Minnie: Hi, everyone. This is Minnie with yet another exciting episode of our podcast, uSpeak. I hope everyone is enjoying the summer by traveling and spending time with their loved ones. It feels so good to be ourselves again after this long pandemic. I’m very excited to introduce my guest to all my listeners today. I know most of you would find this interview quite relevant and informative as I will be talking to the CEO of Copytalk. One of the largest transcription companies in the US.
Without much ado, let me welcome Maree Moscati. Hi, Maree, how are you? A very warm welcome to you.
Maree: Thank you so much. It's a pleasure to be here, and I’m doing fine. And I so appreciate you having me here today.
Minnie: Thank you, and you are most welcome. So, let’s start our conversation. So, tell me, when and how did you start Copytalk? Tell us about the journey, and what did you do before you started Copytalk?
Maree: Okay, first, I am not the founder of Copytalk. I am the CEO.
Maree: Copytalk was started back in 2001 as a transcription service originally geared to medical transcription but organically grew into the financial services industry. And by that, I mean, I come from 30 years of the financial services industry, and by regulatory mandates, financial advisors must document all of their client meetings and conversations. It’s a regulatory issue.
So, organically, advisors started to use our service, and we eventually moved over, away from medical transcription, and pretty much the majority of what we do is financial services.
So, because of my background – and I started here as their CEO just over 10 years now, and as I mentioned earlier, from 30 years of being in the financial services industry. I was an advisor. And then, I lead a team of close to 200 advisors throughout the state of Florida and Northern California.
So, it was much ado. But coming over to Copytalk was a natural move for me because we still get to work with advisors in the financial services world doing their transcripts and the like.
Minnie: Okay. So, when you joined Copytalk, was this still a medical transcription company?
Maree: Yes. They started Copytalk, the founders – it’s privately held. The founders started Copytalk as a medical transcription company, but they started to get a lot of advisors using the service. Back in 2001, there wasn’t too many services, I don’t think. I mean, voice recognition was around, but it really wasn’t widely adopted. So, organically, advisors found Copytalk. And then, the more we worked within the advisory industry, the more accounts that Copytalk garnered.
Minnie: Okay. So, we’re talking about the services. So, do you still offer medical, or it’s only financial now?
Maree: We do not really do medical transcription.
Maree: We do have some home healthcare companies that use us. We work in the legal environment, too. It's not only financial services, but one of the reasons why financial services is a huge market for us is because of our security and privacy protocols. And the way we do our business makes us quite unique in the space, in the transcription space.
Similar to medical transcription because they have PHI and PII. We do the same thing in the financial services arena. So, anybody that is really very sensitive about their content, even sales organizations, generic sales organizations, use our service. I mean, we even have some auditors that use our service. That’s our main service of what we offer.
We do have another line of business called DigiScribe where we work for some closed captioning houses, and we do media transcription. So, we might do transcriptions of podcasts. We might do transcriptions of television shows or NFL clips, which is a unique subset of what we do.
So, we could do speaker ID and timestamping throughout presentations. And in today’s world, the pandemic, especially where a lot of people were doing presentations online, we offered through one of our closed captioning houses – we only do English transcription – but we can offer transcription in other languages. We can also do on-demand captioning, closed captioning, offline captioning.
So, we’ve expanded our reach over the last few years to be able to offer all of these other services, in addition to our mainstay, which is our MobileScribe service.
Minnie: Okay. So, when did you start this DigiScribe? When was this? How many years back?
Maree: When I got here, it was here. However, it wasn’t widely used. We’ve needed to update some of our technology and the platform that we were doing it on.
So, I would say DigiScribe had a rebirth probably about six years ago is when we really rebuilt some of the technology, expanded the capabilities, learned how to do timestamping and speaker ID. And we’d take our transcriptionists – our best of the best transcriptionists and because the training is a little bit different than in our traditional MobileScribe transcription – and train them where they can be hybrid. And they can do both MobileScribe business and DigiScribe business. And those are typically our best of the best transcriptionists.
Minnie: Okay, so when hiring a transcriptionist, like both kinds, what do you look for? And tell me the process.
Maree: Well, the process is pretty simple. It's mostly online. We look for a certain skillsets. Mainly, their typing speed, their accuracy. And because of the nature of our business and the privacy, we do background checks, both an educational and work related as well as criminal background checks.
