HOW TO WRITE A TRANSCRIPT

Table of Contents

transcript

If you’re looking for information on the transcription process, then pull up a chair!

Used to transcribe speeches, interviews, podcasts, videos and more, transcription is a fundamental step for getting the spoken word down on paper, and potentially paving the way for translation or copy writing.

As a specialist transcription services provider, EHLION sheds light on how to write a transcript and use transcription software, and leads you through a step-by-step guide on producing perfect transcriptions every time. From how to write a transcript for a podcast to how to write a transcript of a speech, we’ve got you covered!

 

Different types of transcripts

There are a plethora of reasons why transcripts might be necessary, from creating written logs of phone conversations to jotting down speeches to make them available online later.

Our quick overview gives you a rough idea of the many different settings and uses a transcript might have.

 

PodcastsPodcasts, radio segments and live audio recordings can all be transcribed so that subscribers can go back and listen later.
VideosVideos are prime candidates for transcription, particularly as the written document will then later be used for subtitling.
SpeechesA transcription of speeches given by CEOs, statesmen or heads of associations/organizations are all incredibly useful, and will generally be used as reference material for journalists, or uploaded to websites and archives.
PresentationsTranscribing presentations given for training, promotional or marketing purposes is an excellent idea. This allows absent attendees to catch up later, and can also be incorporated into training materials.
Court proceedingsTranscription in a legal or court setting requires speed and the utmost accuracy, as transcribed dialogue will be pulled back up and could make or break a case. Sometimes legal transcriptions can also involve transforming handwritten notes into clearer typed text.
ConversationsIn-person, telephone or video-conferencing conversations can all be transcribed, whether in real time or based on recordings using specialist software.
Medical referencesMedical transcription spans a range of different contexts, and can involve transcribing lecture notes, voice files and sometimes even doctor-patient assessments or interviews.

 

Laying the groundwork

Transcribers follow a meticulous process similar to the way in which a translator or editor might work. From the software used to pre-listening or running through an initial reading before getting started, we take a look at what happens before, during and after the transcription process.

Before the transcription

Before attempting to transcribe any of the source material, the transcriber will conduct a preliminary listening or read-through. This is the perfect opportunity to:

  • Get a general sense of the pace, tone, and context
  • Note down and flag up any incomprehensible words
  • Make notes on terminology or setting-specific jargon that needs to be researched
  • Seek information on the intended recipient of the transcription, or the target audience
  • Checking volume levels and sound player equipment is working as it should

Once the transcriber feels fully confident they understand what they are transcribing, why and who for, they’re ready to move on to the next step: the transcription itself.

During the transcription

Transcribers today work with software and devices that are designed to make the process as slick, accurate and bump-free as possible: transcription software and voice-to-text software.

 

transcript
Transcription process

 

Transcription software

  • Express Scribe is the go-to name in the industry for professional transcribers. The interface is user-friendly, and users have the option of linking up a foot pedal to sync audio speed with their typing speed to avoid stop and start time-wasting. The software is available in either a free or ‘pro’ version.

The professional license will set you back $70 (that’s Australian dollars), but keep an eye out for the frequent discounts.

  • oTranscribe is a free, open-source web-based app that does a fantastic job. It adds interactive timestamps to keep you focused, and lets you transcribe on the go – all while keeping files fully confidential.
  • Inqscribe is designed to be downloaded, and can handle all types of audio and video file formats. This is a popular option for subtitlers as well as transcribers, and is a solid two-in-one choice for users looking for flexibility.
  • YouTube draws on Google’s speech recognition technology to provide a high-quality (and free) time-stamped captioning service for videos. Simply open your video in YouTube, and click on More Option (the three little dots). Click on Open Transcript and you’re done!

Voice-to-text software

  • Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a firm favorite with translators, writers, and academics as well as transcribers. This top-notch speech tech option converts the spoken word into text smartly and efficiently, drawing on deep-learning technology to inform the software.
  • IBM Speech to Text comes top of the class in producing ultra-accurate real-time converted text with a host of smart in-built features. It can also pull up analytics and learn to recognize speakers over time.
  • Google Docs Voice Typing keeps things simple for users looking for a hassle-free, quick-and-easy solution without leaving the G Suite. This nifty little feature works in Chrome browsers, and gets you up and running with quality speech-to-text conversion without any unnecessary expense or downloads.

Once you’ve chosen your preferred software, it’s time to open up your text editor, hit play and type what you hear, adjusting speed as you go if your app or platform allows for it.

 

transcript

 

After the transcription

Once the audio or video file has been transcribed in full, transcribers will work through a proofreading and reviewing process:

  • Running a spelling and grammar check
  • Reading through the entire text once for readability and to pick up on any typos
  • Reading through the transcription while listening to make sure nothing has been distorted or missed out
  • Exporting the transcription file in whatever format is required

 

Transcription styles and formats

Depending on what the intended end use is, there are different forms a transcription might take, offering varying degrees of readability.

At EHLION, we pride ourselves on our adapting to our clients’ needs to provide them with a transcription perfectly aligned with how the text will later be used.

As a transcriber, the blips and human errors you will choose to iron out or leave in will depend on the level or style of transcription needed.

Read on for a closer look at commonly requested transcription formats…

Full-verbatim transcription

In full-verbatim transcription, each and every last word is faithfully recorded by the transcriber, including repetitions, stops and starts, hesitations, misused words or inaccurate use of words, stutters – everything that the microphone picks up.

This is particularly useful in court case transcriptions, where every word and pause counts.

Non-verbatim transcription

Non-verbatim transcription is also known as clean verbatim transcription. The transcriber produces a text that has been cleared of any mispronunciations, grammatical errors, false starts, and repeated words.

The idea here is to produce a transcript that is “good to go” – in other words, a text that can be served up fresh off the press, with all tics in the speaker’s original voice recording smoothed out.

This type of transcription requires more involvement from the transcriber, as they will need to grasp the fundamental meaning contained within the words, and sometimes paraphrase or think creatively to fill in the blanks.

 

Transcription troubleshooting

Drawing on our decades of experience in transcribing monolingual and multilingual video and audio recordings, allow us to offer you a few friendly pointers for nailing a flawless transcription.

  • Timestamping: Similar to subtitle captioning, timestamps can be viewed as ‘place markers’ that help readers match what they’re reading with the audio or video file. They take the following format to show the hour, minute and second where the segment starts: [HH:MM:SS].

Timestamps can be used to flag speakers, beginnings of new sentences or new paragraphs, or inserted after set amounts of time. Most transcription software and apps worth their salt will handle timestamping so you don’t have to!

  • Non-verbal communication: If requested to do so, non-verbal sounds or events such as coughs, sighs, laughs and interruptions can be inserted into the transcript in brackets and formatted in italics.

 

 

The fine art of transcription

Although it may have some crossover with subtitling services, transcription is a science and art in its own right, and can be incredibly useful for keeping a written record of crucial information.

Transcribers work with high-tech voice-recognition tools and specialist transcription software and apps to produce transcripts that can either stick closely for a word-for-word account of what is said, or paper over the cracks for a finished transcript that reads fluidly and easily.

EHLION offers comprehensive transcription services carried out by qualified professionals, along with legal translation services and proofreading.

Contact our teams today for a bespoke quote and free consultation to get you started.

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