Summarized Academic Transcription

Engagement. Accessibility. Clear communication. These are just some things that academic institutions must consider when providing audio and video content for students of every level, from primary to higher education. To that end, these institutions can use academic transcription services for summaries or real-time captioning. 

The only question left now is: which one should you choose? 

What Is Summarized Transcription?

Summarized transcription is the process of converting audio or video content into a summarized form. As indicated in the name, the transcriber aims to provide the essence or meaning of the spoken word concisely and in as few words as possible. 

The primary purpose of summarized transcription is to provide a quick reference source to aid in comprehension. It can also be used as an accessibility feature to a lesser extent. 

Summarized Transcription At A Glance

Here are the more important features and aspects of summarized transcription:

AspectDescription
ApplicationsUsed in academic research, business meetings, legal proceedings for summaries, medical consultations, and interviews where detailed records are necessary but brevity is valued.
ProcessListen to the original audio or video, identify the main points, and write a summary that accurately reflects the core information.
Accuracy RequirementHigh. Although focusing more on capturing the correct interpretation of the content’s main ideas rather than word-for-word transcription. Manual editing ensures the summary is accurate and coherent.
Detail LevelAdjustable: the level of detail is tailored to the purpose of the transcription, focusing on essential information and omitting extraneous details.
TimingNot real-time: the process occurs after the event, allowing for review and editing to ensure quality and accuracy.
ConsiderationsRequires skill to distill complex information into concise summaries accurately. May omit nuanced details important to some users.
Turnaround TimeDepends on the length and complexity of the original content, as well as the required level of detail. It can range from a few hours to several days.
FlexibilitySummaries can be customized to fit specific requirements, focusing on the aspects of the content that are most relevant to the intended audience.

Who Provides Summarized Transcription?

Summarized transcription is usually done by transcription companies employing human transcribers, as this is the most effective and accurate way to capture the meaning of the spoken content without losing any important details. 

Enlisting the help of professional transcription companies like Ditto Transcripts provides you perks like accuracy, 100% human and US-based transcribers, flexibility, affordability, and more. 

Educational institutions may also hire in-house transcribers. However, this may not be cost-effective. 

Benefits of Summarized Transcription

Now, here are the benefits of summarized transcription: 

  • Enhances comprehension: Summaries can break down complex topics into relevant talking points, making it easier for participants to get the meaning. The concise nature of the transcripts can also be a big selling point for retention, as it’s easier to remember short, straightforward content than long chunks of lectures.
  • Accessibility: Summarized transcription can be a great accessibility feature for students with hearing disabilities. It also assists the academic institution in meeting the guidelines of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). However, it does not provide a comprehensive textual representation of spoken content. 
  • Language reinforcement: Learners, especially non-native speakers, can have audio and text exposure to English. Summaries can also assist them with fluency, paraphrasing, cultural nuance, and understanding spoken grammar rules. 
  • Searchability: Backtracking and reviews are easier with summarized transcripts, as they’re faster to read and digitally searchable. These transcripts can also be a great alternative to live note-taking.
  • Flexibility: Summarized transcripts are easy to archive and retrieve and can be accessed via smartphones, tablets, and computers. And with easy access comes personalized and self-paced learning experiences. 
  • Accommodates different learning styles: Converting audio or video content into their essence- in a concise and focused manner (aimed at teaching) can be extremely beneficial for students with different learning styles. Fast readers can quickly understand the concepts laid out, while more audio-visual learners can continue consuming academic video and audio content. 

What Is Real-time Or Live Captioning?

I wouldn’t blame you if you weren’t sure about the differences between summarized transcription and real-time captioning.

Real-time captioning refers to converting spoken words into plain text and displaying completed captions – in real time. The process aims to provide deaf or hard-of-hearing students access to educational content in real-time or as close to real-time as possible. 

Unlike summarized transcription, live captioning is done word-for-word (verbatim), ensuring that captioned content captures the speaker’s intended meaning as closely as possible. The quality of real-time captioning can be impacted by various factors, including the speaker’s clarity, accent, speed of speech, and technical issues. 