So, we have a pretty long process. The training is all in-house. Because one of the things that makes us unique is that we only use live transcriptionists. Before the pandemic, all of our transcriptionists worked in our facilities. So, we have secure and controlled monitored facilities, and we have managers that do oversight in these facilities.
So, since the pandemic, we have to do a subset of our transcriptionists that can work remote. So, the training has to be in-house training until some of their metrics become conducive to what we look for before they can become a remote transcriptionist, but everybody does work on the security site. Everybody does work off of our – after they go through all our background testing, we train them for at least six weeks. But again, the main thing that we look for is speed and accuracy of their typing.
There’s a couple of other things that we look for. If they’re not exactly at the speed that we look for, if their accuracy is really good, then we give them an opportunity to build up, depending on the number of hours that they work.
Minnie: Okay. So, you mentioned that you train them here. Now you are doing it remotely, also. So, would you hire someone, say, somebody in the UK?
Maree: No. All our transcriptionists are US-based only. Part of our security protocol, yes.
Minnie: Okay, all right. That sounds good. So, also, I wanted to tell you, or you may know, we offer an online program in general transcription, and our graduates are an excellent fit to work in any transcription company. And we do have a job board, also. Where you can post your job requirements anytime you want as we have over 6,000 potential transcriptionist resumes on our job board. I want to thank you for being a valuable partner of ours.
Maree: Yes, thanks. We want many successful transcriptionists from your organization. So, thank you.
Minnie: Wonderful, thank you. I realize you also offer a partner’s program. Would you like to tell us about its advantages and how anyone can become your partner?
Marie: Okay. Our partner program is based for organizations that they look to partner with us. So, like I mentioned earlier for the DigiScribe, we work with some closed captioning houses. That’s usually our larger contracts. We do some corporations that have the need to transcribe by the educational training materials or their webinars that they present.
In fact, we did a webinar jointly with one of our closed captioning houses because they needed it done in foreign languages. It was 48 hours. It happened to be an educational firm that does anti-money laundering, which doesn’t sound very sexy, but it’s very interesting when they go 48 hours around the globe presenting their platform, their webinars. And we were able to do the English transcription, and our partner company was able to do real-time, on-demand captioning in foreign languages as they were making the presentation in English. It was super, super cool to watch.
Maree: So, becoming a partner is just basically reaching out to me. It’s usually a firm, an enterprise, that has an ongoing need for our services, whether it’s capturing, in the financial world, advisor’s documentation on a regular basis. Or it’s a Fintech company that does a lot of podcasts or webinars or presentations or educational agendas that need transcription, that need a transcript. So, they partner with us, and what we do is we collaborate on doing joint webinars. So, we’re promoting both our services, as well as theirs, depending on what the partnership is all about.
If it’s a Fintech company, sometimes a back-office platform in the financial world. It could be a fiduciary company that manages all the money movements and houses people’s actual portfolios within their platform. And they wanna use our services to document whatever client meetings they may have or notes to those specific clients.
So, we’re like an octopus, Minnie. It’s like we’re the nucleus of anything that needs to be transcribed. So, we have the antennas out in different arenas for people to become our partner. So, basically, they reach out to me. We have several conversations. We form a partnership agreement. And then, we go from there. So, it’s a pretty simple process, but it can be quite unique, depending on the person that would like to partner with us.
Minnie: All right. Okay. All right. So, coming back to the topic of transcription, what kind of security measures do you take for your client’s data?
Maree: Yeah. Well, we take our security and data privacy very seriously. So, some of the things that we do is our transcriptionists, everything is done through our program, our platform. So, our transcriptionists do not know who’s done the dictation, what firm that they’re from. Everything is done automatically through a code or a PIN number, if you will.
So, and they’re sitting at our stations, if they’re in our offices, in our facilities, which are located in Florida and in Georgia. Or if they’re remote, they must work off of our equipment. So, everything is locked down on our secure computers and platforms that we use. That’s the first protocol.
The second protocol is that we only keep our dictations for 60 days. So, if some firm has sensitive information that they’re dictating to us, it only stays on our servers. And by the way, we don’t use the cloud. Everything is on our service, which is double, triple encrypted. So, everything is stored there for only 60 days.
