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Something wrong with your order? Don't worry! Help is on the way!

I received a message saying there was a problem with my CastingWords order – what now?

We send these emails out if there’s an issue with an uploaded audio or video file. It means that the transcription for that file has been placed on hold until a replacement file is provided, a question is answered, or the file is canceled and refunded.

The other files in the same order (if any) are unaffected. The remainder of your order will continue processing normally.

If we do not hear back from you within a reasonable amount of time, say 48 hours (or longer if over a weekend), then depending on the issue we will go ahead and cancel the file that has the problem.

Possible issues include:

  • The file is a duplicate
  • The recording is entirely silent or broken
  • The file contains long periods of silence, background conversations, or room tone
  • Missing track (one-sided conversation)
  • Link is broken or doesn’t lead directly to the media file, or the source material is password protected (for orders placed using a URL instead of direct upload)
  • Unsupported audio or video format

Read on for more info on these issues and what to do about them.

The file is a duplicate

Our system is quite good at detecting duplicates, as long as the two copies are identical. If your file is a duplicate of another item, either in the same order or a past one, it will be placed on hold so a member of staff can check on it.

It may be that a file was simply added to the order two (or more) times by accident. If that’s the case, we’ll go ahead and cancel and refund any excess copies.

However, if we can see from the titles, filenames, speaker names or other clues that the intent was to order two different files, then we will check with you before canceling and provide a link that you can use to upload the correct file if desired, so you don’t have to start over with a new order.

Twin sheep
Which is which? Only their mother knows for sure. (Photo by Jørgen Håland)

The recording is entirely silent or broken

If the file we have is silent or broken but your original copy plays normally, then it may be that the file was corrupted while uploading, or the upload was truncated. This is unusual, and when it does occur it is mainly with file formats other than MP3.

If your original file is OK, please convert or export to MP3 if possible, then re-upload it using the provided link. If it is already an MP3 or you are unable to convert it, go ahead and upload the same file again (after checking that it plays correctly on your end).

If your copy of the file is silent or broken, you’ll obviously need to track down another copy or re-export it from the app that created the file. If a good copy is not available, we will cancel and refund the file.

The file contains long periods of silence, background conversations, or room tone

Our system bills on the full duration of each file, regardless of content, so be sure to trim away any significant stretches of silence, pre-event chit-chat, lunch breaks, or other material that you don’t want transcribed, before uploading your recording.

Under our workflow, even if your file includes a note indicating that only a specific range of material is needed, the entirety of the file is automatically converted to transcription tasks and sent out to our workers. While the final editor can trim away unneeded material, our costs incurred – and your billing – will correspond to the full duration of the file.

As a courtesy, we will trim material for customers the first time they upload an untrimmed file.

Missing track (one-sided conversation)

Some recording setups place each speaker on a separate audio track. Occasionally, one track is lost when exporting or converting the recording to a different format.

If we find that we can hear, for example, the interviewer’s questions but there is only dead air where the interviewee’s responses should be, we will halt processing and let you know so you can re-export from the source material to obtain a good copy.

Do Not Enter sign
Nothing to see here, folks. (Photo by Kyle Glenn)

Please test the URL to make sure it’s good. If it’s OK, paste that into the “Submit URL” field and click the “Submit” button.

When you submit a URL it should lead to the file itself, to streaming media, or to some other kind of publicly available resource.

Keep in mind that our site fetches your recording automatically, and cannot retrieve files from sites that require sign up or sign in, that need a password to be entered, pop-up/welcome screens to be dismissed, or other interactions with the host site.

If you can view and download the content directly at the link, so can we!

Unsupported audio or video format

We can handle most common audio and video formats, but a few sites, devices, or recording setups produce proprietary formats that we are not able to transcode.

Unsupported formats will need to be converted or exported to a supported format, ideally MP3. While other file types may be uploaded, MP3 is our preferred format and causes the fewest hiccups in our system. Most audio editing or recording apps are able to export files as MP3s.

Help us help you!

If we send out A problem with your CastingWords order email, that means we’re unable to continue transcribing the file until we receive your input or a replacement file. This of course affects the transcription turnaround as well, if you have ordered our 1-Day or 1-Week products. Help us help you by getting back to us ASAP if you receive one of these emails!