Difference between Legal Transcription and Court Reporting

There are some people who do not differentiate between legal transcriptionists and court reporters and think that the 2 professionals are similar. Although they have some similarities there are also major differences. One of the main differences is that the court reporter transcribes speech that is in real time and a transcriptionist on the other hand deal with recorder speech. The later is at an advantage because they can replay the speech they are working with to get all the words correctly. In addition to this, the 2 jobs require different educational backgrounds.

Court reporters

The primary duty of the court reporters is to deal with real time verbatim transcription of the speech that is happening in court real time. In addition to this, they are some duties they are supposed to perform depending on the judge that they are working with. Some of the additional tasks they perform include:

  • Preparing documents and any other administrative duties that they are supposed to work on.
  • Administering oaths to the witnesses on the stands
  • Providing notary public services
  • Real time reporting on the things that have been recorded already
  • Additional research for the items that have been entered into records.

Regardless of the court reporting method that has been used i.e. (voice writing, stenotype reporting) the educational requirements are basically the same. Certification, licensure and formal schooling are a must. You need to go through academic programs for 2-4 years and some of the classes include business law, medical vocabulary, legal research, legal terminologies and procedures and the English language mechanics and grammar. There are some states that require the reporters to have certifications while others need licenses from legal associations. Certificates are awarded when you pass exams.

Legal transcriptionists

There is no formal degree or certification that is required for a person to work as a transcriptionist. It is however important to have some background information on the topic to make work easier. Most legal transcriptionists tend to specialize in the field to do the best work. The professionals do not work in a court room as they work in companies that offer the transcription services.

Court reporters who work outside the courtroom

The court reporters many also work as freelancers. Other than the courthouse they can also work for government agencies, corporations and other organizations. They are needed to transcribe speech in real time when they attend functions like seminars, meetings and press conferences. More on legal transcription

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

10 Must Have Skills for a Professional Digital Audio Transcriptionists

  1. Listening- a transcriptionists has to be a keen listener so that they can decipher everything that has been said. They work on single speaker to multiple participant speaker recordings. They also work with heavy accents, and people who speak too fast or too slow.
  2. Problem solving- you will face daily challenges while working as a transcriptionists. It is important to know the difference between garbled speech, decipher mumbled, multiple speakers. You will also need to know how to deal with any background noises. There are some tricks that you need to have up your sleeve to deal with really difficult audio. This is where you might even need to carry out some research to know what you are doing.
  3. Quality control– this is where you have to be attentive to all details and maintain consistency throughout all the work that you are doing. This is because people are always keen to spot the mistakes you have made after all they are paying you to do the work. Be attentive to note some of the mistakes the client has made.
  4. English language- it is important to have excellent command of spoken and written English including spelling and grammar. This includes words that have the same pronunciation but different meanings.
  5. Time management- you have to make sure that you work within deadlines to ensure that all the projects you are working on are finished on time.
  6. Speed and accuracy- you have to know how to type really fast and be accurate at the same time to finish more work within a short period of time.
  7. Industry knowledge- there are some professionals who decide to work on specific fields like legal or medical transcription and this requires them to have a little background knowledge on the field to carry out your tasks effectively.
  8. Discretion/ non disclosure- you have to have high levels of discretion to ensure that the clients work is safe and does not get into unauthorized hands.
  9. PC and internet skills- this is very important as there are the tools that will be used for the job as well as communication with clients. You also need to know how to send the projects to the clients without too much hustle.
  10. Specialized equipment and software- you need to be aware of the latest equipment as well as software that can help make your work easier and faster.

It is also important to note that skills improve with time as you work.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

Using Adobe Premiere for Speech Transcription

Other than human labor, it is also possible to transcribe speech into text using Adobe premiere CS4 & sound booth CS4. In addition to this, motion graphics fire power can also be used with the after effects CS4. Speech can be transcribed from a Quicktime video to come up with the subtitles needed. To get this done, you will need:

  • Adobe Premiere Pro CS4
  • Barackin.mov

Creating transcription in Adobe Premiere CS4

Start a new project:

  1. Begin the Adobe Premiere Pro
  2. Select New Project from the Welcome Screen
  3. Specify the name and location of the project in the New Project Panel
  4. Click OK
  5. Select DV- NTSC Standard 48 kHz in a New Sequence dialogue box
  6. Click OK

Importing the video clip

  1. Select file > import then move to the BarackIn.mov clip
  2. Import the video file to the Premiere by double clicking on it
  3. Double click on it once it is on location to have it open at the Source Monitor
  4. Use transport controls in the Source Monitor to view the video for a few seconds. Pay close attention to the audio when doing this to judge whether a good job will be done at the end.