So, somebody using our service can listen to their transcription for that 60-day period. After that 60 days, it goes through a 21-day backup gestation period, and then it’s wiped off of our service. We no longer have access, or we do have access to because we work in a lot of regulated industries, like legal and financial. We would say that Joe Advisor, on this day at this time, or at these times, made these dictations. But we don’t know what those transcripts said because all the firms pretty much that we work with are responsible for archiving their own documentations.
So, that eliminates a lot of risk of information, private information, as I mentioned earlier, PII, PHI, any private information that firms don’t want out to the general public. It eliminates that risk of, heaven forbid, us ever get breached, or one of our computers got hacked into or something. Which, by the way, knock on wood, has never happened in our organization. So, we’re pretty proud of the steps that we take to keep our information very secure, and that’s one of the big things that we do.
Some firms mandate that we have single sign-ons. So, they can only access their Copytalk accounts through their company’s platform, or they can block out dynamic numbers. It could be Social Security numbers. So, we have a way in our system to say, this company doesn’t want any account numbers, if they’re dynamic in nature, or Social Security numbers. Even though somebody may be dictating that, we will not transcribe them. They will be blocked off of those transcriptions. So, that further ensures some data privacy.
Minnie: Okay. So, are you saying that after 60 days, you start to delete them, or it goes to some 20 days? What did you say?
Maree: It goes through a 21-day –
Minnie: Twenty-one days.
Maree: Yeah. It’s a 21-day gestation period. So, that’s the backup or the purge process.
Minnie: Okay, is that automated fully, or you do it manually?
Maree: It’s automatic.
Minnie: Oh, okay.
Maree: Yeah, it’s automatic.
Minnie: Okay. Got it. Perfect.
Maree: Yeah, it’s automatic because everything that we have on our server that has been transcribed, once it passed that 60-day period, winds up getting purged.
Minnie: Okay, sounds good. And how do you ensure the accuracy of your transcripts?
Maree: Yeah. That’s always a great question. We have a phenomenal QA team, a quality assurance team. We also have a phenomenal QA QA team. So, we go through a process. Anybody new onboard, their work, before it goes out, is 100% QA. They must meet certain thresholds before they actually take on live transcriptions. So, we make sure that the person that we’re training is fully competent to take some live transcriptions before we give them some live jobs, if you will. That’s the first part.
So, that’s 100% QA. As we see that their accuracy is on point, we’re not looking for perfection, but we really strive to be at 98-99% accuracy. And we accomplish that overall. We kind of turned back the QA process for that particular transcript. We also have a process where our clients can rate their transcripts, and if our rating is anything, it’s excellent, good, fair, poor, or unacceptable. Anything, and it goes from 1 to 5. Five being, exceptional or excellent. So, anything that is 3 or below, that’s fair or below, is automatically tabbed. And we go back to not only the transcriptionist, but either their supervisor or their operations manager, one of the management team, to review the transcription with the transcriber.
So, it’s either educational on the transcriber part – sometimes, and it does happen. Sometimes when we do an audit – we first create an audit before we go back to the transcriptionist to evaluate what went wrong. Sometimes it’s on the part of our clients. Sometimes our clients will mumble. They go, rara, rara, ra. And so, you can’t understand what they’re saying.
Sometimes they’re running through an airport, or they may be driving in a car with the window down. And the noise from the winds coming into the car muddles their dictation. So, then, sometimes we have to go back to the client and re-educate them on how to make a good dictation. And that happens as well. So, we work it from both ends when they’re evaluating the transcripts.
I’ve personally spoken to some of our clients and saying, “You’re mumbling through this. If you’re making 30 transcriptions in one day or in one seating, then you’re gonna sound like this. And because you’re going so fast, we can’t understand what you’re saying. So, let’s kind of figure out a better way for you to do your process.” And that typically works. If we have repeat offenders, or if a transcriptionist is constantly getting dinged, either by the QA team or by our clients, then we have to make a decision that either they’re gonna do extensive more training or maybe the role is not the right role for them.
So, we do go through several different processes to make that happen, but we always try to raise up our transcriptionists to be the best of the best for our clients. We want to deliver the best quality, the most accurate within the timeframes that we commit to on our service level deliveries.
Minnie: Well, good. Kudos to all your effort, for doing that.
Maree: Actually, it’s quite the process.
Minnie: Yeah, I’m sure. It seems like that.
