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NPR selects Take 1 as official vendor of transcription services in 3-year deal

The leading public radio network of the United States, National Public Radio (NPR), has contracted Take 1 to transcribe their news, analysis and podcast programming for the next three years.  Under the contract, which started in January 2022, Take 1 is providing NPR with highly accurate, XML-based transcriptions for over 30 daily and weekly programmes and limited series, with turnaround times ranging from a few days to just a few hours.

NPR is an independent, non-profit media organization that was founded on a mission to create a more informed public through excellence in journalism. 53 million audience members experience NPR content every week across a range of platforms including radio, smart speakers, social media, live events and NPR’s website, apps and podcasts.  The organization boasts over 1000 partner radio stations and NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” are consistently among the most-listened-to news radio shows in America.

The multipurpose nature of NPR’s transcripts means that accuracy and fast turnarounds are equally important to the organization.  In addition to being distributed to NPR’s network of member stations, the transcriptions that Take 1 produces are published on the NPR website to make the content accessible.  Academic publishers also distribute the transcripts to libraries across the world where English is spoken (as well as Latin America and China) where they are made available as searchable data in research platforms that partner with NPR: LexisNexis, ProQuest, Westlaw, Dow Jones, EBSCO, Gale Cengage and Newsbank.  Finally, Take 1’s transcripts are a critical part of NPR’s content production process for shows like “Morning Edition” and “All Things Considered” and are supplied as XML to integrate with NPR systems’ internal workflows.

“Almost all of my searches for transcribers show most U.S. providers cannot handle NPR’s high volume, high accuracy, and rush deadlines at an affordable price, and competitive businesses based abroad are unfamiliar with the intricacies of American-English accents, slang, idioms, and cultural references,” says Laura Soto-Barra, NPR RAD chief (Research Archives & Data Strategy).  “NPR poses an added challenge due to the many specialized subjects we cover, from world politics to science and medicine.  Still additionally, the tech requirements and the format that allows the transcript to be ingested in the NPR systems present additional challenges not all companies can resolve.”  She continues, “We’ve known the Take 1 team for many years, we’ve used their translation services in the past, and they were one of the very few I knew that could deliver against this brief.”

As pioneers in data-driven transcription workflows, Take 1 has supported the delivery of transcriptions as XML data for many years.  The transcription, access and localization services provider also has a global network of transcribers and linguists, including an established, full-time team in the US.  To meet NPR’s stringent timing and accuracy requirements, Take 1 devised a workflow that combines the speed of ASR with a human-led editing and quality control process.

“NPR’s social responsibility to provide highly accurate information is central to their values, and the fact that they’ve entrusted a critical part of this – the integrity of their transcription data – to Take 1 is a real privilege and testament to our reputation,” said Take 1 CEO, Louise Tapia.   “When this contract was originally put to tender in 2010, Take 1 wasn’t in a position to meet its demanding requirements.  However, after expanding our team, services and technology extensively over the last decade, we’re thrilled to be one of the few – if not the only – provider with the capabilities to deliver this contract.”

Find out more at www.take1.tv

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