Transcription helps you convert recorded speech to text

Transcription, or transcribing as it is often referred to, is the process of converting speech from an audio or video recording into text.

Smiling woman wearing headphones and writing

Transcription entails more than just listening to recordings. The content must be understood and nothing should be omitted. Learning to transcribe quickly and accurately takes time. You can therefore save both time and money by letting one of our experienced professionals do the job for you. Our transcribers have extensive experience of converting audio to text in diverse contexts, such as police interviews, legal inquiries, research project interviews, lectures and the like.

What is transcription?

Transcription is not the same as writing. Regardless of whether the transcription is of a party in a court case or a participant in a survey, research project or similar being interviewed, it involves more than just typing or writing down the words that are spoken. Depending on the purpose and focus of the task, it may be necessary to convey everything from stressed syllables to hesitations and delayed responses. It should be noted, however, that any transcription of spoken conversation is a contraction thereof, since it is virtually impossible to capture all of a conversation’s elements in writing.

Transcribing audio to text?

We are able to transcribe from the vast majority of audio and video formats, and we deliver the transcription with the simplest possible formatting in one of the standard word processing formats, such as Microsoft Word. If you would like the transcribed material to be translated into another language afterwards, Semantix can assist with translations to practically any language. Since there are many factors which affect the time it takes to complete a transcription, we charge per hour of work, not per minute of the recording.

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Our top 5 tips for a good quality sound recording

A good quality sound recording can make the transcription work much easier and will most likely result in a more advantageous price for your transcription.

1. Avoid background noise. Microphones can easily capture background noise. Close any doors and ensure that those nearby speak as little as possible.

2. Speak one at a time, without talking over or interrupting each other.

3. Place the microphone in a position where it will be able to capture sound from all speakers.

4. Speak clearly and slowly.

5. Use good equipment. Using a dictation machine with an inbuilt microphone or analogue sound recording equipment may give a poorer quality end result.

Determining factors

It is difficult to provide an exact quote for a transcription in advance. There are numerous factors which determine how challenging the job is for our linguists.

  • Specialised subject area. It is quicker and easier to transcribe interviews on general, everyday topics than, for example, advanced clinical studies. In the latter case, the transcriber will have to spend additional time looking up medical terminology to ensure correct spelling.
  • Several speakers. The more people speaking on a recording, the longer the job will take. It is not uncommon for group discussions to have 5-10 participants, with frequent interjections and interruptions. One of the tasks during transcription is to link speech/text to the appropriate speaker.
  • Audio quality. Recordings made outdoors or without an external microphone often have background noise or acoustic echo, which makes it challenging to understand everything being said.
  • Dialects and accents. The dialects and accents of speakers may require the recording to be played back several times to ensure that that being said is fully understood.
  • Transcription style. The style determines how detailed a transcription will be.

Verbatim transcription is a word-for-word transcription, and the most common method.

E.g.: “… I think that because there are so many… um… different requirements… and.. um.. different segments.. that, if you focus on one of them, then.. and yes, there is much need in the age group between 25 and 50.. or 55, actually.”

True verbatim transcription is the most detailed method, which includes all sounds and non-verbal communication, such as laughter and pauses.

E.g.: “… I think that because there are so many… um… different requirements… and.. um.. different segments.. that, if you focus one of them (laughs), then.. and yes, there is much need in the age group between 25 and 50.. (coughs) or 55, actually.”

Intelligent verbatim transcription is a style which edits and abridges the text to create an easy-to-read transcript. Pauses and incomplete sentences are omitted.

E.g.: “There are so many different requirements and segments, that, if you focus on one of them, there is much need in the age group between 25 and 55.”

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