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Transcription of Audio/Video Content and Why it’s Needed

There is more than one way to transcribe audio or video content and a variety of reasons why you might want a transcription document. Read on to learn the basic practices of transcription and why it’s needed.

What is transcription?

A transcription is a document created by typing (or writing) everything that is heard from either an audio or video. The transcript can be an exact word for word document, or the transcriptionist can clean up certain parts of the speech. They do this by removing things like ‘ehh’, ‘ooh’ and ‘mmh’ that are heard but are not necessary in the document.

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When transcription is needed?

There are many reasons a transcription for audio or video content may be needed. Check out some of the examples below:

  • Transcribing audio content for the deaf or hard of hearing.

Being a brand that offers accessibility alternatives to those with hearing impairments not only enhances corporate social responsibility and improves the brand image but has the potential to open up services to a whole new audience.

  • Transcribing audio for subtitles or closed captions.

To create subtitles or closed captions you need a full transcription document from the video. We’ll then use the transcript to add time-code markers that will reference what is being said at concrete times in the video. This means that the subtitles or closed captions will appear on screen at the exact time it’s supposed to. The transcript may need to be condensed further to work as subtitles as there is a character limit implemented.

  • Transcribing audio for voice over.

We transcribe the speech when the final voice over needs to be time-synced to a video. This means the timing of the voice over speech will match up with specific timings in the video and therefore be in sync with what is happening on screen. This is a common requirement when translating the voice over in corporate videos or explainers.

  • Transcribing for translation purposes.

The first step of translation is always transcribing. Once we have the time codes in place for subtitle or voice over use, we can then use that same transcription document to create as many different foreign language versions as required. The time code stamps will stay the same in every language and will mark where each section of speech starts and ends. This is important as the translator may have to condense the translation to fit in with the voice over or subtitle timings so that they still match up with what’s on screen.

  • A verbatim transcript can be kept for legal, technical, or as a professional reference

A transcript of your audio or video content can be kept for reference so that any section of the transcript can easily be referred to.

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How do you create an audio transcription?

Transcription work is performed by a trained transcriber, and the method used, will depend on the intended use. Will the transcription be used for reference only, or will the transcription also need to be time-coded, so that it can be used to create a voice-over script or subtitling document?

If the transcription doesn’t require time-codes to be added, the transcriber won’t need any specialist software. In this case, any trained audio typist should be able to produce the transcription.

However, if the transcript is being created from a video, for voice-over or subtitles translation, the transcriber will need the right software and training, to time-code the script appropriately.

Typically, transcription for subtitling work is much more time intensive, as the time-codes must be logged in hours:minutes:seconds:frames, and the transcriber will need to allow enough time for the viewer to read each “subtitle” on screen.

Still need to pick our brains about your transcription project?

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