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What is audio transcription, and who needs it?

Matthew Patel
Matthew Patel
Posted in Zoom Jul 30 · 1 Aug, 2015
What is audio transcription, and who needs it?

While the term ’audio transcription’ is mostly self-explanatory, sometimes it’s still unclear who uses it and for what purposes. In addition, although it might appear that audio transcriptions are mainly done for interviews or seminars, which is true, as it is the most popular sub-category, there is a wide variety of other usages as well. As a matter of fact, various industries find this service quite beneficial. 

What Is Audio Transcription and Who Can Benefit From It

Transcription entails converting the content of a recorded audio or video file into text. These can be interviews, speeches, meetings, academic research materials, court recordings, and countless other types of recordings.

For this reason, the transcriptions can be classified into categories. Here are several examples of how, where, and by whom audio transcriptions are used.

Legal Transcription

This kind of transcription focuses on audio or video recordings from the legal environment. It requires experience, specialized knowledge of legal terminology, and high accuracy. The transcribed texts are regarded as documents comprised of coherence, motions, disclosures, time entries, pleadings, and memoranda.

Moreover, they can be recordings of last wills and testaments, reports, police interrogations, witness examinations, and witness statements, interviews, bankruptcies, appeals, trials, wiretaps, phone calls, draftsman bills, disciplinary hearings, tribunals, leases, probate forms, legal-medical reports, affidavits, court proceedings, contracts, adjudication panel hearings, advice and depositions.

The documents are used by such legal professionals as lawyers, attorneys, judges, paralegals, solicitors, tax advisors, police officers, legal investigators, legal writers, etc.

Medical Transcription

Similar to the previous category, medical transcriptions are also used specifically for this field. Although transcriptionists aren’t required to have the same education as doctors have, being familiar with medical terminology is crucial. The main reason for the increasing need for this kind of transcription stems from doctors having busy schedules.

To be more precise, seeing dozens of patients every day requires time for writing down all the needed information. Therefore, instead of doing that, nurses, doctors, physicians, private medical consultants, GPs, and other medical professionals record their observations, procedures, patient interviews, research, and then have someone else produce a hard copy of the document, which plays an important role in record keeping.

Moreover, transcriptions of dissertations, symposiums, consultation reports, clinical notes, psychiatric evaluations, and medical correspondence are also quite popular in this field. Medical transcription can also focus on a specific branch of medicine: oncology, endocrinology, hematology, pediatrics, cardiology, psychology, odontology, psychiatry, nephrology, immunology, nutrition, etc. It is common for hospitals, doctor’s offices, care facilities, and many other places to use this service.

Academic Transcription

The content of this category is mainly used for academic purposes or is from that field. There are countless examples of how you can take advantage of academic transcription, but the most common are recording lectures and seminars. Another widely used way of benefitting from this service is getting a written version of interviews, focus group discussions or studies, conferences, researches, speeches, theses, or dissertations transcriptions, which can be beneficial for professors, graduate or Ph.D. students, and other academics.

Business Transcription

When running a hectic business, it might become too complicated to keep track of various deals, agreements, and communications that are being carried out within the company. While taking notes during meetings or brainstorming sessions is possible, a full text document guarantees that none of the discussed points will be forgotten or, even worse, lost.

This is where audio transcriptions come in handy. Recordings of interviews, meetings, presentations, analyst’s calls, quarterly earnings calls, teleconferences, product launch conferences, management consulting, panel discussions, training sessions, and market research projects can be easily transcribed, reassuring that none of the details are omitted.

Media Transcription

These transcriptions deal specifically with audiovisual media. Compared to medical and legal transcriptions, where audio or video files might contain dictated material, this kind of transcription might be made of raw footage. It might include descriptions of scenes, speakers, or even music specifications. The film, television, and publishing industries are thriving, and the information is being rapidly transferred to the internet, which means the audiences are also increasing. As a result, turning recordings into texts will benefit the client (media firms, writers, journalists, and others) when there is a need to provide subtitles, closed captions, and distribute written texts to large numbers of people.

Some specific examples of acquiring text documents of audio or video files are from television, radio broadcasts, news programs, commercials, interviews, films, public forums, press conferences, YouTube, Vimeo, podcasts, talk shows, reality shows, broadcasts, theatre performances, game shows, webcasts, webinars, podcasts, documentaries, conventions, and audio interviews.

Financial Transcription

At first glance, it might appear that we should integrate this section into the business transcription category, but there’s one important point that needs to be taken into account (pun intended). Although being precise is essential in any category, accidentally writing down the wrong number in this kind of transcription might affect the well-being of any client’s company. Therefore it must be kept in mind that finances fluctuate, and in order to maintain an audit properly, adequate documentation is required.

These documents include annual meetings, investor relations, financial analysis, financial reports, company annual reports, earnings calls, press releases, business surveys, interim results, press conferences, seminars, training, interviews, analyst interviews, and discussions. Some of the clients that require financial transcriptions are banks, accountants, company doctors, regulatory bodies, building societies, compliance companies, business schools, corporations, finance advisers, webcast providers, finance portals and management consultants.

Video Production Translation

We’re all obsessed with consuming video content. According to YouTube, people watch over a billion hours on the platform every day! Transcription is a critical component of the video production industry because many of us enjoy video content without using audio. The reasons for this practice vary between accessibility, environmental limitations, personal preferences. Hence, precise captioning and subtitling are necessary.

Including captions and subtitles in your video content is a time-consuming process if you’ve never done it before. Typing up every spoken word in a video isn’t exactly the easiest thing to do. With a specialized transcription service, you can get a video transcript, captions, or subtitles that are properly formatted and adjusted to your video content, so you can use them out of the box!

Market Research & User Experience (UX)

The modern world is more connected than ever, so the need for transcription in the marketing and user experience (UX) world keeps growing. A modern business needs to know its target audience inside out. With ruthless competition and customer loyalty lower than ever, a brand can’t afford any mistakes.

One of the ways for companies to get to know their target market is UX testing. Many brands out there often send sample products to their patrons in exchange for their honest feedback. This is where transcription comes in. Focus groups and UX testing interviews with your existing and new clients need to be recorded and analyzed adequately. This feedback is priceless in helping businesses improve their existing products and services or developing new ones.


There also are other cases when it’s not possible to put audio transcriptions into categories. They might include recordings of individual dictated notes, public forums, and even improvised songs and voice mails. Of course, some of the mentioned sub-categories can overlap. For example, interviews can be done for medical, academic, business, or any other category.