Recently, Opera sponsored Geek in The Park 2008 by picking up the tab for audio transcription of the talks. It’s one thing that often gets overlooked by conferences and it’s something that Opera takes very seriously. Equally, you can’t expect speakers and organisers of a grassroots event to pay for it when they’re giving their time for free.
The company I used is called Casting Words, and I want to recommend them to you. After cleaning up the audio, I uploaded it to their site and selected their six-day turnaround service at $1.50 per minute. Four days later the transcripts were returned, with very few errors, particularly when you consider the technical nature of the content. You get them returned as text, RTF and HTML, and the markup is not bad: it’s set out as
blockquotes with speakers’ names in
The only problem is that multiple paragraphs inside blockquotes are marked up with double
br elements rather than wrapped in
p elements, so I emailed their support to ask them if it would be possible to amend their publishing system accordingly. Rachel wrote back “Thanks for letting us know about this, we will make that change.”
Now that’s service.
And when a 45 minute conference talk only costs £30 to transcribe, it’s difficult to imagine why organisers of for-profit conferences wouldn’t provide a transcript of their events.
(The transcriptions are being checked by the speakers and will be published when they’re proofed.)