One of the most prevalent situations today for the US-based professional is the inundation of services from other countries – such as India or the Philippines.   While I don’t want to appear to minimize the offerings of these providers, I do feel it’s important for my prospects and potential clients to know what they’re getting into before outsourcing.  I like to call this the four “L’s”.

Logistics

A2Z Transcription Services - Foreign OutsourcingObviously, these providers are in other counties. As such, there are time zones to consider, as well as the access to technology.  In the US, we take many things for granted, including having Internet and electricity at our disposal – 24/7/365.  That is not always the case in other countries.  For example, at certain times in the Philippines, there are black out periods where electricity is minimal and use of computers is not allowed.  This can create a mountain of problems.

Language

Unless you live in the US, you probably don’t know English.  Sure, some Europeans and selected other countries do have English as a second language.  However, India and the Philippines do not (even if they say they do).  American English is not “the King’s English”: it’s a form of slang that varies from area to area (for example, ya’ all in the south, and ya (instead of yes) in some northern states.  These terms and how they are spoken can be quite foreign to others.  

With that said, your words will make it to paper…but that’s where it ends.  The non-English transcriptions do not know how to automatically correct words/phrases; e.g., adding an ‘s’, including ‘ing’, etc.  As a result, you – as the buyer – will have to then have someone review (and, typically, rewrite) the transcribed document.   So, paying $0.08 cents a minute no longer becomes a bargain when you add on all the additional costs.

Leverage

How do you manage someone that you cannot see and/or speak to?  When all you have is a computer (using such programs as Instant Messenger and Email), your project can (and does) get lost in the shuffle.  You literally have no leverage to get the work done when you need it.  You end up spending more time than it’s worth, and (as mentioned in the previous paragraph) the low cost starts to go up.

Liability

What if the information you are having transcribed requires confidentially and/or is proprietary?   Do you really want to be sending it around the world?  Even if you have these foreign providers sign NDA’s, how do you enforce them?  Most countries don’t honor US-based legal contracts.   You need to have the confidence that your recordings are safe and that you can take action (if necessary) should the unthinkable (e.g., secrets released, ideas revealed) happen.