Transcription services can help you convert any form of audio file into readable transcripts, accurately and efficiently. Having a qualitative transcription brings many advantages to any vertical of business.
What is transcription?
Transcription is the process of converting speech in any audio or video to text. To do this you may need the help of a transcription service that will convert the audio or video to a text-based file.
What is the importance of transcription?
In the past, it was the duty of a secretary to take notes in any meetings held by the company. All the points which were discussed in the meetings had to be listened carefully and to be noted town and this was quite a tedious task. Even after the meeting the secretary had to transcribe her notes and had to validate with the people in a meeting before finalizing the minutes of meetings. The secretary was always put under pressure to submit the notes of the meeting the next day of the meeting.
Today, modern companies have resorted to recording the minutes of the meeting, either in audio or video format. It is considered to be practical. By availing such means no information of the discussion is missed. Yet, people who were participants in the meeting need to have a copy of the minutes; hence they need a written version of the recording. This is when transcription services step in, companies rely on them for the same, by which the secretaries are free to work on the task which they meant to do and also saves time to train the secretaries to transcribe.
In addition, for future references, written documents of meetings, interviews or conferences are more favourable. With the rising competition domestic and international, counting on transcription services are more worthwhile. Notes have become outdated in recent times. An audio to text version is trending in recent times because it is more accurate and complete.
Regardless of how the information is created, it needs transcription, Including audio files, videos and written materials.
Audio files in the form of recording and podcasts are frequently transcribed into readable, written text. For example, court proceedings such as legal depositions have to be transcribed, so that they are readily accessible to other lawyers, juries, and judges. Healthcare providers voice-record their notes and transcriptionists convert the voice files to text, typically in digital format.
Video transcription is the process of translating your video’s or film audio track into text. Blogs and news articles use video interviews, therefore they need to be transcribed. Ebooks are a transcripted form of documentary films.
When it comes to transcribing the written materials , it is usually written materials such as handwritten notes , letter and manuscripts and also PDF’s which are regularly transcribed. Transcription of written materials may include converting multiple notes into a single, readable text document or extracting copy from brochures and similar materials to create a text-only layout.
Benefits of transcription ?
In today’s marketing world, video and audio are the most important components. Nowadays, most of the websites contain eye-catching multimedia materials.
To reach a wider audience multimedia acts as one of the key tools. More and more choices need to be provided to engage a customer to perceive the content online, a business that offers engaging contents will have better reach. It is the customer’s choice to select which medium they want access, otherwise they prefer written content. Thus, there are more benefits when you transcribe audio and speech formats to text.
People perceive things through senses, hence multimedia gives them more chances to do so. Audio content lets them engage in another task simultaneously. But most of them may not like to perceive things through audio or video, they may prefer a presentation with transcription which helps them to read the text. Written texts are smaller files compared to audio or video, which makes them easier and faster to share.
It refines SEO strategies
If you want to create a niche in the competitive market, your website should have text content that has valuable information in it.Search engines look for valuable information by which you improve your visibility. It also gives you high rankings in search engines. You can add more keywords and hashtags, as well. Search engine bots and followers can index your original content.
You are considerate to hearing-impaired people
By providing transcripts of your multimedia content you are allowing people who are hearing-impaired to access your content, it sends the message that you care for disabled. It shows your intention to reach out to all people and give them equal opportunity to examine your information.
It gives a reference to your audio/video content
One of the main problems with video or audio is that the listener has to play it repeatedly to get the information, transcribing helps the people to get the information immediately.
If your website has audio or podcast, by providing the right transcript, researchers can find the correct information immediately.
Adding links to the other pages in your website is a great way to keep your customer on your website. Transcripts can add links to text when you want to guide the customer to some other page which has more valuable contents from your website.
Who can benefit from transcription ?
There are different types of clients and services who seek the transcription services , since text files of audio/video recording are more acceptable and useful to end-users.
Attorneys , court reporters, paralegals, and law firms are one of the prime users of this service. Basically these professionals need transcriptions of legal witnesses’ statements, court hearings, depositions, and recorded evidence. The transcript of audio /video files are provided to judges, juries ,and lawyers , which they read while recording is played in court to prevent misinterpretation.
