Oral History Transcription Service

We often take for granted how easy it is to capture and preserve things in this always-online, always-recording age. It’s one of the reasons why trends and stories disappear quickly, passing from memory as fast as they came in. Unfortunately, this has only been true in the last couple of decades, and much of our past is locked behind written accounts—and the memories of those who experienced it. Transcription effectively captures these memories and further preserves them. 

An Introduction To Oral History

Oral history is an account of historical, cultural, or personal events. As indicated in the name, these accounts are conveyed by a speaker via storytelling or guided interviews, where they recount their narratives, memories, and reflections, providing first-hand knowledge and experience about cultural traditions, significant events, or important personal experiences. 

Oral history has distinct characteristics from the usual types of recordings, such as: 

CharacteristicDescription
Narrative AuthenticityOral history allows individuals to recount events or experiences in their own words and with their unique perspectives.
Subjectivity and EmotionOral history often conveys the emotional and subjective aspects of historical events, providing insight into how people felt, thought, and reacted at specific moments in time.
Diversity of PerspectivesOral history represents a wide range of voices, including those of marginalized communities whose stories may not have been adequately documented in mainstream historical records.
Cultural PreservationOral history helps preserve cultural traditions, customs, and knowledge that may be passed down through generations orally rather than in written form.
Historical DocumentationOral history supplements traditional historical sources by providing additional context, details, and personal insights into events, personalities, and social dynamics.

Benefits Of Outsourcing Oral History Transcription To Ditto Transcripts

Ditto’s industry-leading transcription service comes with perks and features that elevate your oral history transcripts into something more: 

  • 99% accuracy guaranteed: All oral history transcripts will be delivered with our characteristic 99% accuracy. This guarantee is maintained for all transcription jobs with no restrictions or excuses so that our transcripts reflect the audio recording as closely as possible. 
  • Professional standard: Let us take the burden of oral history transcription, and we’ll provide you with the quality you can expect from a leader in the industry.
  • Fast turnaround times: Maintain your workflow and get your transcripts when needed—maybe even sooner. You can receive your transcripts in 24 hours or less.
  • Reduced costs: There’s no need to hire in-house or go with a freelancer when you can get professional oral history transcription services at scale at a fraction of the cost. Our standard rate starts at $1.75 per audio minute, with higher rates for faster turnaround or more economical prices for tighter budgets. 
  • Flexible options: Customize your preferred features or send us a formatting or style guide, and we’ll follow them to the letter. 
  • Multi-language support: We transcribe many languages, including Italian, Arabic, German, Spanish, and more. 
  • Confidentiality guaranteed: Your research is safe with us. Our transcribers know how to maintain privacy and have signed non-disclosure agreements before working on projects. This allows our clients to rest knowing that their oral history collections are safe. 
  • No long-term contracts: We won’t tie you up with commitments—no job is too big or small for Ditto.

Transcribing Oral History: How We Do It

These are our steps in creating a transcript for oral history: 

  • Interviewers or interested parties set up an interview with the subject and save it via digital recording devices.
  • The client submits the recording to Ditto through our secure online platform. 
  • We assign a transcriber to each recording to maintain the transcript’s quality, consistency, and accuracy throughout. Note that we do not chop up interview recordings and distribute them to different transcribers.
  • The transcriber creates an accurate transcript for the audio recording. Depending on the client’s preferred features, we can transcribe interviews with speaker names or labels, time stamps, verbatim, or lightly edit the transcripts for clarity and grammar corrections. 
  • Completed transcripts undergo several rigorous quality assurance procedures to maintain our 99% accuracy guarantee. 
  • After completing proofreading and editing, we deliver the transcript to the client.

Our Experience As An Oral History Transcription Service

Over the years, we’ve transcribed a wide range of oral history, all done with our signature accuracy and industry-leading quality. They vary in degrees of scope—yet are no less important to those who need them. 

Preserving Culture

We’ve worked with museums and transcribed recordings from natives and older generations—from stories and experiences that have only been passed down verbally over the centuries. A rich tapestry of culture and history transformed into accurate verbatim transcripts, each sentence professionally preserved to retain the spirit of the stories. 

This way, none of it is lost, and copies can be saved and replicated as often as needed. 

Celebrating The Past

Some companies have existed longer than the average lifespan, and it makes sense that they would want to look back into the past to celebrate their roots. We’ve transcribed recordings of founders, executives, employees, and innovators from nearly century-old corporations, reproducing their voices into accurate, accessible formats. 

Such recordings offer a glimpse into how their companies evolved into what they are today—and can serve as a reminder and guideline of their founding principles should they ever lose their direction. 

Commemorating Lives

People need not only leave memories for those they leave behind. Collections of preserved stories and recordings, where they speak of their experiences, can be accurately transcribed and saved for posterity. We’ve done so many times—to universal client satisfaction. 

Enhancing Research

When doing historical research, every word or phrase is important. It keeps the original speaker’s essence—so it’s the transcriber’s job to create accurate text to facilitate and enhance research endeavors. 

Our accurate transcripts also help maintain the integrity of any significant historical recording so correct information can be passed down through the ages. 

The Importance of Preserving Oral History 

Aside from unlocking the past that would otherwise be lost to time, preserving oral history provides other benefits, such as: 

Enhancing Historical Understanding

“History is written by the winners,” they say—carrying the implication that what has come to pass can be tailored to fit a particular narrative. 

However, the words spoken in the marginalia of well-accepted narratives can provide further insight into what happened—or give a full and more rounded view of the events. Conducting oral history interviews provides unique insights, emotions, and personal reflections that complement traditional, scholarly, or mainstream records. 

This, in turn, enriches our understanding of past events, letting us see what happened through the words of those who lived them and making sure that history is not rewritten. 

Promoting Empathy, Understanding, and Connection

Reading about a significant event is often less engaging than listening to someone who lived it. Oral history fosters empathy and connection by humanizing historical events and allowing listeners to relate to the experiences of others on a personal level. 

The topics discussed can also open further dialog, expanding the scope and enhancing understanding among different social groups.  

Historical, Personal, And Cultural Preservation

Many things can occur that can result in the loss of culture. Regional dialects, for example, come to mind. Audio recordings can help preserve cultural traditions, languages, customs, and knowledge transmitted orally through generations. 

Additionally, recording oral history captures individuals’ authentic voices and perspectives, preserving their lived experiences in their own words. They can also serve as the primary sources, which are excellent for researchers and educational organizations. 

Providing Accurate Educational Resources

According to Ellen D. Swain, “Oral history continues to be an important research methodology and tapes and transcripts need to be effectively integrated into academic library collections.

Oral history is a valuable educational resource for students, researchers, and the general public. It provides firsthand accounts and personal narratives that bring history to life and enhance the accuracy of history projects. 

Celebrate And Preserve History And Culture With Ditto Transcripts

Don’t take chances with your precious cultural and personal heritage. Get Ditto’s expert, accurate, secure transcription services, and enjoy our high-quality results at affordable prices. Call (720) 287-3710 for more information, or sign up for our free trial to experience the Ditto difference. 

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