What does a transcriber do?

Transcriptions enable people to read spoken words instead of listening to them. Transcriptions can even be created in multiple languages, which makes the original spoken information globally accessible. Read this blog post to find out how a transcriber turns spoken words into correctly formatted, easy-to-read text.


      What is a transcriber?

      A transcriber is someone who listens to audio or video recordings and converts the spoken words into text. This can be done manually or with the help of software that automatically creates text from the audio. If transcriptions are produced by software, they still need to be checked by a human transcriber for accuracy.

      Depending on the type of transcription, the transcriber may need industry-specific knowledge. For example, medical transcribers need to be familiar with medical terminology, while legal transcribers need to be familiar with legal terminology and formatting guidelines.

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      What does a police or legal transcriber do?

      A legal transcriber specialises in transcribing legal documents, court proceedings, meetings, interviews and depositions. They must be familiar with legal terminology and the way that the legal system operates in the country they work in. They might also need an understanding of police procedures.

      What is a medical transcription?

      Medical transcriptions convert audio recordings related to medical procedures, diagnoses, research findings and treatment plans into text. A transcriber working in this field must have a good understanding of medical terminology and a reasonable knowledge of medical procedures.

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      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.

      What does an academic transcriber do?

      These transcribers specialise in lectures, audio learning material, interviews and research data. They must be familiar with academic terminology, academic writing styles and academic citation styles.

      What does a caption and subtitling transcriber do?

      These transcribers create closed captions and subtitles for video content. They must be proficient in both the source and target languages and be able to accurately convey the meaning of the spoken words, even if there is no direct translation available.

      What does a braille transcriber do?

      A braille transcriber converts spoken or written text into braille – a tactile writing system used by people with visual impairments. This involves transcribing both printed text and audio content into braille characters by using specialised software and equipment.

      What about general transcribers?

      These transcribers work on a variety of projects, ranging from market research interviews to podcast episodes. A general transcriber will usually have a wide range of industry knowledge without specific specialisation. As well as transcribing, they might offer other translation services, such as subtitling and interpreting.

      How does a transcriber work?

      The process of transcribing involves listening to an audio or video recording and creating a written document of the spoken words. Here are the typical steps a transcriber would follow:

      1. Prepare equipment: The transcriber will need a computer or other device, as well as software for playing the audio or video recording. They will often use headphones to eliminate external noises.
      2. Listen to the recording: The transcriber listens to the recording, often using software that allows them to play the recording at a slower speed or pause and rewind as needed.
      3. Type the transcription: As the transcriber listens to the recording, they type what they hear, creating a written document of the spoken words. Depending on the type of transcription, they may need to include non-verbal cues such as pauses, laughter, environmental noise descriptions or tone-of-voice indicators.
      4. Edit the transcription: Once the transcription is written, the transcriber will review and edit the document for accuracy and clarity. This might involve researching to clarify unfamiliar terms or names, or referring to a database of terminologies used by the client.
      5. Format the transcription: Formatting the transcription according to supplied style guidelines is the final part of the process. This might include adding timestamps, speaker labels or other information to the document.

      How does a multilingual transcriber work?

      A multilingual transcriber works similarly to a monolingual transcriber, but with the added challenge of transcribing audio or video recordings into multiple languages. Multilingual transcription demands a high level of proficiency in multiple languages, as well as cultural knowledge and an understanding of regional dialects and accents. Transcribers must also be able to quickly switch between languages as they transcribe. Multilingual transcribers play a critical role in making spoken words accessible to a wider audience across language barriers.

      What tools does a transcriber use?

      Transcribers often use a variety of tools to help them transcribe audio or video recordings efficiently and accurately. Common tools to help with transcription work include:

      1. Audio or video playback software: Transcribers use audio or video playback software to listen to recordings and control the playback speed, volume and other settings.
      2. Word processing software: Transcribers use word processing software, such as Microsoft Word or Google Docs, to type and format each transcript. These programs often include helpful tools like autocorrect, spell check and formatting options that can be pre-set to match clients’ preferred layout style.
      3. Foot pedals: A foot pedal is a device that allows the transcriber to control audio playback without having to use their hands when they’re busy typing. This can be especially helpful when transcribing long recordings. Using a foot pedal increases speed and accuracy.
      4. Text expanders: Text expander apps allow the transcriber to create shortcuts for commonly used phrases or words. For example, the transcriber might create a shortcut that automatically types the phrase ’don't hesitate to contact us’. This speeds up the transcription process by reducing the amount of typing needed.
      5. Translation software: Multilingual transcribers may use translation software to help with the transcription process. However, it's important to note that translation software is not always completely accurate. Human translation is necessary to ensure accuracy and ensure that context is correctly translated between languages.

      Final thoughts

      Transcribers are highly skilled professionals. They play an essential role in making sure content is accessible to a wide audience. Semantix has industry-expert transcribers who can produce transcriptions in over 170 languages. Whether you have a small project to transcribe or a high volume of regular transcriptions, we offer a fast service around the clock.

      If you’d like to find out more, contact our team. We’re always happy to discuss your project and help you decide whether our transcription service could be right for you.

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