Turbocharge your audio and video files with transcription

How transcription gives your audio and video files a text footprint and steps up your productivity.


      There are many advantages to transcribing the spoken content of an audio or video file into an editable text document.

      It means the text can be amended, reworked and marked up with comments in a way that would be impractical and maybe even impossible on an audio or video file. Video captions, subtitles and full transcriptions make audio and visual content accessible to people who may struggle to hear. They also provide the content of consumer-friendly audio and video in an SEO-bot-friendly format – maximising a site’s user experience and SEO.

      Meetings, speeches and training sessions can be repurposed in multiple ways to deliver benefits long after the words were spoken. A transcript of a speech can become marketing content, an email to staff, or a pitch for new business, for example. Transcribed audio files can easily be split into snippets of text to provide a variety of shareable content for social media.

      Who uses transcribed audio and video files?

      In our modern, digital world, everything from lectures to business meetings are recorded, repurposed and shared. As a result, transcription has become an indispensable requirement across many industries and organisations.

      Here are some examples of where transcription has become ingrained in the day-to-day work of a range of sectors:

      • Media
        From large events to personal podcasts, transcription is used to aid the preparation and consumption of spoken content across all forms of media.
      • Academic
        Schools, colleges and universities use transcription to improve the quality of their teaching, the accessibility of resources and to give students searchable versions of lectures and seminars.
      • Legal
        Professionals involved in legal matters take audio statements from witnesses, claimants and other involved parties. Transcription is then used to create the legally binding documentation.
      • Journalism
        Reporters gather information by conducting numerous interviews which they later transcribe into easily accessible source material.
      • Market research
        Researchers collate recordings from interviews and focus groups, then use transcription to create accurate, searchable documentation of what was said and use the written data to collate their findings.

      How to transcribe audio and video files

      To meet this insatiable demand for transcribed audio and video content, there are a variety of forms of transcription, each designed to provide the most appropriate written recreation of the recording.

      The four most popular forms of transcription are verbatim, intelligent verbatim, edited and phonetic.

      • Verbatim transcription
        A verbatim transcription captures every sound: coughs, laughter, doors slamming, phones ringing and every er… um… yeah. Equally importantly, it captures every pause, silence and prevarication contained within the recording.
      • Intelligent verbatim transcription
        An intelligent verbatim transcription eliminates the non-speech elements from the text to leave a more readable transcript of what was actually said.
      • Edited transcription
        An edited transcription is modified after the audio or video file has been transcribed to remove any unnecessary content, correct any grammatical mistakes and ‘tidy up’ any muddled speech, such as misspoken words and unfinished sentences.
      • Phonetic transcription
        Phonetic transcription creates a written record of the sounds made, rather than the words spoken. Symbols are used to represent each individual unit of sound. This is useful when pronunciation needs to be identified – such as when comparing the same speech but in different accents.

      Want to know more about Semantix transcription services?

      Download our free transcription template

      Get started with transcription. Here you will find templates for both detailed transcription and standard transcription. You can use the formats and examples in your own working document.

      How to transcribe audio and video files manually

      Skilled human transcribers spend years developing their expertise. As such, they are able to deliver audio and video transcriptions at an extremely high standard.

      As experienced manual transcribers acquire their proficiency over many years, they pick up some valuable techniques. Here are three tips that any transcriber will be very familiar with:

      1. Listen to the complete audio file before commencing the transcription. This allows the transcriber to familiarise themselves with the style and substance of the audio or video recording.
      2. Transcribe whole sentences. This helps the transcriber to understand the context and avoid errors that can occur with a word-by-word transcription (confusing ‘flour’ with ‘flower’, for example).
      3. Be aware of any jargon and abbreviations that might be used in the audio or video being transcribed. Most sectors have their own specialist terms – especially the medical and legal professions – so being fluent in their language is an essential requirement.

      The expertise of a manual transcriber, however, comes with a relatively high cost in terms of finance and time taken. This makes manual transcription unsuitable for large-scale projects requiring a fast turnaround.

      How to transcribe audio and video files with software

      Recent technological advances have led to the development of a variety of automated transcription software tools and apps. Automated transcription reduces time and costs significantly. The quality of the transcription, however, depends on the sophistication of the artificial intelligence (AI) built into the product.

      There are three basic categories of automated transcription:

      1. Apps for mobile devices
        Mobile phones and tablets are ideal for recording audio and video files on the go, and many of them feature built-in transcription tools. Transcription capabilities can be further improved by downloading a more suitable app from one of the many app stores.
      2. Online transcription services
        There are numerous transcription tools available online, many of them free-to-use. For example, uploading a video to YouTube offers users automatic captioning, which gives transcriptions with up to 80 per cent accuracy. (Not all languages are supported by YouTube.)
      3. Software for desktop computers
        PC and Mac users can download transcription software to their desktop, which allows audio and video files to be transcribed without the need for an internet connection.

      Adding timestamps and speaker names

      Clearly identifying who is speaking and when are essential components of most audio and video transcripts. This information is provided by the inclusion of timestamps and speaker names.

      Typically, a person’s name, or some other form of identification (such as ‘Speaker 1’) is provided whenever the previous speaker stops talking. Timestamps, usually given in the [HH:MM:SS] format, display the time passed since the start of the audio recording.

      How often and whereabouts timestamps and speaker names are inserted into transcriptions depends of what level of information is required. A typical example, where the time is provided for each new speaker, is shown here:

      Dave Holland:  (01:17:30) Does anyone have any further comments?
      Alice Smith:  (01:17:41) Yes, Dave, I have a couple of points I’d like to raise.

      Dragon transcription software for audio files

      Even the best transcription software tools are not 100% accurate, but one of the more highly regarded products, Dragon Professional, claims up to 99% accuracy right out of the box (i.e. before any machine learning has taken place).

      Dragon Professional enables the transcription of audio and video files into editable text with the speed and versatility you would expect from an automated software solution. Moreover, with a cutting-edge speech engine and deep-learning technology, Dragon Professional is constantly learning, so it soon gets to grip with users’ requirements.

      Need help with audio and video transcriptions?

      With so many options to choose from, figuring out what’s the best transcription solution for your specific needs can be quite a challenge.

      That’s where we come in. With expertise and experience covering every aspect of transcription, we can help you leverage maximum value from your audio and video files.

      If you want to turbocharge your content with transcribed text, contact us today.

      Download our free transcription template

      Download templates for both detailed transcription and standard transcription. You can use the formats and examples in your own working document.