Posted by: tamara bentzur | September 2, 2009

The Proof is in the Pudding: Foreign Transcription Services Don’t Always “Get It”


I debated whether or not to post this in the blog; it seems like such a setup to make my point. Here it is; it’s just too funny. I’m telling you folks, I’m not making this up.

My blog entry dated June 9th, 2009, dealt with the concept of using foreign transcription services and that while they may be a bargain upfront financially, you need to think it through. I commented that they may know English but it’s not their mother tongue and sometimes they just don’t “get it”the gist or the nuance. Conclusion: how can you trust that your words will appear the way you intended when using a foreign bargain service?

Late one night, a few days after that post, I received a comment on my blog from just such a foreign transcription company. I was sure it was going to be a rebuttal, explaining that they do get it, and understand what it is they are typing. This was not the case at all; in fact, apparently the website moderator for this company doesn’t understand what he reads either, since he requested permission to post my article on their website.

So I tactfully wrote him back and informed him that I do not think it would be wise for them to publish my observations and my warnings to potential buyers out there, that foreign transcriptions services are not necessarily the bargains they seem to be.

It’s ironic at best. Yes, these bargain services can read and type English, they may understand 85-90% of what they type, but they don’t get the implications. It can happen to you, too. Your words can be put to paper in such a way as to cause you much time re-editing and if the erroneous phrase is missed by your final edit, it can cause you to distribute misleading information.

Remember the old automobile oil commercial that had the tag line “You can pay me now, or pay me later”? The point was; it’s better to pay a little more for good oil now, than to pay for more expensive repairs later. The same principle applies here. Your time is valuable; pay a little more for a native English speaker to transform your spoken words and ideas into print, the way you intended them to sound, and save yourself the headache of fixing the problems later.

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