Audio transcription services are used by attorneys, medical professionals, and corporations alike, in addition to being used to create subtitles, captions, voice over and dubbing. 

In this article, we will explore the three different types of transcription, discuss AI vs. human transcription, and help you identify the right transcription service for your needs.

What You Need to Know About Audio Transcription Services

How Audio Transcription Is Performed

A trained transcriptionist listens to the audio in short segments, pausing regularly to type out what has been said in the audio track. They typically use a foot pedal to pause and play the audio so that they can work quickly without relying on their mouse or keyboard shortcuts. 

Transcription work is typically billed by the audio minute or the audio hour. Skilled transcriptionists can take from two to six minutes to transcribe one minute of audio, depending on the complexity of the topic and the quality of the sound.

Different Types of Audio Transcription

There are three main types of transcription.

1. True/Full Verbatim Transcription documents every sound that is audible—a cough, heavy breathing, laughter. It also includes filler words such as ‘like’ or ‘um,’ and instances where the speaker stumbles on a word or repeats themselves. Finally, it may include overlapping noise or interruptions if they are relevant to the purpose of the transcript.

The aim of a verbatim transcription is to capture not just the meaning, but the speaker’s tone, speaking style, and any hesitations or interruptions.

2. Clean Verbatim or Intelligent Transcription records only the meaningful parts of speech and filters out non-verbal utterances such as filler words, also excluding sound cues. The goal is to adhere closely to what the speaker originally said while creating a transcript that’s easier to read than a strict verbatim transcript. 

3. Edited transcription may involve paraphrasing if the speaker repeats themselves. Filler sentences may be edited out for clarity, and sentence fragments may be turned into complete sentences. The goal of an edited transcript is to convey the speaker’s meaning in an easy-to-read format. 

Here’s an example of how the finished product looks for each type of audio transcription:

True/Full VerbatimClean Verbatim/IntelligentEdited
(Cough.) All- all right, everyone, let’s begin. Please, everyone please take a seat. (Clears throat.)  What we’re going to be discussing today, in this speech, is the importance of translation. And, ah, what I usually tell people is, is that translation is important because…All right, everyone, let’s begin. Please, everyone, take your seat. What we’re going to be discussing today in this speech is the importance of translation. And what I usually tell people is that translation is important because…All right, everyone, let’s begin. Please, take your seat. Today, we’re going to discuss the importance of translation. I tell people that translation is important because…

Human Transcriptionists vs. AI Tools

There is a growing number of tools that use AI for transcription purposes. While using AI to transcribe an audio file may be faster, there are potential issues to keep in mind.

AI often struggles with non-standard speech, as well as foreign words, proper names, and slang. An AI transcript often requires heavy editing before publication, and the editor may need to return to the audio file to correct AI’s errors.

For example, a recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA) found that AI made errors as often as 90% of the time when documenting critical responses such as Mm hmm and Uh-uh during patient-clinician conversations. The researchers concluded that the use of AI transcription tools in a medical setting could pose a patient safety risk.

A trained medical transcriptionist, on the other hand, will understand the context of these responses and record them accurately so that meaning is conveyed in the transcript.

Where Audio Transcription services are Used

Audio Transcription

Medical Transcription

To make documentation easier, physicians often dictate observations in an audio format that need to be transcribed into reports. 

For these transcripts to be accurate, they need to be handled by a trained transcriptionist who is familiar with medical terminology.

Additionally, the audio transcription service you use must adhere to legislation regarding patient privacy. In Canada, that includes federal laws such as Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), as well as provincial laws such as Ontario’s Personal Health Information Protection Act (PHIPA). In the United States, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) governs patient privacy.

Legal Transcription

Accurate transcripts—typically in true/clean verbatim form—are key for use in legal settings. 

When trying a case, lawyers may need transcripts of body cam footage, emergency calls, wiretaps, and interviews of suspects or witnesses. Lawyers may also need to have depositions transcribed. Depending on the nature of the case, these transcripts may then also be translated.

