Transcription Requirements: A Comprehensive Guide

By: Verbit Editorial
hands typing on a laptop

Almost 92% of consumers report that they watch digital video content every single week, showcasing the reach of this medium. It’s important to keep in mind that this figure includes individuals with disabilities who use assistive technologies like transcription to enjoy content. Transcription creates easily accessible records of internal and external communications while simultaneously boosting the reach of audio and video content.

Adequately supporting the needs of specific industries and their client bases requires careful attention to accuracy. Professional transcribers face high standards, especially when their work serves as an accessibility tool. Here’s your basic guide to the transcription process and requirements, as well as ways to use transcripts to create effective, inclusive communications.

Understanding transcription requirements

Transcription refers to the process of converting audio to text, including audio-only files and audio from video files. Different industries use transcription solutions in unique ways and face various requirements. For example, legal transcription requirements may differ significantly from those of medical transcription or academic transcription.

Offering a written transcript can also help streamline a business’s record-keeping practices and support clients or employees who require assistive technologies.

Essential skills for transcription

Professionally trained transcribers must have a well-honed skill set to produce effective transcripts for their clients. Some must-have transcription skills include:

A keen ear

Transcribers must listen extremely carefully to document everything they hear. A verbatim transcript, for example, must include spoken dialogue and additional audio elements like pauses, stammers, repeated words and more. For this reason, a transcriber must have exceptional listening skills to accurately capture what they hear.

Quick fingers

Transcriptionists must type at remarkably high rates of speed to complete their transcription projects quickly. While there are additional tools and software solutions to help transcribers boost their pace while working, it is crucial that they type at a minimum speed of 60WPM to effectively handle their workload.

Language skills

A transcriber must be extremely proficient in the language they’re transcribing. Often, recordings will feature multiple speakers with unique accents and dialects, which must be carefully dissected to accurately represent the spoken text. Transcribers should be familiar with a wide variety of speech patterns, dialects and intonations, as well as slang and any pertinent industry-specific terminology to create an accurate transcript.

Role of professional transcription services

In addition to individual professional transcribers, businesses and content creators have the option to partner with professional transcription services for their projects. There are several different transcription providers for consumers to choose from, so it’s important to carefully consider the specifics of project before selecting a service.

Verbit is one of the leading transcription providers for businesses across a wide range of industries because of its dedication to accuracy and efficiency. Through its dual approach to transcription, Verbit makes it possible for users to generate a high volume of extremely accurate transcripts in just a matter of hours. Verbit uses both artificial intelligence and a vast network of professionally trained human transcribers to help provide transcription services at scale. Verbit’s platform is designed to develop transcripts with accuracy rates capable of supporting accessibility standards and complies with major data security guidelines like the GDPR.

Equipment and software for transcription

Human transcribers rely on high-tech transcription equipment to help them transcribe lengthy recordings and live communications more effectively. Some examples of transcription equipment include:

  • Ergonomic keyboards for low-strain, high-speed typing
  • Foot pedals for hands-free control of audio recordings
  • High-quality headphones to help eliminate background noise and highlight any and every audio component of a recording
  • Transcription software for simultaneous listening and transcribing without switching between multiple windows or platforms

Industry-specific transcription requirements

There are two primary types of transcription: verbatim transcription and non-verbatim transcription. Verbatim transcripts represent every audio element of a recording without editing or summarizing. On the other hand, non-verbatim transcripts represent the main ideas of a recording rather than each audio element. They may undergo editing to eliminate sounds or other elements that impede the recording’s messaging.

In many industries, verbatim transcription is standard practice to ensure maximum accuracy. Legal transcription requirements often dictate that communications be transcribed verbatim to serve as accurate entries into the legal record. Transcripts of witness testimony should also be transcribed verbatim because nuances in a person’s speech pattern can indicate their state of mind or level of honesty.

Similarly, medical transcription requirements also necessitate verbatim transcription because medical data is susceptible and even minor transcription errors can lead to potentially dangerous missteps like incorrect dosages. Maintaining highly accurate medical records is essential because they may need to be reviewed by multiple providers throughout a patient’s treatment plan, and even seemingly minor miscommunications can have dire consequences. In some academic settings, however, non-verbatim transcription is acceptable if not preferred. For instance, a non-verbatim transcript of a lengthy lecture could be edited to eliminate extraneous information to offer students an easy-to-follow study tool. However, it’s important to note that educators must always provide verbatim transcripts for students with disabilities to deliver equitable educational experiences and support accessibility requirements.

Transcription certification and job requirements

In addition to the transcription job requirements outlined above, some industries require or prefer that transcribers hold professional certifications to work in the field. The American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers is one organization that offers certification pathways for professional court reporters and transcribers. To receive a transcription certification from AAERT, transcribers must demonstrate advanced knowledge of the following:

  • Transcript formatting and proofreading
  • Transcription software and equipment
  • General legal procedures
  • Ethical and professional behavior
  • Vocabulary

Certified transcribers can choose to work independently or may seek to join the ranks of professional transcribers working with services like Verbit.

Ensuring accuracy and confidentiality in transcription

Transcribers working in every industry need to prioritize accuracy of their final transcripts. Transcription is one of the most valuable resources available to business leaders seeking to improve the accessibility of their communications, but not all transcripts are created equal. Accurate transcription is necessary to adequately support accessibility guidelines. Without careful review and editing, transcripts often fail to deliver equitable messaging for those who need them.

In addition, transcribers are often tasked with handling sensitive data from medical records, legal proceedings, financial calls and more. For this reason, transcribers and transcription services need to prioritize confidentiality in transcription throughout every step of the process. This may require high levels of data encryption or other security measures. Verbit, for example, uses sophisticated technology to protect files. Also, with Verbit, each transcriber or editor has their own account with solid credentials to prevent account breaches.

Conclusion: Meeting the requirements for successful transcription

Transcription can significantly improve the quality of recorded and live communications for businesses and content creators across every industry. Transcribing information from audio or video supports audience members and consumers of diverse backgrounds and abilities. Still, it can only do so when the process is accurate, secure and efficient.

Verbit is dedicated to delivering highly accurate transcripts with industry-leading turnaround times without compromising clients’ sensitive data security. Verbit’s professionally trained human transcribers can tackle various transcription projects to help business leaders scale their accessibility initiatives and foster more effective communication. If you’re interested in learning more about what sets Verbit apart, reach out today to speak to a member of our team.