Most of us don’t think about transcription. Those that have known about it think of it as someone dictating to a tape for later transcription. And many of us think that it has become obsolete with advances in technology. However, transcription is simply the process of converting speech to text, no matter what tools are used. In fact, transcription remains popular, though this may seem counter-intuitive in a world heavily reliant on audio and video.
Transcription and Adding Value to Audio and Video Content
A world laden with video and audio content isn’t free of the need to have it transcribed. For example, many content creators want a transcript created so that the text can be shown beside the video or along with the audio. This isn’t just an accommodation for those who are hard of hearing. It can help anyone watching the video understand what was actually said. This is a common problem when the dialect or accent of the speaker differs from the listener.
Transcripts serve a greater purpose than helping people decipher what was said in a video. Transcription creates a written record of the video or audio. It also creates a clean and clear record of what was spoken. This is a plus when someone presenting the content isn’t polished. Transcription removes the personal ticks, the filler words and the audible distractions that detract from the presentation. The pauses that occur when they try to remember their words or stammering isn’t going to show up in the transcript that you publish online with or without the original video or audio. If there are non-verbal clues essential to understanding the message, a transcriptionist can record them accurately so the intended message is conveyed.
In short, you can publish the transcript elsewhere as valuable content or post it on the same page as the audio or video clip so that casual readers can get the gist without sitting through the entire presentation.
Translation and Transcription
Transcription provides immediate access to the content regardless of their ability to understand what was said. This will improve the enjoyment of the show for those who can’t listen with the sound on or struggle with unfamiliar speech patterns. This is invaluable for people who don’t speak the language well. It is beneficial for others, as well. With transcripts to read along with the text or audio, the audience doesn’t have to figure out what someone muttered or whether the words they heard were really background music.
Transcripts can be given to translator so that they have a clear, concise document to translate for foreign language subtitling. Conversely, a foreign speaker reading a transcript will be able to read directly from the text instead of trying to follow the confusing directions from a director.
Transcription and Accessibility
Transcription allows you to provide the real text for closed captioning, and you don’t have to worry about confusing speech-to-text captions under your video. Then hearing impaired individuals are equally able to keep up with your content. Transcripts can be used to share the narration of your video to someone who has a keyboard that creates Braille. For those with cognitive disabilities that require them to read information in order to absorb it, transcripts are a lifeline to the broader world. One case would be those with attention deficit disorder unable to keep up with a long lecture but can remain engaged if reading the text while listening to the speaker.
Then there’s the fact that businesses that make audio and visual content available in open text format open themselves up to a much broader base of customers. The transcripts posted online will capture more online queries. And if you have saved transcripts of conversations, text messaging sessions and voicemails, you can more easily search your own records for a piece of information.
Transcription and the Need to Document Everything
When you have phone calls or voicemails transcribed, you’ll have a clear record of the interview or discussion in case you need it later on. This information can be emailed to the customer to create a formal record of the discussion and clarify what was decided. Or the transcript can be added to the customer file so that others dealing with their problems have all of the necessary information at their disposal. The transcript of the conversations also creates a permanent record of the event. This avoids a he-said-she-said argument later on, because it is there in writing.
The Future of Transcription
While legal and medical professions still use transcription services to convert their audio recordings to typed-up records, new technologies are increasing the demand for transcription services. Nor has technology reached the point that we can let computers convert that halting conversation to a permanent written record.