Healthcare providers and medical practitioners
The healthcare industry is going through a massive upheaval, they frequently request a transcription of patient’s notes,procedures and other materials that have to go into the patient records.
Nowadays e-learning has become so much popular around the globe. It may be totally self-contained with links to reference materials in place of a live instructor.Many colleges and universities offer recorded content for students taking online courses.Interviews, research, seminar, class lectures are to be transcribed for students taking doctorate degrees.
If you are into market research , you will need a clean and accurate record and exact responses from research participants. So they too benefit from transcription services as they need a written file of interviews, discussions, feedback and other data.
Busy entrepreneurs rely on transcription services to archive and store urgent phone calls, meetings, and interviews as it is convenient and easy locating a document rather than searching for information in a recording. As a means of marketing, companies are uploading a transcribed version of your keynote speeches during significant events like symposia and conferences by this way it widens your reach.
Some people like to view and hear things rather than read it. With a text version of your podcast, you are making sure you are not alienating the people who like to read.
There are so many other people like video production houses, publicity coaches, freelance writers, authors, marketing consultants, and content strategists who may well benefit from transcription services. The audio and video have to be ready for the website in the form of text, dissemination of information, and proper editing of thoughts and ideas to aid in their writing.
Which other services complement transcription work?
Transcription is the main part of video and audio translation, so it is used with a number of other services. The other services are time syncing, the translation process and subtitling. It is good to use one individual company to provide all the audio or video translation as it is efficient and cost-effective.
What are the different types of transcription?
Let’s see the different types of transcription ‒‒ edited, verbatim, intelligent, and phonetic. Both have positives and negatives. Choose the type of transcription as per the purpose of transcribing content. The Deaf and hard of hearing community will be able to read the transcripted text and you need to make sure they are not alienated from understanding what you offer.
Edited transcription is where the complete, accurate script is formalized and edited for readability, conciseness, and clarity. It removes grammatical mistakes, slang, and incomplete sentences. When transcribing from written materials, edited transcription also corrects spelling and punctuation and can make the spoken words sound more formal.
Unedited: “My mama told us—me and my brother and sis, ‘Y’all shouldn’t complain about having to eat your veggies at suppertime.’”
Edited: “My mother told me and my siblings not to complain about having to eat vegetables at dinner.”
Verbatim transcription is the written form of spoken language from Video and audio files. Capturing every sound made, it can include throat clearing and verbal pauses such as “ah,” “um,” and “uh.” Even laughter and noises such as phone ringing or a door slamming are written. It should be followed if the audio or video is produced in legal settings.
In Non -verbatim transcription, noises such as laughter and background noises, verbal pauses, and throat clearing are avoided and also clean up incomplete sentences.
Verbatim: “I ah saw the erred (snickering) pickup truck hit the uh (6-second silent pause) pedestrian.”
Non-verbatim: “I saw the red pickup truck hit the pedestrian.”
Now, which one of the above transcriptions would you prefer?
Or following is another example of verbatim and non-verbatim transcription of a CEO on the annual report, the audio includes some coughing and throat clearing due to a cold. The example will show how verbatim transcription is the best choice.
Verbatim: “We not only beat our fourth-quarter (sniffing, clears throat) earnings projections but exceeded our projections for the first three quarters (cough) as well.”
Non-verbatim: “We not only beat our fourth-quarter earnings projections but exceeded our projections for the first three quarters as well.”
Intelligent verbatim transcription
Intelligent verbatim transcription edits distracting noises and repetitions from the spoken word. The aim is to provide a more concise, readable transcript while not diverting from the participants’ voices and intended meaning. Following are the corrections made with intelligent verbatim transcription:
Filler words: Unnecessary words such as “you know,” “yeah,” “like,” and “hey” are removed.
Non-standard words: In these instances, the transcriptionist removes or corrects nonexistent words such as ain’t, irregardless, dunno, and supposably.
Repeating words or sentences: Stammering and words repeated unintentionally are edited during intelligent verbatim transcription. So are repeated sentences with the same meaning.
Long, run-on sentences and ramblings: If there are long sentences, it is reframed into short sentences to convey the same information in a more readable way.