Real-Time Captioning At A Glance

Let’s break down the different aspects of real-time captioning.

AspectDescription
PurposeTo make live or streaming audio content accessible to deaf or hard of hearing individuals, as well as non-native speakers or those in noisy environments.
ApplicationsWidely used for live broadcasts, educational lectures, conferences, public speeches, and online streaming content.
ProcessTypically, it involves stenographers, speech-to-text software, or a combination of both. Stenographers use specialized keyboards to transcribe at high speeds, while automated systems rely on speech recognition technology.
Accuracy RequirementHigh, but can vary based on the clarity of speech, background noise, the complexity of terminology, and the method of captioning used. Errors are more common in real-time captioning due to the need for immediate transcription.
Detail LevelCaptions aim to be verbatim but may sometimes be paraphrased for brevity or clarity in real-time situations. Includes non-speech elements (e.g., [applause], [music]) to provide context.
TimingImmediate, with a slight delay (usually a few seconds) between speech and text display to allow transcription and processing.
Turnaround TimeReal-time, with captions appearing on the screen seconds after the words are spoken.
FlexibilityLimited in editing and refining content on the fly; however, technology and operator skill can mitigate inaccuracies and ensure the captions are as clear and accurate as possible under the circumstances.

Benefits of Real-time Captioning

Real-time captioning has some similarities with summarized transcription in terms of benefits. However, captioning also offers unique advantages. 

  • Accessibility: Like summarized transcripts, real-time captions allow hard-of-hearing students to participate in audio-visual learning content fully. Adding sound effects can also improve immersion, strengthening engagement and retention. 
  • Improved comprehension: Various studies have fully supported that captions improve comprehension and information retention. A quick and common anecdotal instance, like reading captions to understand complex terms or uncommon languages in video content, also proves the point. 
  • Inclusivity: Captions allow people from all backgrounds and capabilities to participate in the discussion, whether they are non-native speakers or deaf and hard of hearing. 
  • Enhanced engagement: Closed captioning has been long known to improve engagement throughout all aspects of digital media. Academic situations are no exception and display more substantial increases in engagement. 
  • Support for diverse learning styles: Like with transcripts, captions help students quickly understand the information and participate in discussions. 
  • Increased retention of information
  • Legal compliance with accessibility regulations: Like summarized transcripts, real-time captions can be used to meet ADA guidelines. Due to its more comprehensive nature, however, live captions are the preferred method for compliance. 

Who Provides Real-time Captioning?

Professional captioners are typically the default choice, although available automated solutions can also kind-of do verbatim captioning. However, automated solutions are not recommended as they are not accurate without human intervention. 

Certain systems, like communication access real-time translation (CART), facilitate live captioning by employing stenographers to relay accurate written text. 

Ditto currently does not offer real-time captioning. However, we provide captioning of pre-recorded academic material.

Summarized Transcription vs Real-time Captioning

So, when all is said and done, what type of process should you use for your academic needs? 

Audio-visual learners may prefer real-time captioning, as they can process information much faster. However, it is more expensive, as CART and stenography services can cost anywhere between $60 to $200 per hour. 

Summarized transcripts are great alternatives. However, while they are effective accommodations, they may not be enough to meet ADA requirements. 

In a perfect world, summarized transcription and real-time captioning should be provided at the same time, ensuring accessibility across the board. 

However, we’re not living in a perfect world, so the answer to that question is: it depends. You need to consider the needs of all your students—not only those with hearing disabilities, and your institution’s capability to provide such features. 

Choose Ditto For Your Academic Transcription And Captioning Needs

Whether you need transcription or captioning, Ditto is the only provider you’ll need. We provide 99% accuracy rates, high-quality transcription, affordable and flexible options, industry-leading security, and the best customer service. Contact us today at (720) 287-3710 and see the difference. 

Satisfied transcription service seekers 101. (Not a real course, just real clients).


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