To produce an accurate, true/full verbatim transcript that will hold up in court, it is critical to use a professionally trained transcriptionist who can document all elements of speech.

As with medical transcription, legal transcription needs to adhere to strict privacy and confidentiality requirements to protect attorney-client privilege. When looking for an audio transcription service, ask questions about how they process and store data to make sure that the security of your documents is paramount.

Corporate Transcription

Businesses of all sizes use audio transcription to improve accessibility, repurpose content, and ensure there is a written record of meetings and calls.

Accessibility—for both employees and clients—should be a priority for companies, especially as new laws come into effect in both Canada and the U.S. Audio or video transcription is beneficial for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users, as well as listeners who are still learning the language being spoken. 

Learn about our Accessibility Compliance Testing services.

Companies can also take advantage of transcription for content marketing purposes. For example, a talk or a podcast episode can be transcribed. An edited transcript can be turned into one or more blog posts, while quotes from the speaker can be used on social media. As a bonus, adding keyword-rich transcripts to your company website can improve its SEO.

Finally, audio transcription also serves to create a written record of meetings and calls for future reference. The transcript of the quarterly earnings call can be shared with the PR team to be used in preparing press releases. Meanwhile, the marketing team can share snippets from a focus group transcription with copywriters to give them insight into end users’ concerns.

Media Transcription

Transcription also plays a significant role in media and entertainment.

As demand for subtitles and captions rises, audio transcriptions become increasingly important. The audio from short-form video content, such as podcasts and webinars, TV shows, and full-length films, needs to be transcribed before subtitle files can be created. Transcripts are also used as the basis for foreign-language subtitles if media is being distributed internationally.

Many podcasts also now feature time-stamped transcripts on their website. This benefits their SEO, making their content available to wider audiences and allowing listeners to quickly find key information without having to re-listen to an entire episode. 

A transcriptionist needs to know if they are doing audio transcription for media so that they can include key audio cues that provide context for d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers. For example, in a television show, they may specify that a character is breathing heavily or that a specific piece of music is playing in the background.

Transcription also plays a crucial role in the creation of voice over. When you request voice over services, audio transcription will be the first step of the process. 

By converting spoken audio or video files into written text, transcriptionists enable a seamless and efficient workflow for voice over artists and production teams. Audio transcription involves skilled professionals who carefully listen to the recorded material and transcribe every word, capturing nuances, accents, and intonations to ensure accuracy. 

Audio transcription provides a valuable resource for projects, allowing for easy script editing, localization, and translation. The resulting transcripts serve as a foundation for voice actors to deliver precise and high-quality performances, as they can closely follow the original dialogue or narration. 

With transcription services, the process of creating voice over becomes streamlined, empowering content creators to bring their stories to life in a diverse range of media platforms.

Finding the Right Audio Transcription Services for Your Business

Audio Transcription Service for Your Business

There are many factors that go into choosing the right audio transcription service for your company’s needs. Some questions you might want to ask are:

  • What type of audio files are required and how easy is it for me to submit them?
  • Do you have transcriptionists who are familiar with specialized terminology?
  • How quickly can a transcription be turned around after I deliver the audio files?
  • What types of transcription (true/full verbatim, clean verbatim/intelligent, edited) do you offer?
  • Is the transcriptionist a native speaker of the language the audio file is in?

Art One Translations offers professional audio transcription services in a wide range of languages—including, but not limited to, English. Every transcription we do follows our strict quality assurance process so that you can rest assured it is fit for purpose, whether you need a true/full verbatim transcript of a court hearing or an edited transcript of a conference talk.

Our expert transcriptionists are native speakers in the languages they transcribe so that they can pick up on colloquialisms and cultural references that might otherwise get lost. We also select subject-matter experts rather than at random from a pool. 

To learn how we can best assist you with your audio transcription needs, contact Art One today.

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