How Academic Transcription Benefits Everyone

By: Verbit Editorial
auditorium full of people

Recent research suggests that the majority of college students with disabilities do not inform their colleges of their disability. There are many reasons why students may prefer not to disclose this information to an institution of higher learning. For example, some students may feel that their disability does not require any specific accommodations. Others may wish to avoid potentially stigmatizing themselves in their academic environment. While the expectation is that no student should feel ostracized or “less than” for disclosing their disability, it’s easy to understand why some may be hesitant to self-identify.

With this in mind, it’s critical for academic institutions to offer certain accommodations proactively. Assistive technologies like captioning and transcription are easy resources to incorporate into campus life and can provide much-needed support to students with certain disabilities and specific learning needs. Tools like academic transcription are also valuable resources for a school’s community at large, as they serve as references and study tools. Additionally, transcripts can make it easier for administrators to maintain and organize their records.

Transcription basics for students and educators 

Transcription refers to the process of converting audio or video recordings to written text. The two primary styles of transcription are verbatim and non-verbatim transcription. Verbatim transcripts convey every audio component of a recording, including pauses, stammers, repeated words and grammatical errors. Non-verbatim transcripts, on the other hand, undergo editing to convey only the main points of a recording. These transcripts will eliminate superfluous or unclear audio components.  

Non-verbatim transcripts can be incredibly useful in academic settings because they can serve as easy-to-follow summary notes of courses or lectures. However, non-verbatim transcripts are not compliant with major accessibility standards and guidelines because they do not depict a recording exactly as it sounded in its original format. For this reason, verbatim transcripts are required to support accessibility guidelines. Verbatim transcripts are also necessary for qualitative research transcription. In this setting, they are best because they accurately reflect information from in interviews, focus groups and more.  

What are Some Uses for Academic Transcription?

Transcripts can serve as a valuable resource in academic settings on a number of fronts. Let’s take a look at a few common uses for academic transcription:  

Academic audio transcription

Transcribing audio recordings of courses, lectures and seminars is a great way to support students of all abilities. Audio transcription is a trusted tool for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing, but all students stand to benefit from having accurate transcripts on hand. Transcripts can also streamline messaging for students in remote or hybrid learning programs. These students benefit because they often tune in for class remotely and must contend with background noise, poor internet connection or other distractions. Providing a readable version of information from these virtual sessions can help safeguard against these potentially compromising factors and provide more equitable messaging for all students.  

Academic interview transcription

Interview transcription is a great way to document information from one-on-one interviews. This style of transcription supports academic advisors, admissions counselors, HR professionals and more. Interviews are often part of the college admissions process, but audio recordings of these interviews are not necessarily easy to reference during subsequent evaluations. Similarly, students pursuing advanced degrees may choose to incorporate interviews into their theses or dissertations. Transcribing these interviews in a written format makes them much easier to reference and incorporate into a final product.  

Academic research transcription

Many learning institutions pride themselves on also being a hub for continuing research efforts. Data transcription can make it easier to reference and synthesize the information gleaned from these initiatives while safeguarding against misinterpretations or misunderstandings that may otherwise occur over the course of lengthy research projects.  

Who Handles Academic Transcription? 

Learning institutions that wish to incorporate academic transcription into their daily operations must select a transcription process or provider that is capable of meeting their needs. Some institutions may attempt to task in-house employees with handling their transcription projects. However, these untrained transcribers are prone to making a number of potentially consequential transcription errors that can reduce the efficacy of the transcripts. As a result, these may fail to support accessibility guidelines adequately.  

Alternatively, there are professional transcribers available for hire. These pros tend to deliver highly accurate final products. However, transcribers are often too expensive to fit into academic budgets. Furthermore, an individual transcriber has fairly limited bandwidth. Large institutions like universities often have several different departments that need transcription services simultaneously. In order to handle this high volume of transcription work, a learning institution would need to hire a large number of transcriptionists. This would likely result in a major financial burden and still may not address the university’s need to scale its transcription efforts in a timely manner.  

Verbit: Making Transcription More Accessible

Institutions seeking a more efficient, cost-effective transcription solution can turn their attention to academic transcription services like Verbit. Verbit’s platform uses a dual approach to transcription that combines the speed of artificial intelligence with the accuracy of professionally-trained human transcribers. This process offers turnaround times as short as 24 hours and results in final transcripts with high accuracy rates. Verbit also offers fully searchable transcripts that make it easy to locate specific points in an audio or video recording. With searchable transcripts, there’s no need to rewind or fast-forward recordings constantly to find relevant sections to reference. 

Verbit’s academic transcription service supports the transcription of existing audio and video recordings, as well as live communications that take place over virtual communication platforms like Zoom and Panopto. Also, Verbit’s software integrates seamlessly with these trusted platforms to further streamline the transcription process.  

In addition to transcription services, Verbit offers a full suite of assistive technologies like captioning, translation and audio description that support all students and faculty members. Proactively offering these accommodations can help to level the playing field and contribute to improved student success rates across the board without requiring students with disabilities to self-identify. Reach out to learn more about why Verbit is a trusted partner of learning institutions and eLearning platforms of all shapes and sizes and discover how academic transcription is helping to create more inclusive learning environments around the world.