Irrelevant or off-topic sentences or conversations: Sometimes people may deviate from the subject topic for a moment or make remarks not suitable while speaking. Intelligent verbatim translation cleans this up.
Removes pauses, coughing, and general noises: Anything irrelevant to the topic or that interferes with the voice of the person speaking can be avoided, including nonverbal and verbal pauses, background noises and coughing or sniffling.
Phonetic transcription notes the way spoken words are pronounced using phonetic symbols.
Although the English language has 26 letters in the alphabet, there are around 44 unique sounds called phonemes. A phoneme is the smallest unit of speech that can make one word different from another. The International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA) is a standardized representation of speech sounds in a written form it applies to all languages. For example, the word dish has four letters, but IPA represents this as three sounds: diʃ, where ‘ʃ’ stands for the ‘sh’ sound.
Why would you use phonetic transcription? It’s because a word changes in pronunciation over time. For instance, a word ‘quandary’ is used in a period movie that is not spoken in modern English. Then a phonetic transcription of ‘quandary’ would be appropriate because in the movie the second syllable is stressed whereas the first syllable is emphasized today. Another reason to use phonetic transcription is the difference in dialects. There are four different dialects in the United States. Let us take the word caramel as an example, the second “a” tends to get dropped as a vowel once you’re west of the Ohio River. Using phonetic transcription the word will retain the dialect as spoken.
How do transcription services work?
Transcription is a skilled task that requires excellent focus and attention to detail. Transcriptionists use a foot pedal linked to software that allows them to stop and start the recording in order to transcribe the content. It can also rewind and fast forward through the file. This helps the transcriptionist to listen to parts of the recordings that are unclear.
The transcriptionist is also responsible for time-stamping the typed copy. In a video transcription, time-stamping connects each piece of dialogue with the relevant visuals of the file. If the transcription is translated and foreign-language dialogue applied to the video, time-stamping will ensure that the spoken and visual elements of the file are synced.It works the same way with subtitles – whether in the original language or a translation – are applied to the video.
What skills do you need to be a transcriptionist?
A pair of good ears is a must in transcription work. Even in general topics, you should have a clear understanding of dialogues even if there are audio challenges like background noise, crosstalk and soft voices. At times an audio transcriptionist should make intelligent guesses i.e, “ sounds like” for feeble parts of the audio.
Having a sharp memory is an added advantage to a transcriptionist as it saves a lot of time. It is said so because the transcriptionist doesn’t have to pause the audio frequently, having a sharp memory helps the transcriptionist type longer dialogues from the memory without pausing or replaying the audio.
Fast typing speed and high accuracy
An average person types at 40-45 words per minute, but a good typing speed of a transcriptionist is at 60-80 words per minute with very minimal errors. On the other hand, a professional audio transcriber can type as fast as an impressive 100 words per minute
Grammar, punctuations, and spelling proficiency
Transcription requests differ from client to client, where one may request for verbatim-specific, some clients still prefer non-verbatim or clean, easy-to-read transcripts. In order to transcribe a document in a manner without losing the meaning and original thought of a dialogue, a transcriptionist should have high grammar, punctuations and spelling proficiencies. Even though there are online tools that help in identifying and correcting mistakes, it is mandatory that the transcriptionist has a good knowledge foundation to prevent basic and embarrassing mistakes.
Transcriptionists should have good research skills. They work on diverse topics daily. They can research for information they are not familiar with or for catchy words. Also for nouns like names, acronyms, companies, establishments or brands in general.
Keen attention to detail
A good transcriptionist should be a keen listener and attentive to small details as a pure verbatim transcription requires it to be transferable in print. For example, the speaker said “like” five times, the audio transcriber should type exactly that —”…like–like–like–like–like …”– in the transcript. Sounds like hmm, Uhm, and uh-huh are also understood in different notations crucial to market researchers. Laughter and pauses are also detailed in transcripts. Small details like this are also bringing about the meaning conveyed by the speakers in the audio, which is why transcriptionists should be particular with these as requested by the client.
Focus and determination
To be a qualified transcriptionist, one must be focused and determined to get the job done competently. A 1-hour file takes an average of 6 hours to transcribe. It’s serious work to be done. A transcriptionist should be able to neglect unnecessary distractions and concentrate on long periods of time whilst transcribing to ensure complete accuracy and timeliness of work.
