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A transcription service is a business service that converts speech into a written or electronic text document. Transcription services are often provided for business, legal, or medical purposes.

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What are transcription services and why does your business need them?


If you have a video or audio file and you want to turn it into a text-based file, you need to use a transcription service. Transcription is the process of taking the spoken parts of the file and putting them down on paper.


Why do companies use transcription services?


Businesses use transcription services for a range of reasons. For example, a business that needs a video translation might first need to transcribe the spoken parts of the video first, if it doesn’t already have a written script ready for translation. Video transcriptions are also often used for legal purposes.
Audio transcriptions are likewise often used for court cases, while audio translation can help with everything from language studies to staff training events.


How do transcription services work?


Transcription is a skilled task that requires excellent focus and attention to detail. A transcriptionist usually works with a foot pedal that links to software specially designed to play audio and video files. The foot pedal allows the transcriptionist to stop and start the recording in order to transcribe the content. It also allows them to rewind and fast forward through the file, which can be particularly useful when parts of the recording are unclear.


The transcriptionist is also responsible for time-stamping the typed copy. This is particularly important for video transcription, as it connects each piece of dialogue with the relevant visual part of the file. If the transcription is then translated and foreign-language dialogue applied to the video, the time-stamps will ensure that the spoken and visual elements of the file are in sync. The same is true if subtitles – whether in the original language or a translation – are applied to the video.


Which other services complement transcription work?


As transcription is such a core part of video and audio translation, it is often used alongside a number of other services. These include time syncing (as described above), the translation process itself and subtitling. Where video or audio translation is required, it is usually more efficient and more cost effective to use one individual or company to provide all of these different parts of the process.


How to find a transcription agency?


If you’re looking for a transcription agency, consider which additional services you may need before you start looking at potential companies to use. There are individuals and companies out there who provide just transcription services, as well as those providing transcription as part of a broader spectrum of services (such as translation services).


Look for recommendations from other businesspeople as a starting point and seek out well-reviewed companies online. As in every industry, price and quality can vary hugely, so be clear on your budget and expectations from the outset. Use personal recommendations and reviews to satisfy yourself on the quality front and ask for a quote from several companies in order to compare potential costs.


Remember that you can also access transcriptionists through freelancing sites such as Upwork. Again, pay careful attention to the reviews of anyone you are considering using for your transcription work.


A word about audio quality?


A final thought before you embark on your transcription project relates to the quality of the audio file, or the aural element of the video. Successful transcriptionists are focused and attentive professionals. However, they are not miracle workers. If the quality of the audio is poor, then the transcriptionist can only do so much in terms of transcribing what is said. As such, if you have a recording where the quality isn’t great, it’s worth discussing this with the transcriptionist first in order that you can both be clear on what is and is not achievable.


Final thoughts


If you’re ready to get started with your transcription project, then great. If you would like to find out more, feel free to contact our team. You can also browse our business centre articles for further information and advice.