it cheaply" competitors.  Cheryl knows that, too.  That's why she's well into her second decade of making sure that Transcription 2000's transcripts remain the gold standard for the highest quality transcripts Made in the USA.