more than transcripts... works of art.

Frequently Asked Questions

presented in interview format

Is Transcribblers right for me?

If your small business, studio, or research project is in need of transcriptions from any manner of interview or focus group, then Transcribblers is perfect for you. We’re also capable of taking on larger projects, and high-quality expedited work as well.

 

What exactly is it that you do?

Text transcription of audio and video files.

 

“Files”? No tapes or anything?

We do have access to analog equipment for special circumstances, but in this day and age, high-quality digital recordings are so easy to produce on an everyday smartphone, we recommend leaving the tapes to history. While common computer audio formats (.mp3, .wav, .mov, etc.) are preferred, I can handle just about any other file type or digital media across the board.

 

“I”? Wait, is this just one guy…?

Well, one guy who happens to be a trained Dvorak typist with over ten thousand hours of recordings and 40+ million words under his belt. If it helps, he’s a produced playwright, holds a degree in Drama, and insists on rendering a script with meaning and precision.

In the past he’s been trained through the CITI in the protection of human research subjects, and was a Notary Public in New York state — so confidentiality may be assured. But yes, the work is largely done by one freelance transcriber (and artist), David Jenkins.

 

Okay… What’s the formatting of the transcripts?

We can adhere to any provided format or standard, or follow a question protocol. Besides that, our aim is clarity and we default to a fairly minimal screenplay-styled design.

 

How is this is any better than a larger transcription firm?

For the level of quality and consistency (99.9%+), it’s almost definitely cheaper, and we’re right here to work with you if there are any questions. You can rest assured that your recordings are treated with the highest level of data security and confidentiality, with careful consideration to your transcript needs.

At the end of the day, if you’re looking for precision craftsmanship and artisanal quality, where each document is treated like a work of art, all on a reasonable budget, Transcribblers is the best option available.

It’s also just a great vendor option if you’re interested in supporting experimental artists and local businesses!

 

What’s the turnaround like?

All jobs are completed ASAP, and barring particularly high volume and rush jobs, a maximum of one week turn-around is to be expected.

 

Nice. Sounds good. How do I go about doing this?

Well for now, just send us an email to get the ball rolling!

 

I have a couple more questions–that all right?

Sure, I guess.

 

There are large services with discount rates even better than yours. How do they do that?

They crowd-source it. Farm it out. Put it through a couple of ringers of cheap net-based labor, dicing up your recordings and tossing pennies at people to transcribe and edit it. I can’t imagine that the patchwork crazy-quilt of a text you end up with reads as anything more than the robot output that it is.

If you want a transcript, you want it to live and breathe the way those who spoke it lived and breathed. Not to get touchy-feely about it, but I have been saddened to see a lively conversation or stirring speech rendered inert by a truly empty transcription.

 

Wait, what? A transcript is a transcript. It’s just the words that people say.

Think of speech as data. Imagine the data loss of saving full human speech into text. You lose the visual element immediately. No body language, no gestural cues – which by all accounts is a huge portion of the information. You’re left with the task of salvaging meaning and information from what they say and how they say it.

To consider transcripts “just the words” is to be satisfied with less than half of the already vastly reduced content. Not merely proper, but expressive and intuitive punctuation is something that clarifies meaning, adds dynamism and life to a document while enhancing readability, and is something that technological solutions and other services simply can’t guarantee.

 

So you mean you tack an exclamation point on everything emphatic and call it a day?

Of course not. Punctuation is the spice of a document, while the content is clearly the protein. Exclamation points are best used rather sparingly, if at all. I will say, though, that in all of my experience I’ve never had the opportunity (or the guts) to use an interrobang, but seriously, wouldn’t that be awesome‽

 

So what are the “Artistic Initiatives” all about?

Those are detailed in depth on their own pages, but the long and short of it is that after a decade of supporting my increasingly conceptual art practice, the business entity of Transcribblers itself has become subsumed by various projects. The conversion process is ongoing, as I re-catalog every document produced by the business into a chronological database, and certify the commissions.

The performance of labor itself has become a performance in Transcribblers: The Game! – a livestream of my transcription that appears regularly on Twitch.tv as I complete work. These “gamified” and “publicly managed” aspects of Transcribblers are at once accountability and productivity measures, and sobering satires of the neoliberal gig economy.

(Note: NO client recordings are ever seen or heard on stream; your confidentiality remains a top priority.)

The final project, The Transcribbler, is currently in the research phase, as I seek research partners and development support to make the concept a reality. Envisioned as a free-to-use, open-source AI transcriber and translator trained by worker-owners of the Transcribblers co-op, I would like the final initiative of the business to be participating in its obsolescence by building a truly free alternative to commodified or data-mined transcription offered by Big Data and Silicon Valley, forever producing art objects from thought and speech, instead of commodities.