Diligence and strong goal orientation
Transcriptionists should be in particular and self-motivated towards reaching the team’s goal, which is providing top-quality transcripts on time. Therefore, they should be passionate and careful about following the company’s standard of quality. In the end, attention and strong goal orientation along with focus and determination boost the perks and benefits you get as a transcriptionist when the company you work for realizes your dedication.
General transcriptions work across multiple fields, so it is necessary that transcriptionists are fast -learners who understand different topics in short periods of time for them to turn the material into sensible, top quality transcripts.
A person does not need to have advanced computer skills to become a transcriptionist. Basic skills like knowing to how to maximize the use of Microsoft Word for proper transcription formats and also Google search proficiency is enough, but the openness and willingness to learn how to use the required transcription software is a must.
Transcription rules and guidelines
- Accuracy: Accuracy is extremely important in transcription. Type only the words, phrases, and sentences that are spoken in the audio file you are transcribing. Even if there are grammatical errors, you must fight the urge to correct them.
- Do Not Omit Word or Phrases: There’s a tendency to omit words that are difficult to understand. There are tags to be used when words or phrases are unintelligible or inaudible. Instead of omitting, use the correct tags accordingly.
- US English: Use proper US English capitalization, punctuation and spelling. Sometimes there are files in British English or Australian English. If this is the case, the spelling of some words will be different. Eg : Colour ( British) vs Color ( American)
- Do Not Paraphrase: Do not correct the speaker’s grammar or rearrange words. Also, do not cut words that you think are off-topic or irrelevant. Any words not spoken should not be included. Type the actual words spoken.
- Do Not Add Additional Information: Do not add additional information such as page numbers, job numbers, titles or your comments in your submission. Such information can be added in separate fields below the transcript.
- “Clean Up” Non-Verbatim Jobs: Lightly edit non-verbatim work to remove false starts, filler, and stutters. Check the company’s guidelines on what should be removed.
- Verbatim Work Should Be Truly Verbatim: When transcribing verbatim work, include every utterance and sound exactly as you hear. Unless directed in the work’s “Notes” section, all filler words should be included. Also, transcribe stutters as accurately as possible. Strict verbatim is all about accuracy and completeness. Readability is not the main requirement.
- Do Not use phonetics or shortcuts: While it may be easier and faster to shorten words like using “u” for “you” while you are transcribing, they should not be used. You must use the actual words in their correct spelling.
- Follow the transcription format: Transcription companies follow a general transcription format. There are rules on how to write the time, date, numbers, currency, country codes, and telephone numbers. They must be followed unless the client prefers a different format. If the client sends a specific format, this will supersede the company’s general transcription format. Always ask for clarification if you are unsure.
Challenges faced in transcription
The transcription industry has developed immensely, technology has made it simple, still, there are challenges to overcome. These include:
Selecting resources with the right skillset,
Quality of audio and video source and training resources.
Selecting resources with the right skillset
Depending on the subject and language that needs to be transcribed, it can be challenging to find the right person to do the job. For example, a doctor or a person with knowledge of life sciences will be more suitable to transcribe medical science content. Similarly, someone with expertise in aerospace or aviation will be better suited to transcribe audio or video related to rocketry or aircraft. It is increasingly becoming difficult to find the right domain-specific skill sets. Another challenge lies in having the person stay dedicated and motivated until project completion.
Quality of audio and video source
The second challenge that people or companies face while transcribing audio and video is the source’s quality. If the input source quality is good, the output quality will also be good. There could be times when the audio/video quality is bad with issues like overlapping speech, background noise, jargon, and mispronounced words. In such circumstances, the quality of the transcription output is of less quality.
There are also other problems like the quality or clarity of the speaker’s voice and different dialects and accents that severely impact transcription.
There are several types of transcription, that need different types of training and understanding. In general transcription, a person with some basic training can transcribe it. But in case of important- high-end transcription training is required. Training costs time and money. There are many people who can translate speeches or board room meetings with ease as they understand the words and context, but training them to document scientific speeches costs time and money. At times companies insist on using proprietary tools to transcribe the work, this again needs training.
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