Audio Typing – DIY or VA?

Audio typing (also know as transcription) is the art of taking an audio recording and turning it into text. Seems simple, yes? You just listen to the audio, type what you’re hearing and it’s all done, quick and easy. And while technically that is true, the reality is much different. At Your Admin Hub a lot of our work is audio typing, and it mostly comes from people who tried to do it themselves, and then realised it’s not as simple as it sounds. Nor, unfortunately, is it as quick! Don’t believe us? Here’s why it takes longer than 30 minutes to transcribe 30 minutes of audio, and why you really don’t want to do it yourself.

DIY Audio Typing

Audio typing isn’t really a one size fits all thing. Everyone does it at different speeds, and there are a lot of different factors that determine how long it takes you to transcribe, say, an hour’s worth of audio.

As a rule of thumb, data suggests that it takes the average person around 6 hours to transcribe 1 hour of clear, slow audio. This might seem like a really high number, but when you consider that you will need to stop the recording after every few sentences to type it, and then restart it again, it all adds up. A few things that can impact how long this takes you include:

  • Experience
  • Your typing speed
  • The quality of the audio file
  • Background noise
  • Heavy regional accents
  • How many speakers are in the conversation
  • Any research required (like place names or industry-specific terminology)
  • How coherent the speakers are
  • Editing time to check for mistakes

The more of those that apply to your audio file (or you), the longer it will take to type it up. For example, if your recording isn’t great quality, you might have to rewind and re-listen a few times to be sure of what was said – which can add significant time. And when you’re handling things like disciplinary meetings with multiple speakers, interviews or even just voice notes from a very quick speaker, all of that time can add up very quickly.

Why A VA Is The Better Choice

On the other hand, you could ask a VA to do it for you. A VA is much more equipped to handle audio typing jobs, and can generally get through that same 1 hour of audio in around 4 hours – saving you a lot of time! But why is a VA so much faster than you and your speedy fingers?

Equipment: Yes, you can do audio typing just fine with nothing but a keyboard and mouse. But that’s not really the most effective way to do it. Constantly having to click back and forth takes up a lot more time than you would think, and those simple mouse motions alone can add 15-20 minutes to your transcribing time. A VA who offers audio typing will have invested in specialist equipment that allows them to work quickly – including a wide range of software, headsets and foot pedals (allowing them to stop and start the audio without moving their hands). All of which lets them transcribe twice as fast, if not faster than someone just using a mouse and keyboard.

Expertise: Anyone whose full-time job includes transcription is likely to be much better at it than you are. That might sound harsh, but it’s also a fact. Practice makes perfect, and a VA who has been typing up audio for years is naturally going to be quicker and better at it than you. They’ll also have done a lot of training over the years in everything from how to use new transcription software to abbreviations and touch typing, all to improve their typing speed. This means they can work at a faster pace and be more accurate at the same time.

Dedicated Time: Of course, as a business owner you have more to do than just transcription. You have a dozen other tasks on your to-do list, not to mention the phone ringing, someone popping into your office for a chat, or emails pinging and dragging your attention away. So that 6 hours starts getting longer and longer – and can sometimes turn into days. But when you pay a VA to do it for you, that’s all they focus on. You have our full attention and we can get your audio typed up as fast as possible, with no distractions.

At Your Admin Hub some of our bread-and-butter work is audio typing. We can take any audio or video file you’ve created and provide you with an accurate text version, with fast turnaround times for those last-minute projects. So you will know exactly who said what, and at what time in the conversation. We’re on hand to take transcription work off your plate and give you the freedom to work on other things – knowing it’ll be finished and in your inbox before you know it.

If you’d like to know more about our audio typing services, just get in touch with the team today.