Important Considerations when
Selecting a Transcription Vendor

First and foremost – Security, Confidentiality and Chain of Custody

Net Transcripts understands security, confidentiality and chain-of-custody. We utilize the latest technical, operational and personnel security processes available. Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice agencies that use our service know it is the most secure method for the handling and transcription of their sensitive material, especially for on-going criminal and internal investigations.

Does the vendor’s personnel undergo any kind of criminal background check or vetting?

All employees and contractors should be subject to an in-depth, national criminal background check, including fingerprint retention and residence verification, and be bound by a comprehensive Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreement.

A word of caution: An online search for Transcription services will yield a plethora of vendors. With few exceptions most all such vendors deal with legal, insurance, academic or other more generalized transcription that does not require any form of security or confidentiality. Such vendors offer seemingly attractive rates which is possible because they are a mass producer of transcripts which are processed by a continually revolving pool of employees and contracted individuals who have not been vetted or approved through any criminal background check process. And, in most cases such employees and contractors are not bound by an appropriate Confidentiality/Non-Disclosure Agreement.

How are files transferred and are those transfers encrypted?

Many vendors fail to utilize an appropriate encrypted transfer process for the submission of your sensitive audio files, or for the return of your completed transcripts. Such vendors will use common email which is subject to your completed transcript being mistakenly sent to the wrong recipient, interception, or skimming attacks. Such email may also be subject to being obtained via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), possibly jeopardizing the integrity of the case. There may also be file size limits for email attachments, which can be problematic when sending audio/video recordings.

Net Transcripts’ proprietary “Transcript Management Center” provides an encrypted platform through which files can be securely transferred between us and our customers. It tracks the chain-of-custody of every transcript requested and encrypts all data communications. It also allows customers to assign administrative permissions to restrict file access to authorized individuals only, and track transcript status as it is being processed.

Where are the transcripts being processed - In the U.S. or offshore?

We strongly recommend that sensitive transcription for all types of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice purposes be processed by U.S. citizens, in the United States under U.S. jurisdiction. We believe this is critical in maintaining appropriate security, as well as providing a highly superior transcript.

A word of caution: It is common practice for transcription vendors to reference a U.S.-based office location, thereby implying that the transcription process is performed domestically, in the United States only, (or boldly state such), when the truth is that the process is actually performed offshore in a foreign country. This response can be misleading in that they never confirm use of U.S.-based personnel – instead only reference their U.S.-based office. Generally, but not always, a quick review of their website may confirm that these are U.S.-based companies using offshore resources - this is especially true if they also offer offshore business processing operations (BPO). A good indication is if the price offered is significantly lower than other vendors. We are also aware of vendors with U.S.-based operations that do process a predominate percentage of their transcripts domestically, but often resort to offshoring the remainder to foreign countries without their customer’s knowledge.

We strongly suggest that you require any chosen vendor to provide a sworn, notarized affidavit, attesting to the fact that they will not offshore any portion of the transcription process and that all employees and contractors involved in the Transcription process have been vetted via an appropriate criminal background check and bound by an appropriate Confidentiality Agreement.

  • Net Transcripts does not offshore any of its transcription or translation process. All work is performed in the U.S.
  • All of Net Transcript’s employees and contractors do undergo an extensive Criminal Background Check and engage in a comprehensive Confidentiality Agreement.

Do they specialize in providing transcription services to Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice agencies for investigative purposes?

Many vendors attempt to address the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice transcription market only as an afterthought to their core expertise of medical, academic, business, or other types of general transcription. Therefore, they are not necessarily experienced in the language and nuances necessary for competent Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice transcription. A quick look at most vendors’ websites will indicate what their core competency is. Net Transcripts specializes in confidential transcription for the Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice markets – it’s all that we do.

Do they specialize in transcribing multi-speaker recordings?

Many vendors can easily transcribe single-speaker, dictated recordings but struggle when attempting the much more difficult task of transcribing interviews, interrogations, phone conversations and other recordings involving multiple participants. These types of recordings are inherently more challenging to transcribe as they may include uncooperative or emotional people, individuals who are under the influence of drugs or alcohol, excessive background noise, crosstalk, muffled audio, unidentified speakers, gang and street slang and other nuances that are not encountered when transcribing a controlled, single-speaker recording.

Can they transcribe and/or translate any languages other than English?

An increasingly multi-cultural environment is creating a greater demand for transcription and translation of foreign languages. Many transcription vendors only provide English transcription services. As conversations with non-English speakers often mix English with their native language, it is advantageous to use a transcription provider that can not only transcribe spoken English, but also transcribe spoken foreign languages and translate them into English. This would include Spanish as well as other languages spoken with increasing frequency in the U.S., such as Chinese, Vietnamese, Arabic and many more.

As an additional advantage, Net Transcripts also offers a ‘Direct-to-English’ translation option which is more cost effective and can be completed in less time than a traditional ‘Double-Column’ transcription/translation.

Do they have a quality control process to ensure accuracy?

An accurate transcript is often a critical piece of evidence in a criminal investigation. It is common practice for a transcription company to act as a “pass-through” service and to not perform any additional review beyond the initial transcription.

Net Transcripts’ transcribers are not only required to maintain a high-level of proficiency, but every transcript is reviewed again by our Quality Control Department before the final copy is delivered to our customer. We guarantee 98.8% accuracy and take great lengths to ensure we are producing the most accurate transcript possible.

Quality versus Turnaround versus Cost

There is a plethora of service options you will encounter while shopping for transcription vendors. Net Transcripts offers convenient turnaround options to accommodate the priority of your case. We can return reports in as little as 3 hours, or in 5 days – you decide.

Some vendors promote the fact that they return all files within several hours. When companies take this approach, it can be inferred that their goal is to ‘churn’ as many files as possible, as quickly as possible. It has been our experience that this approach can negatively impact the quality of a transcript.

When typists and proofreaders are not rushed when working on a file, they can pay more attention to detail and produce a more accurate transcript. Additionally, fast turnaround comes with a price, and why pay a premium fee when a less expensive alternative is available that will ultimately produce a more reliable document.

Conversely, other vendors may provide enticingly low rates, but do not guarantee turnaround or accuracy. Oftentimes, they may not even have the capacity to reliably return critical files when they are needed within hours. Net Transcripts offers the best of both, by providing a range of turnaround options, at affordable rates, and with guaranteed accuracy.

Do I need to use a certified court reporter?

Most jurisdictions only require a certified court reporter or stenographer be present during live hearings, depositions or other mandated settings. The use of a court reporter is rarely required to transcribe recordings that are investigative or evidentiary in nature, and in these cases, can be an unnecessary expense. Net Transcripts can provide transcripts of equal quality, in less time and at a fraction of the cost compared to most court reporting services. Additionally, Net Transcripts can provide a Certificate of Accuracy along with any transcript we produce if a “certified” transcript is required. Further, the majority of our transcribers are, or have been, court reporters, or come from a Law Enforcement background.

Responsive Customer Service

While we offer a 98.8% accuracy guarantee, nothing is perfect. In such cases you can rely on our stellar Customer Service to do whatever it takes to make things right. We wouldn’t have grown to be the nation’s leading provider of Confidential Transcription and Translation services specifically for Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice without doing what it takes to satisfy our customers in a way that no other vendor can.