Audio Transcription in the Digital Age

Prior to the digital age audio transcription was completed using tape cassettes. Media producers would record their interviews, focus groups, and speeches on a tape and send them to a transcriber. The process would sometimes involve an additional step of exporting footage from a camera or videotape onto an audio cassette.

Nowadays we have the luxury of digital files. Digital audio & video files can easily be sent to a transcriber over an online file sharing service such as Dropbox or Hightail.

Audio specialists & video producers can record a separate digital audio track and send it to a transcriber. Alternatively if you have large video files, you can take the original video file and make a copy of the file without the video track, keeping only the audio. The reason for keeping only the audio is the video track takes up a large amount of hard drive space, and sending the file over the internet is much easier & faster when the file only has audio on it. Also transcribing a high-res video file can slow down a computer that doesn’t have a powerful video driver, if a computer has trouble playing back a video then that will slow down the transcription process.

Transcription has never been easier with the advent of digital audio & video files. Here are the steps to making the transcription process a smooth & efficient one.

  1. Collect your audio or video tracks that need to be transcribed in a folder.
  2. Compress the file(s) by converting it to an MP3 file, if the transcriber needs to see the video track while typing then use a video file format like MP4.
  3. Upload the audio or video file to a file sharing service like Dropbox or Hightail or Google Drive.
  4. Notify the transcriber that the files are online ready to be downloaded for transcription.

Here are the most common file types used in audio transcription:

Audio Files

  • MP3
  • WAV
  • AIFF
  • WMA

Video Files

  • MP4
  • MOV
  • WMV
  • MKV

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