For as long as law enforcement agencies have been around, they have been working with recorded audio and video evidence.
There has always been a certain need for legal transcription services, despite many advancements in the latest technologies. Those audio and video evidence pieces are a crucial part of an investigation and will always need to be transcribed for reasons of documentation and clarity.
The responsibility for legal transcription services has usually been put on the secretaries of professionals that need the work done, such as law enforcement agencies, attorneys, courts, security companies, and others. Unfortunately, over time the case loads have fluctuated, while there has been no real increase in qualified individuals to manage the overabundance of transcription services needed. Budget cuts have cost many law enforcement agencies the ability to hire the proper staff for transcription, creating a nightmare for many divisions.
The thought of outsourcing their legal transcription services needs is one that is discussed among many agencies, but many have reservations when utilizing outsourced services, due to the delicate nature of evidence contained in audio and video pieces. Some agencies are wary about sending out master copies of audio or video evidence to be handled by a transcription company considering the high risk of loss if that content is corrupted. The more hands an item passes through, the better the chance that the material will be damaged or leaked to the news outlets. These security concerns encourage some agencies to do the transcription and translation work on their own. The real problem with that is, that in-house transcription uses a tremendous amount of manpower and time to complete.
As technology advances however, new and safer methods make it easy to get the needed content to a legal transcription service without fear of corruption. At times, audio and video content can be uploaded to a providers secured server. This upload makes it easy to monitor the chain of custody of the content as it passes point A to point B. The new age of digital transcription has given law enforcement and others a way of maintaining the security of official data, as it is being passed off to trained transcriptionists, and that promotes a rapid turn around on pressing cases that should be closed quickly.
For many legal transcription services, it is common that they charge by the line or page. Unfortunately it’s often difficult to conclude how many pages you will end up with once the interview is transcribed. There is often an option offered to law enforcement agencies for transcription services to be charged by the minute. Charging by the minute means that when an agency needs transcription for a 45 minute interview in audio or video format, they are charged for 45 minutes, not 45 pages. Outsourcing has proven to be one of the primary ways that many agencies are finding budget relief. With outsourcing to a skilled service, law enforcement agencies gain a number of benefits beyond cost control.
The outsourcing of legal transcription services means that agencies can put their personnel where they belong , without the need to hire additional staff or make current staff burn the candle at both ends.