Outsourcing Transcription Services: What, Why, and How

Outsourcing Transcription Services: What, Why, and How

I recently discussed CastSource and the benefits and challenges of outsourcing transcription services with Aderson Oliveira on his OuchSourcing podcast. Below, I’ve summarized and expanded on the main points from the interview.


The Origins of CastSource

I mainly started CastSource because, while many transcription services exist, no firm is specifically dedicated to the transcription of podcasts. After many futile attempts to find an accurate and reliable transcriber for my own podcasts, I was confronted with the lack of tailored solutions to this particular problem. I’m a software engineer by trade, so I have a knack for making complicated processes easier. This led me to create my own business to provide the highest quality transcriptions in the various formats that suit different types of podcasters. For example, some prefer subtitled videos while others want a separate transcript. Whatever they need, we create it, and the first transcription is always free to ensure that the customer is satisfied with the quality.

To immerse myself in the podcasting world and learn about both my potential customers and the tools they use, I began my own CastSource podcast. I interview them, always asking about transcripts, and this gives me many opportunities to tailor my service to make it more valuable to those who use it.

Outsourcing and its Purpose

My business exists because of the need for outsourcing, and in turn, I utilize outsourcing myself. My first outsource was a virtual assistant to help me find guests for my interviews, and I’ve outsourced design and audio editing work as well.

No matter what your endgame is, outsourcing is important for both holding yourself accountable and exposing yourself to new ideas and methods of achieving goals. Hiring a separate person helps you move faster and stay on track, and it allows you to have more creative time to complete your own work.

Without a doubt, I’d say that the most important qualities in a transcriber are accuracy and quality. Over the years, I’ve learned that even the best workers still make mistakes, so I always have a second person review all the transcriptions for errors.


Advantages of Transcribing Podcasts

In essence, transcribing your podcasts makes it much easier for your listeners to find, listen to, understand, and promote you.

Transcriptions help viewers find you by boosting your SEO (Search Engine Optimization) ranking. In other words, it can help your page rise to the top of relevant search results. This is because search engines can index longtail keyword-filled text far better than audio recordings. There’s actually a case study to prove the efficacy of this tactic: in 2014, This American Life published transcripts of their entire podcast archive, and they found that inbound traffic via search engines increased by nearly 7% and that the same percentage of visitors viewed at least one transcript on their website.

Additionally, transcriptions make your content accessible to a wider audience. Many people can benefit from the option to read rather than listen, including those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, those who speak English as a second language, those who have difficulty listening to podcasts in noisy or sound-sensitive environments, and those with attention-deficit disorder who have difficulty focusing on audio stimulus. Some visitors, for whatever reason, just have a simple preference text over audio. Either way, transcriptions of your podcasts can attract a wide variety of people who wouldn’t otherwise consume your content in its current form, and your current readers will appreciate the extra option.

If your podcast contains a lot of technical jargon that beginners may find confusing, a transcribed copy of the episodes can also help listeners follow along and understand. It also gives you the opportunity to include links to outside sources that can provide context for claims and statements, explanations for complicated concepts, and easy access to videos and websites that are referenced in the podcast.


In a study by MIT OpenCourseWare, 97% of students said that their learning experiences were enhanced by interactive transcripts. If your aim is to help your audience comprehend a subject or learn something new, transcripts can help you achieve that goal.

Lastly, in terms of text-based platforms like blogs and Twitter, transcriptions make the content in your podcast much easier to cite, quote, and share. If a listener hears a funny quip and wants to post it to social media, or if a professional wants to reference your words in an article or slide deck, an easily accessible transcription allows him or her to effortlessly copy and paste the text in question.

Beyond the Transcription

Transcriptions alone play an important role in attracting and retaining listeners, but you can do more than just dumping the text online and calling it a day. In general, transcribing your podcasts also makes it easier for you to repurpose your own content in articles, e-books, emails to subscribers, social media statuses, and blog posts—you’re reading a blog post based off of an episode of a podcast right now!

It’s especially simple and resourceful to divide your podcasts up for an email series. For example, if you have an introduction with a story, a guest interview, and a concluding segment wrapping up the episode, that could provide valuable content for three emails to your subscribers.

What Tools Do I Use?

In my experience, Google Drive, Trello, and Zapier are the most effective tools for managing my transcription business. Google Drive is great for managing and keeping track of your audio files and transcriptions, as well as easily accessing while working to repurpose the content as I mentioned in the last section.

I use Zapier to connect Google Drive to Trello for project management purposes. Zapier checks in with Google Drive about every 15 minutes or so to see if a new file has been uploaded, and when it detects one, it sends it over to Trello, a task management tool, to notify my team of transcribers. Essentially, Zapier acts as the glue between my main apps and tools.

There are a multitude of relevant apps and tools out there to help with the transcription management and content creation processes, so don’t limit yourself to the ones that work for me.

Watch the full interview and access the transcript, or email me at evaldas@castsource.net for more information!

This is Part 1 of the post from the interview. Checkout out Part 2 for outsourcing business details.

About Evaldas Miliauskas

Evaldas Miliauskas is the founder of CastSource - a startup that provides transcriptions designed for podcasts. He is a passionate podcaster listener, host, and a entrepreneur.

Entries by Evaldas Miliauskas