Dear Danielle: How Can My Clients and I Transfer Transcription Files?

Dear Danielle:

I am just starting out and one of my main specialties is transcription.  I have thus far been transcribing for two companies where I sign onto their secure server to obtain my digital recordings, load them onto my desktop, and then proceed to transcribe and then email the completed product back to them. Since I am setting out on my own, I am wondering what some options are for obtaining the digital recordings from other clients, if they do not have a server set up where they load their recordings.  Do you have any thoughts or suggestions? —LB

I think DropBox may work quite well for this. I tell ya, I have found DropBox to just be so completley indispensible in my work with clients. It’s easy to install and simple to understand, and I find new ways to use it all the time. And, not that I’m the advocate for everything being free (quite the opposite!), but it does just happen to be free so there’s that, too, lol.

What you could do is set up a shared folder for each client and then create an IN folder for incoming transcriptions and an OUT folder for completed transcriptions.

As I’m sure you’re aware, sound files can be quite large which makes them not well-suited for email delivery. Email is not exactly secure either if you are dealing with confidential information.

Plus, if you have frequent large attachments like that going in and out on a regular basis, your ISP might get testy. Sure, you could zip them up, but that’s an extra step at both ends. And anytime you can eliminate extra steps, it sure makes things a lot more convenient.

So here again, a secure cloud storage solution like DropBox where you can transfer and share large files such as this is a perfect solution.

For other transcription tools, be sure to also check out the ACA Free Software Directory. Of particular interest, you will find ExpressScribe which is another brilliant tool that is so indispensible, it’s a wonder they don’t charge for it. But they don’t, and it’s free.

This isn’t particularly transcription related, but another tool I use extensively in my work with clients is Airset, which also happens to be free.

This service is what is known as a shared collaborative virtual office where you can set up a private/separate account for each client you work with so that you have a central location in which you both share documents, keep track of work requests and projects, share calendaring and many other features.

I only use the shared calendar feature because it has the best and most extensive reminders feature of all the shared virtual office suites I’ve used (and I’ve used just about ALL the main ones out there). For my needs, I don’t find it stable enough to make use of any of the other features, however, they do have them and perhaps they will work well for you. Check it out!

One caution about using free tools… just because something is free doesn’t make it the right solution. Often things that are free come with strings or are not the most stable or secure. These services I mention in this post are rare exceptions of excellence. If you do use free tools, be sure they have the capabilities to grow with your needs as your business and client roster grows. And remember that bumping up to the next level of features, stability, capacity or security often requires you to move to a paid plan (and rightly and fairly so). Just some things to keep in mind.

Hope that helps!

4 Responses

  1. Another great tool I use for transferring large audio and video files is YouSendIt ( You can add a link on your website that will allow your clients to send large files to you. Drop Box is great, but sometimes when dealing with large audio or video files it can take a long time for it to sync. YouSendIt costs $9.99 per month, but it’s well worth if when you need a secure way to send large files.

    Odetta Taylor

  2. Jill Alward says:

    I have used ExpressScribe for several years now and the files come in as .dss files via email. Very efficient! And, as mentioned, can’t beat the ‘free’ part!!

  3. Robyn says:

    I have used Express Scribe–FREE YAY!–and that is what I would suggest you use. Also, use Dropbox for those that want to use it.

    Good luck!

  4. Suzanne says:

    You can use “You send it” for free as well. It has limits mostly that you can only send 1 file at a time.
    I have used dropbox for a long time but some clients don’t want to install it on their computers, so I found another way. If you have a Windows live ID (or hotmail) account you can use Windows sky drive storage the same way as dropbox. It has more storage (I think its 7 GB) and you can create folders for each client. You invite them to it and they can only see that folder and what is in it. All they have to do is get a Windows liveID (even if they use Mac) the advantage to this one is that you don’t need to install a program. You (or your client) can get to the files anytime from any computer by signing in to Also if someone needs to access a file but they don’t use power point for example,(or its not on the computer they are using at the moment) the windows sky drive includes use of office cloud software- as least viewers, if not editors. Seems pretty slick. And, NO I don’t work for Microsoft. LOL!

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