Open MetaData View

  1. Select the Metadata window to see whether it is enabled
  2. Check to see whether it has 3 headings i.e. clip, file and speech.

Creating the Transcription


  1. Ensure the clip has been selected and highlighted on the project panel and proceed to click on the transcribe command.
  2. You will get a number of options where you are supposed to set the appropriate setting according to the content of the video
  3. Select between high quality processing that is usually slower and medium quality processing that is normally faster.
  4. You can select identify speakers if you are dealing with more than one speaker.
  5. Click OK
  6. Adobe Media Encoder handles transcription in Adobe Soundbooth and Adobe Premiere and it launches automatically when you have completed the transcription dialog.
  7. The clip should be set in the correct format when it is loaded into Adobe Media Encoder
  8. Click on Start Queue command
  9. The Encoder encodes the clip while adding the speech transcription metadata on to the video file.

You can work with the new transcription Metadata to correct some of the mistakes made in the transcript.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

Defining the Intelligent Verbatim Transcription Process

Intelligent verbatim transcription can be defined as the process of converting any type of recorded speech into text format and cutting out any redundant phrases and words.

Not everyone is able to speak in coherent and logical sentences that have a clear begging, middle and end. You will notice that there are lots of gaps that are left out when you listen to people having a conversation especially if a person’s train of thought takes them somewhere else. One word can also be repeated a number of times as a person seek to find the best way to express themselves. Another example of a pause for thought is usually represented by some filler expressions like you know, sort of, kind of etc.

There are times when it is vital to capture everything that a person says including the pauses, fillers, repeats and the ‘ers’ and ‘ums’. This is what is referred to as verbatim transcription that is mostly required when studying all the details that happened in a certain situation or in legal context like transcribing the recordings of the words that were spoken by a pilot right before the plane crashed.

You will notice that most of the transcription however is focused on capturing the meaning of what was said not necessarily how it was said exactly in a process that is called Intelligent verbatim transcription. When you are converting interview or speech into text one of the most important priorities is to capture the words that have being spoken not capturing all the words that have been used.

Intelligent verbatim transcription permits, repeats, filler words and other irrelevant material to be cut out.

Flavor of the speech is however not messed up with as the changes in direction and sentences that are half complete are usually included. It is the work of the transcriber to avoid making grammatical corrections as well as making small deletions and additions that they think will improve the entire project. The professionals are supposed to remain objective and only get rid of the material that is irrelevant and clearly surplus.

Intelligent verbatim transcription usually costs less that the traditional type of transcription as it is usually less detailed. It also does not take up a lot of time when it comes to transcription. This allows a person to save both time and money that can be used for other important duties. Always make sure that you best the best person for the transcription job to get a great end product.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

5 Simple Speech-to-Text Solutions

It is possible to use Amazon Technical Turk for transcription especially when dealing with digital audio, but this might not be ethical. Quality is one of the main reasons why you need to carefully choose the transcription method that can be used to do the job right.

There are several reasons why a person might not want to make use of the keyboard when they want to text. They may have to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome, which is essentially a tingling or numb sensation. You might want to add something on the list you want to work with which is not near the PC. You might also have a conversation that has been recorded, but it is needed in text format. Finally, you might also be curious to know how the latest software and hardware tools work.

There are very many people who work on the transcription project and you not only need to upload the work on Amazon Mechanical Turk as there other online resources that can be used like Castings Words, Transcription Wave, Kedrowski transcription and Purple Shark to name but a few. The services usually do not come by cheaply as they mostly concentrate on high end clients who deal with media, law and medicine but they usually guarantee convenience and accuracy. Transcription Wave seems to be most accurate and cost efficient.

You can also try out the machine based jobs where certain software is used for the transcription job. This article will enlighten you on some of the options that can be used. Like:

Google voice

The service does not charge for use but the accuracy produced is not something to write home about. This is however bound to be better as they continue to offer the service. If you have a Google Voice account all the voicemails are transcribed are sent to your Gmail inbox. It is mostly ideal when you have short projects as it does not handle long projects well.


This is similar to Google voice as it allows a person to call a certain number and speak the work that is supposed to be transcribed. This however is not free of charge as a person needs to choose from the various subscriptions they offer.

Dragon dictation

This is a free application that comes with the iPhone and iTouch. This is great when working with brief email social media update or text message.

MacSpeech Dictate

This is a desktop application that is found with the Mac machines. It is quite impressive when it comes to speech recognition and accuracy. It is however not cheap to use.

Dragon Naturally Speaking

This works out well for the windows environment, and it is quite affordable to use.

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.

Make High Quality Recordings – Save on Transcription Costs

The quality of the audio recording material is one of the most important things when it comes to cost and time when looking for a professional company to carry out transcription of the audio files into text based documents. It is therefore vital to ensure that the audio material is of high quality when you first begin.

