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The Dangers of Outsourcing Transcription

The Dangers of Outsourcing Transcription 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

With today’s economy and the ease of finding companies outside of the U.S. thanks to the Internet, it seems like outsourcing transcription is more popular than ever. The rates are usually much, much lower than industry standard, mostly due to the companies paying their workers — you guessed it — much, more lower than industry standard. But with the growth of the industry, cautionary tales are growing as well.

Take, for instance, news in late 2012 that involved $140 million dollars, a hospital, and outsourcing. A jury awarded that amount to the family of a woman who died due to what her lawyers say was inaccurate transcription work that her hospital relied on to treat her. The transcription services were outsourced to a company in India, and errors in the transcript led to the victim receiving a lethal dose of insulin that she eventually died from.

$140 Million Verdict in Baldwin County, WKRG News

Ellen Cushing wrote an article last year on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, an outsourcing system that allows you to post a job to the site and then have workers complete the task. Sounds great, right? The problem is the workers get paid extremely little (even before Amazon takes their cut) and none have had to pass any test to do the work. You could be receiving work from someone who knows very little English, someone with no knowledge of your business, interests or what you do, or a magnitude of other problems.

From Cushing on Mechanical Turk’s wages:

Ipeirotis has estimated the average hourly wage to be roughly $2, while Joel Ross of UC Irvine’s Department of Informatics places it closer to $1.25—and whatever it is, it’s certainly lower than the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Why is this important? Why isn’t the cheapest option the best option? It’s the hospital settlement all over again. If workers aren’t making a fair wage, they have no incentive to submit a correct transcript. And without an accurate transcript, what’s the point of even having audio or video transcribed?

Amazon Mechanical Turk: The Digital Sweatshop, Utne Reader

Have you had good or bad experiences with transcription outsourcing? Let us know in the comments!

The Future of Online Video

The Future of Online Video 2500 1667 Atomic Scribe

Do you remember what the Internet was like 20 years ago? It was already becoming a constant, and yet it was so different from today’s standards. There was no Netflix, no YouTube, no Hulu. Those three sites are some of the most synonymous with online today, and they all have one thing in common – they’re video content sites.

Cisco released a report earlier this year that predicts video will account for an unprecedented 84% of all Internet traffic by 2018. There will be almost 4 billion users by then as well, which is over half of the world’s population.

Language Barriers

While the Internet can feel like it’s making the world smaller and easier to communicate with, there are still barriers, and this will only magnify as online use grows. The first issue is the language barrier. Overwhelmingly most of the Internet is written or spoken in English, but English is not the world’s most popular native language. With population growth exploding in Asia and Africa, languages such as Hindi, French and Arabic are expected to rise, and Mandarin Chinese will still be a growing force.

Another barrier is that most video content does not have proper captions for Deaf or hard-of-hearing people, or just for those who like to use captions while they watch video (which is a large number of watchers). In the U.S. it’s estimated that almost 40 million people are Deaf or hard-of-hearing, but that really doesn’t even come close to the number of people who prefer captions and transcripts to just watching a video by itself.

What Can We Do?

The way to help combat both of these issues is to provide captions or transcripts for your video content, in English and in other languages. You just have to pay for the translation once, and then you can use it for captions, on a web site for Google indexing and SEO reach, for marketing purposes, to publish, or whatever else you want. And your video content won’t be found via a search without text, so captions and transcripts can bring more viewers to your content.

There are over 7 billion people on Earth, and a majority of those use the Internet for video content. Don’t miss out on reaching as many people as you can with such a simple process as translation and transcription.

Why Choose Human-Powered Translation?

Why Choose Human-Powered Translation? 1920 1280 Atomic Scribe

Today more and more services are being automated and outsourced. In an effort to be the fastest, language service companies are using “translators” with no qualifications who accept pennies to work, or they’re forgoing translators altogether and using machines to translate.

Neither of these approaches really work for high-quality translations. This is mostly because translation is not a solid structure – it’s vast, it’s an art, it has endless approaches to single words and phrases. To say that a language can be treated as a math equation is just not accurate. Just look at how complicated English is and how it can be interpreted in so many different ways.

Here’s the thing: you only need to pay for a translation once, and then it’s yours forever to do with as you please. So what’s the point of paying for a bad translation that you’ll be stuck with? Or worse, that could make you a laughingstock around the world?

How We Can Help

Atomic Scribe believes in a human-powered, personal approach to translation. We dedicate a project manager to figure out what you need, because that is different for everyone. A single sentence can be translated in countless ways depending on your industry, tone, humor, or other factors. A technical manual should not be translated the same way as a blog post, but it oftentimes is by machine or poor human translation. We want to make sure everything is tailored to you so that the translation is useful.

We promise that our translators are the best in the business. They’re qualified, have over 5 years of experience at the minimum in their language pairs, and they can translate your work in any way you choose. Let us show you why human-powered, personal translations are the best and only route to go to save you money in the long run.