What is Transcription?
Transcription refers to the process of converting speech or audio into written text. Our transcription services involve transcribing recorded audio into a typed document, such as an MS Word or Excel file, to create an accurate transcript. This technique is widely utilised across a multitude of industries, including journalism, law, medicine, academia, and the entertainment sector.
Accurate capture of spoken content is imperative in transcription as the recorded audio is rarely listened to once the transcript has been completed. The transcriber must possess certain essential skills. Having these skills and qualities enables a transcriber to produce high-quality transcripts that are accurate and professional.
Speed and Accuracy
Fast and precise typing skills are a must-have for transcribers. The ability to type quickly and accurately ensures that the transcriber can keep up with the pace of the audio recording and produce a transcript that is error-free and accurately reflects what was said.
Transcribers need to be able to concentrate and listen carefully to the audio in order to transcribe it accurately. The skill of active listening involves being fully engaged in the spoken message by paying close attention to its tone, pace, rhythm, and content. It goes beyond just hearing the words being spoken and encompasses the ability to comprehend and respond to emotions, attitudes, and underlying meanings. This proficiency is critical for transcribers to produce transcripts that accurately reflect what was said. Good listening skills are fundamental aspects of the transcription process.
Mastery of the English language is crucial for transcribers. Minor errors in punctuation, grammar, or the use of homophones can alter the meaning of context, leading to inaccurate transcripts. The significance of punctuation is discussed in greater detail in our article: Punctuation. To ensure high-quality transcripts, transcribers must possess strong English language skills.
This also applies to other languages but, as our services are in English, we have specified this for English.
In order to produce professional transcripts, transcribers must possess advanced proficiency in MS Word. A well-formatted document makes it easier to copy, paste, or edit the transcript later on. Additionally, transcribers should have knowledge of audio conversion tools. Transcribers also need to be proficient in using transcription software to produce and edit their transcripts.
Content and context
An excellent transcriber has a strong comprehension of both the content and context of the speech being transcribed. This understanding allows the transcriber to accurately differentiate between sentences and improve the clarity of the transcript. A good understanding of the subject matter also helps reduce the number of unclear or indistinct sections in the transcript. Without a proper understanding of the content, the transcript is prone to contain numerous errors.
Effective time management is a crucial aspect of transcription. Transcribers must be able to manage their skills effectively to meet deadlines, ensure the accuracy of their work, and maintain the quality of their transcriptions. Good time management skills enable transcribers to work efficiently and produce transcripts in a timely manner.
Organisational skills are an important aspect of transcription work. Transcribers must be able to efficiently manage and keep track of multiple audio files, transcripts, and notes. Good organisational skills help transcribers to work efficiently, avoid confusion, and ensure that their final transcripts are accurate and complete.
A competent transcriber must possess the natural ability or have acquired experience in interpreting various accents. This skill is essential to minimise the number of indistinct sections in a transcript. The ability to understand accents, combined with a strong grasp of the English language, enables the transcriber to make educated guesses for unclear words in the audio recording.
Equipment and Programs
Investing in high-quality computer equipment, including a sound card, headphones, and licensed transcription software, can greatly improve the overall quality of transcripts. Clear audio recordings lead to fewer unclear or indistinct sections. Using registered and licensed programs eliminates potential disruptions in the transcription process and eliminates limitations associated with free trial versions.
Flexibility is a key attribute of successful transcribers. Transcription work can be fast-paced and demands a high level of accuracy, so transcribers must be able to adapt to changes in the audio or their workflow. Being flexible and being able to adjust to new challenges and requirements is crucial for transcribers to deliver high-quality transcripts.
Research abilities are an important aspect of transcription work, especially when transcribing in specialised fields such as academics, medicine, or legal. Transcribers must be able to research and understand the subject matter being discussed in the audio in order to produce an accurate and complete transcript. Good research skills help transcribers to fill in any gaps in their understanding, clarify any unclear or technical terms, and ensure that the transcript is of the highest quality.
Our transcription services include, but are not limited to:
- Interviews and focus groups
- Meetings and minutes of meetings
- Lectures and discussions
- Telephone calls
- Court proceedings and arbitrations
- Medical and legal dictations
- Film and television scripts
- Workshops and seminars
- Disciplinary hearings and disputes
- Training sessions
While many companies only mention “verbatim transcription”, there are actually three types: full verbatim, intelligent verbatim, and edited. Choose the best option for your needs with our comprehensive explanation of each service.
Full Verbatim Transcription
Full verbatim transcription is a service that transcribes every word spoken, without any changes or editing. This includes grammatical errors, false starts, repetitions, filler words, and stutters. It is often used in research, legal proceedings, and other contexts where accuracy is crucial, but it can be difficult to read.
For example, a full verbatim sentence might look like this: “I…I…I, um was, er, gonna, like, go, you know, to the shops, um, where, uh, I were [sic] going to, mm, buy some kinda sweet.”
Intelligent Verbatim Transcription
Intelligent verbatim transcription is a service that offers the best of both full verbatim and edited transcription. The transcriber includes all essential content from the recording but removes non-essential elements like filler words, false starts, repetitions, and stutters. The result is a transcript that is both accurate and easy to read. This type of transcription is commonly used in business and academic settings where clarity and readability are important.
For example, an intelligent verbatim sentence might look like this: “I was gonna go to the shops where I were [sic] going to buy some sweets.
Edited transcription is a service that goes beyond just transcribing the spoken word. The transcriber not only types the words but also corrects grammar, spelling, and punctuation to create a polished and readable document. In this type of transcription, the transcriber may also condense long sections and speech and omit non-essential elements such as filler words, hesitations, false starts, and stutters, resulting in a concise and easy-to-follow transcript. Edited transcripts are commonly used in academic, business, and media contexts where the aim is to produce clear and concise content.
For example, an edited transcription might look like this: “I was going to go to the shop to buy sweets”.
We understand that each client has unique needs. That’s why we offer a personalised and flexible transcription service. Our norm is intelligent verbatim but you can choose the type of transcription that best fits your needs. Whether you prefer a pure intelligent verbatim transcription, or a mix of intelligent verbatim, full verbatim, and editing, we can accommodate your request. We strive to provide the ideal solution for each and every client.
We prioritise quality over quantity, and this requires time. On average, transcription can take four to five times longer than the length of the audio. Factors such as audio quality and speaker speed can impact the turnaround time. We provide a turnaround time of one full working day per hour of audio for intelligent verbatim one-on-one interviews. Full verbatim and focus groups may require a longer turnaround time.
If you need your transcripts sooner, don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll do our best to accommodate your request. We consistently complete projects earlier than expected but we can’t guarantee this every time.
To ensure that we can meet your deadlines, we strongly advise you to book your transcription service as early as possible as our schedule can impact the turnaround time.
We specialise in transcribing digital audio and video formats. Regrettably, we are unable to convert audio and video tapes to digital. However, we have worked with a wide range of digital formats. Should there be any new format we encounter, we will inform you beforehand if there are any potential difficulties in converting them. Nevertheless, we will always do our best to find a solution for you.