Time Equals Cost

Transcription outsourcing companies normally hire qualified and professional transcriptionists who have been highly trained. These are people, who have had various qualifications in different fields like public sectors, medical, commercial, research, legal and academics among many others with high typing speeds of more than 70wpm. There has to be diversity in the professional fields to match the projects the clients dish out.

Transcriptionists normally have experience in handling good and bad audio tapes. The cost of the transcription however mostly depends on the quality of the audio file followed by other factors like the content of the material that has been handed in as a project and whether the people working in it will have to dig deep into the industry’s terminologies. The factors make sure that accuracy and time are equal to the cost.

The rule of the thumb in the industry

Technically, individuals speak 4 times faster than they can type. It therefore requires 4 hours to transcribe 60 minutes of an audio recording. This is based generally on standard lack of background noise, high quality audio and voice clarity- the industry uses this as an example for the transcription basis. Dependent on the scale and content of the audio recordings it may take more time because of other factors that may affect the project.

Factors that affect transcribing timescales and cost of the audio recording material

  • More research into the industry or company
  • Content of the technical terminology that has been used on the material
  • Accents of the person/s speaking
  • Number of people talking
  • Speech the person/s uses to speak
  • Voice of the person/s conversing
  • The recordings clarity and background noise.

As it has been shown by the example above, these are some of the factors that are normally put in mind and accessed by the agencies before they can start the transcription process.

Two important steps for creating high quality audio

The factors that are shown above can shape the money that is spent as well as the amount of time that will be spent when transcribing the audio material. However, there are a few steps that can be followed to save on the money spent on transcription by following the methods that are explained below so that you can come up with great quality for the audio recordings as well as offer all important details about the material that will be handed in for transcription to the company that will be handling the project.

Step 1: coming up with top notch audio recordings

When recording dictation, always run a test that will be used to identify the audio levels that will be used. It is usually advisable to use a digital voice recorder or a desk top recorder. You can also use recorders that are hand held but it is important to make use that a new tape is used for all the dictation sessions.

You can get a recorder that can be used with external microphones especially if you are dealing with more than one person.

Additional microphones should be used if there are more than 3 people.

Set fast control speeds when using analogue tape by reducing the “tape his”.

Get rid of any background noise when carrying out the recording as the noise usually messes up with the quality of the recording thus increasing the time that will be used for transcription which will also increase the money that will have to be paid.

Recording time can be reduced when housekeeping information like breaks, fire exits and serving of lunch are noted down before starting on the entire process.

Do not forget to press the stop button when you are not recording especially during breaks so as to save space on the tape without recording unnecessary material.

All the speakers should be asked to introduce themselves stating their full names tiles and organizations they are working for.
Speakers should not talk over one another.

The speakers should also ensure that there is no background noise which can be caused by eating and shuffling papers which can affect the quality of the recording. Recording should be stopped when the speakers need refreshments.

Where possible use digital equipment to record the material as it has numerous advantages over the analogue ones.

Digital recording is more superior as there are no problems of tape hiss.

Digital material can be copied a number of times without messing up with the quality.

It is possible to know the exact time that was spent when recording as they usually note down the words per minute. (This helps to know the amount of money that will be spent for the transcription process). There are various kinds of digital recording files that can be used and they can be uploaded easily into a number of websites as well as transferred from one user to another thus they save time since they don’t have to be converted to other formats.

Step 2: Get a list of all the important details of the audio material

Come up with a list of all the people who are participating in the conference, interview or whatever event that you want to record.

The list should have the full names of the participants spelled out correctly with their relevant information like the organizations that they work with, their professional titles, like manager, Dr etc, their gender and all the details that you deem relevant when it comes to the participants.

The moderators’ full details should also be included as he/ she is the person who leads the meeting.

There are some people who make comments but are not in the meeting, do not forget to include this while making the lists.

It would also be great if you made a list of the people who are talking in the meeting in an orderly way. For example

First speaker: Dr. Alexandra Wells (Medical Research Director)- name of institution they represent

Second Speaker: Mr. Adam Smith (Director Of medical Resources) – institution he words for

This usually makes the transcription work much easier thus reducing the costs.

When it is time to hand over the Audio material

Good transcription agencies will make sure they consult with you in depth when you give them the project, identifying the areas that may need deeper research, requesting list of all the participants and speakers, list of terminologies, any potential problems so that they can come up with the charges that you are supposed to pay them when they are done working on the project. You can talk to them about the budget that you have to ensure that their charges are in line with it so as not to pay extra money. Always make sure that you work with a reputable company that will do the job perfectly. More on interview transcription

Jessica Miller, Marketing Head in Transcriptionwave, General Transcription Services Company in the US.