Maree: But also, the way we compensate our transcriptionists really goes in tune with what our expectations are. So, our transcriptionists can earn a very good living based on their speed and their accuracy on a continued basis because we subset our transcriptionists to a VIP transcriptionist or a pro-scribe sort of like the best of the best. Because sometimes our firms that are very, very conservative require that we work with the most tenured.
We pay a little bit more to our tenured transcriptionists. We have a process for career advancement if they would like. So, we really go above and beyond most firms because they’re employees. They’re not independent contractors. They are our employees. And we want to establish a fun place to work, a fair place to work, certainly a diverse place to work. But we also have to deliver for our clients the best of the best. That’s what we expect.
Minnie: So, do all of your transcriptionists, are they all in-house, or anyone of them are independent contractor?
Maree: We do not employ independent contractors. Everybody is employed by us.
Minnie: Oh, okay.
Maree: So, there’s some transcriptionists that are independents and work for different firms. Because of our security protocol and the business that we bring in and the amount of business that we bring in, we don’t allow our transcriptionists to work anyplace else. Not to work anyplace else, but not to do transcription for any other firms.
Minnie: Okay. Perfect. So, according to you, is transcription a good work-from-home job?
Maree: I think it is. Pre-pandemic, we never had remote transcriptionists. Through the pandemic, we were forced to do that. I think a hybrid model is probably the model that’s here to stay. We can offer the best of both worlds to our clients. Some insist that we only use in-house transcriptionists. Some don’t care if they work from home because of our security protocols. They’re not working on their on their own equipment. We supply all the equipment. We supply all the security platforms that are on our computers. Everything. The headsets, the foot pedals, anything, and everything that a transcriptionist needs comes from us. They don’t have to purchase anything because they are our employees and because they have to work on our systems.
But I do think, in some instances, it can be nice to – everybody likes to work from home to a certain degree. But because our transcriptionists can go into our portals, and they can basically book their own hours. They can work an hour on one day here, four hours this day. We just ask that they work a minimum of 16 hours per week. And the science behind that is really to get a new transcriptionist to becoming a more proficient transcriptionist in our environment.
And our work from home is pretty strict. I mean, we have pretty strict protocols that it’s gotta be a quiet place with no interruptions, no other family members or friends or roommates around you while you’re onsite. There are times where we can go in – I know it's a little creepy. But in our facilities, it’s like a big facility. And we have our supervisors, our operation supervisors, and our manager that are spread throughout the office. So, they can answer questions. They can be there to look at something if somebody has a question about something.
It's a lot easier when you’re in the office for those that need ongoing training. For those that are more tenured and they wanna work remote and they pass the test, when they work from home, if they have a camera on their equipment – at any time, we can take a look in and make sure that they’re meeting our security protocols about clean space, no personal devices around them where they can’t capture any information, whatever information they may have, and there’s nobody else in the room to kinda shoulder surf over the dictation that they’re transcribing. So, it is pretty locked down, if you will. But I think there’s a case for both, an in-house and a remote transcriptionist, absolutely, especially in today’s world.
Minnie: Great. Well, I wish I was not this time constraint, but this wraps up my conversation with Maree today. I appreciate your coming and talking to me on our show. I wanted to add here that you were an ideal guest for our audience, as most of them work in the linguistic field. Before I let you go, please tell my audience where and how they can find you.
Maree: Sure. If anybody wants to reach out to us, they can go to our website, which is www.copytalk.com. Or they can give our customer service team a call at (866) 267-9825, and if they just go Option 2, that’ll bring you to customer service. Once you reach out to us, we do have another website if anybody wants to take our typing test or apply. We look for transcriptionists mainly in Florida and Georgia at this point ‘cause that’s where our facilities are based.
Maree: We’re open.
Minnie: Good. I’m sure my audience are listening, and they will do just that. So, thank you, Maree, and I wish you continued success with your future endeavors. All the best to you and Copytalk. Bye, and let’s keep in touch.
Maree: Thank you so, so much for listening, and I hope this was very helpful. Appreciate the –
Minnie: It was.
Maree: Appreciated it.
Minnie: It was. Thank you. Yeah. Thank you. All right, everyone, I look forward to our next episode of uSpeak. Take care and share this with anyone who may find it interesting. Please check out our website at www.transcriptioncertficationinstitute.com, and don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter. Bye, and have a great day.
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