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What is Transcription? Guide for Transcribing Audio and Video Recordings

Transcription Services | Audio and Video Transcription  

Oftentimes, it is necessary to translate spoken language, for instance, in a focus group meeting or a video tutorial. In such cases, the spoken text must be transcribed first. What does the transcription process imply? To transcribe means to convert an audio or video file into a written format as accurately as possible.

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Determine the Purpose of the Transcript

Transcription can be executed in many ways depending on the desired end‑result. Verbatim or literal transcripts are exact replicas of the audio recording that include every spoken word as well as every laugh, background noise, jargon, broken or incomplete phrases or words. For the transcription of speeches, conferences, or seminars it is better to prepare an edited transcript that omits speech errors, or false starts like “mmm” or “ehh”, etc. In some cases, intelligent transcription is performed to ensure that the published transcript is accurate and easy to comprehend. Such transcripts include added personal pronouns and articles that the speaker might have omitted when speaking in haste.

Before ordering transcription services, it is important to determine the main purpose of the end product, i.e., whether is it necessary for internal use, for detecting main keywords in the speech, for preparing a translation of subtitles, for publishing as an article, etc.

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What is Automatic Speech Recognition?

Automatic speech recognition (ASR) is machine-based process of decoding and transcribing oral speech. Although automated transcription is objectively less accurate, by using speech recognition you can receive the transcript much faster.

There is a wide range of automated speech to text transcription programs available on the market such as Rev, Trint, Sonix, Temi, Scribie, iScribed, TranscribeMe, Transcription Panda and many others.

Automated transcription may be the right choice when:

  • You need the transcript immediately
  • You have a limited budget
  • The audio is clear
  • You only want a rough draft
  • You have time to edit yourself
  • You are only looking for specific keywords.

Transcription Services for TV and Film

The television and film industry needs transcription services for both subtitles and closed captioning, along with time-coded post-production scripts. Quality, detail and readily available services allow post-production teams to assess scenes on the go, without having to watch every second. Quality services are key to subtitles and closed captioning. Captions online make content more accessible, increase engagement and boost SEO. If the client does not provide the prepared script, the project starts with the transcription.

Why Choose Human Transcription Over Automated Transcription

Although speech recognition software has significantly advanced, human transcriptionists still provide the most accurate transcription services.

Human transcription is more accurate as humans, unlike automated transcription software, have a natural ability to filter through background noise. Another obstacle that speech recognition software encounters is accents and dialects. As humans are continually exposed to varying cultures and languages, they are capable of deciphering heavy accents. One of the quickest ways to tell if a transcript was done by a machine is to look for errors in homophones (two or more words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings). Speech recognition software must rely on sentence structure to predict the most probable word to use, and this can often lead to mistakes. Transcription software typically cannot identify individual speakers and deliver accurate transcripts when there are more than two speakers present. Humans, however, can understand and identify multiple speakers, even when the speakers sound alike.

Human transcription is the right choice when:

  • It is important for you to obtain accurate results

  • You have a flexible budget

  • You do not want to spend any time on editing yourself

  • Publication is the end goal

  • The audio track features multiple speakers or heavy accents

How Long does it Take to Transcribe One Hour?

Quality transcripts are difficult and time-consuming to produce. Typists with experience transcribing generally spend about 4 minutes transcribing 1 minute of standard-quality audio.

One hour of audio or video can take 4-9 hours to transcribe, depending on the subject, the number of speakers and the audio quality. The total amount of time it takes to transcribe a recording depends on various factors and it differs from one type of recording to another.

Save Time and Money by Letting Professionals Do the Job for You

If you have decided to order a human transcription done by professional linguists, fill out our price request form and we will prepare a price and delivery time estimate. Remember that human transcription is the best choice as humans not only hear but listen!

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The Baltic Media® Nordic-Baltic Translation agency is a leading provider of digital translation services in Northern Europe specialising in Northern European (incl. Nordic, Baltic, Slavic) languages mostly in translation services from/into Swedish, Finnish, Danish, Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, German, English, Polish, Russian, Latvian, Lithuanian and Estonian.

As an ISO certified language service provider, the Baltic Media® translation agency offers human translation services for corporate, governmental and private clients.