What is Transcription?

What is transcription? Transcription is a business service where live or recorded audio or video is put into a typed format or text. Transcription was originally created and designed to assist in the manufacturing process in the 1960s.

General transcription services are provided for businesses, academic institutions, creative or for entertainment purposes and many other fields.  The most widespread type of transcription is from spoken word to text, such as an audio file being typed into a revisable text document.

Examples of general transcription include transcribing audio from conferences, events, speeches and meetings where the voice is put into text.  Some companies also transcribe recordings that are on cassette, CD, VHS, or electronic sound files sent via the Internet.

what is transcription, people looking at a computer

Many individuals and organizations have different rates and pricing models for transcription services.  Rates typically vary from per line, per word, per minute or per hour pricing structure which varies across different specialties, work types and audio means.

Several turn-around time (TAT) options are available and typically range from 4 hours to 24 hours for standard TAT.  Of course turn-around times and pricing may vary depending upon other factors; including, but not limited to, audio quality, pitch, volume level, English as a second language, background noise and the number of individuals speaking.

In the United States, transcription is one of the fastest growing most suitable jobs for independent individuals.  Five years ago, around 14 million transcriptionists were working in the US.  By 2015, this number is projected to grow by another 3 million.1 General transcription work can be a good choice for people wanting to work from home, who want flexible hours, who are retired or someone who wants to earn additional income.

Transcription jobs were originally much more difficult than today because notes were taken by hand in person as opposed to today where audio files can be sent, shared, and stored all across the world thanks to the Internet.

During the 1970s, cassette tapes and handheld recorders made access to transcription more convenient.  For example, audio could now be sent in the mail directly to the transcriptionists.  Instead of being present at the physical location of the client, transcriptionists could now fulfill work for different clients in their own home and maximize their work load.

Nowadays, with technology like it is people can have almost anything transcribed within hours.  Recording sound can be accomplished by several different means and supported by multiple formats such as wma, DSS, Wave, MP3s.

Recordings can be uploaded to a computer and emailed as an attachment anywhere in the world.  With today’s technology, transcriptionists can replay and rewind the audio in order to complete the report.  Once completed, the transcribed report can be emailed back for printing and distribution or retrieved from a secure web based platform.

1. “Transcription (service).” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. 18 February 2011. Web. 25 May 2011. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transcription_(service)

Examples of General Transcription Services

Business & Academic
  • Academic Research
  • Boardroom discussions
  • Business meetings
  • Closed Captioning
  • Conference Calls Depositions Dissertations Earning calls
  • Education
  • Employee survey
  • Focus Groups Insurance claims
  • Multiple speaker transcription
  • One on One Interviews
  • Press briefings
  • Radio shows
  • Seminars / Conferences
  • Sermons/Preaching
  • Speeches / Lectures
  • Telephone calls Training session
  • Mobile device recordings
  • Verbatim Transcripts


  • Embedded Transcripts
  • Entertainment
  • YouTube videos Instant encoded captions
  • Interviews / Voice memos
  • Journalistic Interviews
  • Movie script / Film
  • Online streaming video
  • Podcast / Webcast
  • Time coding / Time stamping
  • Transcript Synchronization
  • Video Subtitling
  • Video with closed captions
  • Webinar
  • Market Research
  • Advertising research findings
  • Building Survey Reports
  • Competitor analysis sessions
  • Condition Reports
  • Consumer forums
  • Customer analysis Sessions
  • Direct Response Television infomercials
  • Disabled Access Audits
  • Focus groups
  • Home Buyer Reports
  • Market Survey research recordings
  • One to one interviews
  • Opinion polls
  • Product research Audio
  • Recorded telephone interviews
  • Risk analysis session
  • Small group sessions
  • Structural Reports
  • Telephone Survey campaigns

In short, examples of business & academic transcription include verbatim recordings of conferences, lectures, meetings, and seminars. Alternatively, examples of multimedia transcription encompass captivating podcasts, YouTube videos, webinars, etc.

Ditto Transcripts is a Denver, Colorado-based transcription services company that provides fast, accurate and reliable services for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call 720.287.3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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