How we measure turnaround

Babbletype is located in Philadelphia and all times quoted are US Eastern Time. 

Babbletype’s production operations are designed for stability, reliability and low cost, not to support the fastest conceivable turnaround needs (which would dramatically impact cost and quality). 

Babbletype operates in production days. All work received before our 4:30PM cutoff is put into production once each day at about 5:00PM. If we receive your work after our 4:30PM cutoff, your work will be placed into production the following day. We measure turnaround time in days from the daily cutoff. So regardless of when we receive your recordings, your turnaround time “clock” will start at 4:30PM that day. For example, if you send us files for transcription at 10:00AM, then you can generally expect to receive them by 4:30PM two calendar days later.

Why do we do things this way? Control. With hundreds of transcripts passing through multiple hands at all times, the opportunities for chaos are legion. Files can get lost, assignments forgotten, steps inadvertently skipped. By maintaining a strict assembly line approach, we maintain absolute control and know exactly where all work is at all times. 

Our standard turnaround times

Babbletype’s turnaround time goal for all transcription work is two calendar days. For translation in the languages we support ongoing capacity for (see Translation), our turnaround time goal is three calendar days. For rarer languages we don’t maintain ongoing capacity for, turnaround time is quoted but generally five days, to give us time to recruit fresh capacity for those specific assignments.

Regarding structured documents, each additional production stage (master transcripts, content analysis, results analysis) adds one additional production day beyond the transcription and/or translation turnaround times noted above. See Structured Document Services Turnaround Details below for more information. 

Factors impacting turnaround time

In the majority of cases, the turnaround you’ll actually experience will be the ones quoted above. However, many factors can impact the turnaround of individual files. 

Recording quality

Recording quality is the major issue impacting turnaround time

Recording quality is the major issue impacting turnaround time

This is the big one. Babbletype never charges additional fees for challenging-to-hard audio recordings, but they inevitably take longer, and there is nothing any of us can do about it. Why? Because more work needs to be done on them. 

Challenging recordings may essentially need to be transcribed two or three times to extract everything possible at acceptable quality, and that takes longer. Moderately challenging recordings generally take one additional day, and extremely challenging recordings generally take two additional days.

Many factors can impact recording quality, including background noise, room acoustics, distance from the microphone, microphone interference, using speakerphones, mumbling respondents, and extremely heavy accents, among many others. If you listen to your recording and you need to work at following what people are saying, or if you had trouble understanding the speakers during the actual event, you can assume we’ll have the same trouble. 

Bear in mind that there's a difference between listening to a recording and remembering what was said because you were there. One is much harder than the other. 

Babbletype will communicate to you about audio quality issues and potential turnaround impact as soon as we know there’s a problem. Generally this is during initial file receipt, but not always. Some intermittent audio issues may be missed during initial review and not discovered until the file is actually in production. In those cases we’ll let you know as soon as we discover them.

Special preparation requirements

If the recordings you sent us require extensive preparatory work before they can be placed into production, then your work is likely to take an extra production day to complete. WebEx ARF recordings and cassette tape recordings are two common examples, since conversion of both of these is extremely time-consuming. Major file concatenation, splitting or similar editing also takes time. The probability of such delays (for work requiring heavy preparation) increases when files are received close to our production cutoff of 4:30PM Eastern Time.

Additional production steps

If you requested additional production work to be performed on your files, such as Extended Editing or an Additional Paid Production Step (see Options), add one additional day to your expected turnaround time. 

Recording length

Longer recordings have a greater probability of taking longer to deliver — and the longer a recording is, the greater that probability becomes. Why? Because to turn work quickly, Babbletype breaks it up into multiple smaller parts. A problem with any single part will cause a delay in completing the entire file. Very long recordings (e.g., in excess of two hours) often take one additional day to complete for this reason.

Our view of expedited delivery

Babbletype offers an expedited delivery service for clients who require it. Expedited service at Babbletype means that your recording is placed at the front of every line in production, and is performed by the best available people in each step to reduce the probability of delay-causing issues. It means that we will deliver your work as fast as possible, but it does not mean we will deliver it faster than possible. 

For the great majority of files, our expedited turnaround time is one business day. However, if problems are encountered with your recording, delivery may still take an additional day (while still being delivered faster than it would have been). 

We try to avoid issues with expedited recordings in a few ways. We review all recordings before agreeing to expedited delivery, and we limit the quantity of recordings we will accept on any given day. 

Structured document services turnaround details

PureResponse, PureAnswer and PureResult combined transcripts take more steps and longer to produce than individual transcripts.

Template preparation from the discussion guide requires one day in advance of transcription. If the guide is not received before the audio is received, one additional day will be needed before production to process the guide.

For projects with interview recordings that clearly follow the discussion guide, our average turnaround time for individual transcripts is two days for English and three days for standard language translations. Each level of further processing (master transcript assembly, content analysis edit, results analysis edit) requires one additional day. 

A number of issues can extend turnaround times:

Guide non-compliance

Transcriptionists and translators capture responses against your discussion guide. If the structure of the interview as defined by the guide is not clearly followed, then capture, consolidation and analysis may take much more time to complete. If this occurs, we will communicate the issue to you and the impact on turnaround time. The more severe the problem, the longer the process will take.

Analysis capacity and scheduling

Content analysis is highly skilled, specialized work and our capacity is limited. We schedule this capacity carefully, but changes from your initial schedule may conflict with other already-scheduled projects, causing additional delays. Keep us posted regarding any changes to your schedule.

Analysis throughput

We assign one content analysis editor per master transcript. Editors can process about five interviews per day in a PureAnswer content analysis. If many interviews destined for a single content analysis are received over a very short period, the analysis will take additional time to process. To avoid this issue, ensure we receive your recordings in daily batches as interviews are completed.

Keeping you informed

Babbletype tracks the status of every recording in every project. If any issue encountered is likely to cause a file to be later than our standard turnaround times, we'll inform you immediately. We'll continue to report status to you daily until your work is delivered. You'll never be in the dark.