Despite sounding simple, audio transcription plays a significant role in many industries. Transcripts can be used to win court cases, record essential business meetings, and improve SEO content scores. The demand for transcription services is growing, and the industry is predicted to grow by 17% annually through 2032. In this article, we’ll look at the different ways to transcribe audio, and which businesses benefit most from the process.
Audio Transcription Definition
Audio transcription means converting recorded audio or video content into written records of what’s said. In the old days, transcripts were prepared manually. Huge technological strides now allow transcripts to be done remotely online, using several tools and platforms to complete the process more efficiently. The most common transcription process happens like this:
- A client that requires transcription digitally records the event or meeting.
The audio or video file is sent to the transcriptionist or transcription service provider via their website or app.
- The transcriptionist listens to the entire recording, pausing whenever necessary, and creates a written text file detailing everything uttered in the audio file (verbatim transcription) or cleans up the transcript while keeping the subject of the discussion intact (cleaned-up verbatim).
- The raw transcript is submitted for proofreading and editing.
- Once declared error-free, the transcript is sent back to the client.
Is That It?
The process seems incredibly simple if you think about it. It’s typing out what others say, checking everything, and sending back the finished product to the client. However, transcribing is not for everyone, as it comes with many unique challenges.
Time constraints directly clash with accuracy requirements; being lightning-fast and inaccurate is simply not acceptable. Using the wrong tools, like AI transcription, can potentially lead to more work instead of less in the long run (more on that later). Different industries utilize different jargon; having transcribers without the necessary experience work on a courtroom recording chock-full of legalese is like dropping off a newborn in a forest to fend for itself.
It takes a perfect combination of skill, experience, and expertise to transcribe audio the right way.
Types of Transcription Services
For the most part, you can transcribe audio and video files in two different ways: in-house or outsourced. In-house transcription of audio content may be more trouble than it’s worth. Outsourcing your transcription needs to a professional transcription service provider is the most common, cost-effective method.
When it comes to outsourcing transcription services, you have two options.
Automated transcription software like speech-to-text programs to convert entire audio or video recordings into plain text. Although it is fast and cheap, it has several limitations. Software cannot distinguish between speakers in a recording, especially when numerous individuals are involved. It will also have trouble with accents or confuse the names of places and speakers. Because of this, AI transcription technology will not be as accurate, necessitating extensive proofreading and editing before the transcript is deemed useable.
Remember, human conversations are incredibly complex and nuanced events. Language, dialects, accents, cultural backgrounds, syntax, emotions, social status, cognitive limitations, and so many more things can affect the flow of any discussion—none of which an AI program can handle.
Manual or human-generated transcription is done by—you guessed it—human transcribers from start to finish. They listen to the spoken words in recordings and convert them to text format using different transcription tools. Human transcription is far more accurate, meaning less time is wasted in modifying transcripts. Yes, manual transcription is often a little more expensive than automated solutions, but they’re more accurate.
Manual transcription is the preferred method for those who require elevated precision for their transcripts; examples are medical, law enforcement, business, academic, and legal transcription. Furthermore, human-powered transcription offers many extra services, such as providing timestamps, following grammar and formatting guidelines, and converting complete transcripts to different file formats.
Different Kinds Of Business Transcription
Businesses can use transcription in different ways, and each may have different requirements. Corporations may want conference call transcriptions that don’t include extraneous details like false starts and filler words in the finished transcript. Meanwhile, detectives and police officers need those extra details for suspect interviews, as they can provide more information about the person they are speaking to, like their current state of mind, level of comfort, etc. The inclusion and removal of those pieces of information help different situations in different ways. That’s why transcription comes in different types.
Here are the most common ones:
A verbatim transcription captures every sound. This includes sounds like coughs, laughter, verbal pauses, fillers (such as er, um, yeah, you know?), and even background noises like doors slamming or phones ringing.
For example, if someone stutters, has a false start to a sentence, uses filler words, or repeats words or phrases they would all be included in the transcript. Background noises, such as coughs or laughter, can also be noted in your transcripts.
Here’s an example of a statement made by a suspect in a criminal investigation using verbatim transcription:
Law firms, law enforcement agencies, and news outlets that require critical details usually require verbatim transcription.
Non-Verbatim, or cleaned up verbatim, transcription
Cleaned up verbatim transcription excludes all unnecessary speech to make a transcript more readable without editing or changing the meaning or structure.
You’ll notice that all unnecessary speech will be removed in a non-verbatim transcript. This will not change the meaning or structure of the conversation. Using the previous example, below is the same audio transcribed in a non-verbatim, cleaned-up format:
In the (non-verbatim example) above, it’s hard to know if the suspect was nervous or hesitant when they made this statement. Notating how the suspect replied could be significant in a future criminal or civil trial. However, not everyone needs verbatim transcripts. University and academic research and general business audiences are examples of industries that may not require precise detail.
