Transitioning from Transcriptionist to Quality Assurance Manager at AlphaScribes
AlphaSights launched its transcription operation in 2018 to provide clients with high-quality transcripts of AlphaSights-facilitated interactions. Shaune Nirschl was one of the first members of the AlphaScribes team and joined as a transcriptionist that year.
Now, as a Quality Assurance Manager, she leads the growing team of Quality Assurance Specialists who play an integral role in ensuring clients receive high-quality transcripts in a short turnaround time. We sat down with her to learn more about her love of transcription as well as for the English language, and how she has found success in her career at AlphaSights.
What first brought you to AlphaSights?
My kids were nearly out of high school, and while I liked my job as a Quality Assurance Lead, I wanted to do something different. I got so excited when I saw AlphaSights’ job post! I was eager to work at a highly regarded global information services firm whose clients were some of the biggest names in the business world. Plus, the scope of the work, while business-based in general, was much more varied than working for an insurance company. I thought the combination of the two might bring a different mindset to how the transcripts division worked, and I was right, it did.
What’s unique about AlphaSights?
AlphaSights is unique in three ways: first, the turnaround time. I was used to a 24-hour turnaround time. AlphaSights has a much faster turnaround time due to the nature of clients who often need transcripts as soon as possible. Second, it never gets boring! Most jobs are interviews between two to three people, which is common, but the topic of the interviews can be about almost anything. One day, for instance, I'm transcribing about the cybersecurity industry, the next day it's date farming or copper mining. Third, the sense of community. All English transcriptionists and Quality Assurance Specialists have access to AlphaScribes' Slack messaging system, where they can get clarifications on the style guide from fellow colleagues, ask a question about a file, or get important information from management. There’s even a water cooler channel where team members post pictures of their kids or pets!
Tell us more about your transition from being one of the first transcriptionists at AlphaScribes to becoming its Quality Assurance Manager.
What a journey it’s been! AlphaScribes was so new that the Operations Manager who interviewed me was just beginning to introduce a quality assurance step in the transcript-creation process. As I’d been a Quality Assurance Lead previously for quite some time, we talked about my transition from transcriptionist to the dual role of transcriptionist/Quality Assurance, then to Quality Assurance Specialist, and finally to Quality Assurance Manager. I'm very good at what I do and want every transcript that goes out to the client to be as perfect as possible. As someone who has a degree in English, I love grammar and punctuation. I’m curious and enjoy doing the research that’s required on a lot of the files. Finding that company name or term is a great feeling! I think those quality assurance skills, along with my experience and enthusiasm for AlphaSights as a company, were the main factors in me moving up to Quality Assurance Lead and then Quality Assurance Manager.
In a nutshell: what makes a successful transcriptionist at AlphaSights?
The most important qualities transcriptionists need to be successful, especially as part of AlphaScribes, are: the ability to use context to know when a word or phrase doesn't fit. Also, attention to detail is key. To care and the ability to get the "little" words and details right. Something that shouldn't be underestimated: confidence in your abilities. Furthermore, experience with accented English, since AlphaSights is global. And good headphones - I think one of the most, if not the most, crucial pieces of equipment you’ll need.
What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for the transcriptionist or Quality Assurance Specialist positions?
For transcriptionists: first, when applying, emphasize your transcription experience and highlight any relevant skills that show why you would be good at transcribing AlphaSights’ files. Used to accented English and transcribing under a tight deadline? Include it. If you don’t have a traditional background in transcription, emphasize what other skills you have that translate to the transcriptionist position.
My advice for Quality Assurance Specialists is not very different. Highlight any experience and skills that show you have the qualities I mentioned above: the ability to use context, attention to detail, experience with accented English, and great research skills. A background in transcription isn’t a must, but it is preferred, so if you do have transcription experience, include it.
For both positions, the assessment phase is where you can let your skills shine, so be thorough and show that you paid attention to the formatting highlighted in the style guide video.
Shaune Nirschl is a Quality Assurance Manager and works from her home in Seattle, Washington. She joined AlphaSights in 2018 as an independent contractor and transitioned full-time in 2019.