To Transcribe Audio Recordings You Need Skill and a Lot of Patience

Some Transcribed Audio Statements Can be Amusing But That’s Not What You Want

As an investigator, detective, or a reporter you’ve probably taken your share of recorded statements.  You may typically require a handwritten summary only, sometimes though, it’s important to transcribe audio to text of a critical witness interview.

Statements aren’t meant to provide comic relief; but occasionally, when an office clerk or assistant attempts to transcribe audio statements to text, the misspelled, misused, and misinterpreted words can add a hint of amusement to an otherwise serious day.  Except that’s probably not what you want.

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When a witness says “contusion” and the transcriber spells it “confusion,” it can make you laugh… a little.  If the witness says “a car full of teens” and it’s transcribed as “a careful of tens,” you might giggle at first.  But then you’ll have to make corrections and send the transcript back for a retype.  That’s not funny at all because every correction takes time, effort, and the cost of labor for the persons involved.

To Transcribe Audio well is a skill

It’s great if you have a team-player on staff who is willing to do your transcription work.  But you should understand that not every typist, clerk, or assistant can transcribe audio as well as trained transcriptionists can.

To transcribe audio is more than just typing.  It requires a good ear, good judgment, and a willingness to type what’s said, not what a person thinks has been or should be said.  A transcriber must do word-for-word transcriptions of regional dialects, foreign accents, poor grammar, strange names, and words he’s never heard before.

If he works for a police investigator, he must be able to transcribe audio of criminal terminology and gruesome crime details.  For doctors, he must properly transcribe audio and spell medical conditions, drug names, and complicated medical terms.  For insurance claim professionals, he must accurately spell vehicle models, accident descriptions, and insurance policy jargon.  To transcribe audio for the legal profession, he could be called upon to transcribe audio of a mix of all of these things, with a Latin word or two thrown in for good measure.


It takes a lot of skill to accurately and professionally transcribe audio into the needed document.  It’s no wonder that some transcribed documents may contain an amusing error or two.

Transcribing services should be accurate and cost efficient

If you work with a small staff, your transcription duties are likely performed by a typist who is willing to add that task to an existing workload of letters and other documents.  You might even do it yourself to save money.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with DIY transcription.  The process can be efficient and cost effective when you do it in-house, but you might not get the professional results you want.  If you hire a full time transcriptionist to transcribe audio, you’d gain in accuracy and professionalism, but adding a salaried employee might not be cost efficient, especially if you don’t require transcription services on a daily basis.

The outsourcing option

If you have transcription duties that require a professional touch, it makes sense to outsource the work to professionals.  An outsourcing transcription team will give you fast, accurate turnaround for an economical price.

Cloud-based submission systems allow you to submit your audio digitally.  Transcriptionists experienced in your specialty–legal, medical, criminal, insurance–listen to your audio and transform it to text in the document format of your choice.

Quality control experts review each transcript for accuracy, and you can receive the finished document by email.  Of course, you might miss those occasional transcription funnies, but you probably don’t want those anyway.

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