Key Benefits of Transcription
Here are the five best benefits of transcribing or using transcription services:
A broad range of industries use recorded content to make workflow more efficient. Think of training videos, client meetings, or employee reviews for businesses. Or witness interviews or body cam footage for law enforcement. Transcription improves efficiency by making content digitally searchable, meaning they’re much easier to peruse than continuously pausing and playing video or audio recordings.
- Documentation and Accessibility
Transcription provides a written record of spoken words, making it easier to document recorded information from audio or video files. This documentation can be stored digitally and serve as a future reference, helping organizations like law firms, police departments, hospitals, corporations, and universities keep track of essential details. Furthermore, transcripts can make any content accessible for those with hearing disabilities.
- Maximize Communications
A high-quality one-hour conference call video file can eat up 1.2 to 1.4 gigabytes of storage space. It would not fit in an email, and uploading it to a video content site will take time. Transcribing the same recording uses a fraction of that space, making it far easier to share the transcript with everyone who needs it.
- Boost SEO
Aside from titles and descriptions, video content creators have very little metadata real estate to attract search engine crawlers, and Google takes points away for keyword stuffing. Since search engines only crawl text, transcripts offer an alternative SEO boost by allowing search engines to index everything said in the video, allowing them to access your content better. Furthermore, transcribing audio into text snippets generates more shares and web traffic.
- Repurpose Content
Videos are the current king of content creation, but blogs and other written works still generate traffic. Accurate transcription can easily convert, for example, cruise review videos into blog posts with minimal editing required. This works best for people who prefer reading over watching.
How Professional Transcription Can Help
Throughout the article, we’ve covered transcription benefits for different industries. Now, let’s discuss how different industries benefit from transcribing audio.
Law firms have plenty of uses for transcripts, so much so that it’s practically a requirement. Events like court hearings and depositions are recorded for future use. Doing so makes it easier for lawyers to review case files, research for precedent, and create case strategies. It’s even better since transcripts can be stored and accessed anywhere and are searchable. Additionally, audio transcripts are often used as evidence in cases.
Law Enforcement Industry
Like the legal industry, law enforcement agencies rely heavily on video and audio recordings to do their jobs. It’s an unfortunate fact that police officers spend nearly half of their shifts doing paperwork.
Transcribing audio to text from these files eliminates the time required to review them, allowing police officers to shift focus to their primary responsibilities. It also helps keep accurate records for compliance with CJIS and other regulatory bodies. Ditto Transcripts is proudly CJIS compliant, and our transcriptionists can certify their transcripts, so law enforcement can use them in court.
Hospitals, clinics, insurance companies, and other healthcare industry members can significantly benefit from transcription in many ways. The first and foremost is cutting down the time it takes to do documentation. As we all know, doctors and nurses must complete a lot of daily paperwork.
Medical transcriptionists can take a lot of the data entry off their hands, freeing them to focus on other, more essential tasks like patient and emergency care. Furthermore, medical transcription can help with clerical duties like recording details in electronic health or medical record systems (EHR/EMR) – all things that we handle everyday, here at Ditto Transcripts.
One more critical benefit of a secure US based medical transcription company is it helps hospitals meet regulatory requirements like HIPAA by ensuring secure and accurate transcription for all recordings containing protected patient information. Yes, Ditto is HIPAA-compliant as well.
Media And Video Production Industry
As mentioned earlier, transcription has various SEO benefits that content creators can use. Digital marketing transcripts make videos more visible to search engines and—by extension—interested viewers by optimizing keywords just as you would with long-form text content like blogs. It’s also proven that subtitles and captions can increase engagement and boost viewership. You can use them for different audio and video content like podcasts, webinars, etc.
The great thing about transcription for academia is that everyone can benefit from it. Lecturers can review their sessions without the hassle of playing videos back and forth or can jump to preferred sections with a couple of keystrokes. Students can record entire classes with their phones and have the files transcribed to make them searchable and easy to read. The same goes for researchers, who can record interviews, focus groups, and meetings without dreading the task of transcribing them later, allowing them to allocate more time and effort to their research.
Writing down meeting notes and minutes during important conversations is a widely accepted practice in the business world. However, corporations can expand on this concept by recording and transcribing meetings to capture every piece of information for future use. They can also use transcribers for group discussions, teleconferences, training seminars, workshops, earnings calls, boardroom meetings, product or service presentations, and more.
Outsource Your Transcription Needs To Ditto
The vast range of transcription benefits clearly outweigh the additional resources it takes to do it. Fortunately, you don’t need to do it yourself. Outsource your transcription needs to skilled and experienced experts like Ditto Transcripts and see the difference today.
Ditto Transcripts is a HIPAA- and CJIS-compliant, Denver, Colorado-based online transcription solutions company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcription services to companies and agencies of all industries and sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial. Visit our website for more information about our transcription services.