Did you know that transcribing audio and video content can directly improve SEO? Transcribing all those interviews, podcasts, webinars, videos you put online and posting them alongside your content will help you get quick SEO benefit [1]. Whether you’re a PhD candidate or a research analyst conducting multiple focus groups or a series of in-depth interviews, having the conversations transcribed is invaluable for reporting.

Transcription involves listening to a recording of something and typing the contents up into a document, which is then returned to the client, giving them a written record of what’s on the recording.

The time it takes to transcribe a recording depends on several factors like speed at which the people are talking, number of people involved in the conversation, recording clarity (background noise should be minimal) and clarity of the person speaking.

Currently, there are three main transcription options available:

  • Using Automatic Transcription Software
  • Manual Transcription
  • Outsourcing transcripts

Automatic Transcription Software

Happy Scribe is a transcription tool that costs just $.10 a minute (1/10 of the cost of human-powered services). It works with 80 languages and accents and over 4,000 journalists and researchers have already used the service[1]. For 9p per minute, you will upload your recording, receive the transcription back in under 30 minutes, and be given access to an editing tool. This tool allows you to play the recording as you edit, highlighting the text as it goes, and timestamps beside the paragraphs help you easily find your place in the recording to edit the transcription as fast and easily as possible[2].

Manual Transcription

Individuals not technology are creating a transcript. When accuracy is mandatory, like in the medical and legal field or even media companies that require closed-captioning, manual transcription has too many perks to ignore. It ensures that intricate contextual variations are considered and errors are minimised[1]. Although it has a high success rate, the time it takes to transcribe even a small piece of information is a lot. Voice recognition is entirely based on algorithms designed to read the clearly spoken speech by sound patterns to a dictionary-like database in a controlled environment, however, it cannot pick up cultural intonations and variations in dialect as accurately as a manual transcribe would do[2].

Outsourcing and Delegating Transcripts

For transcribing phone calls, or interactions involving two or more speakers outsourcing to a company dealing with conversation or call analytics can prove helpful. Their biggest advantage is the ability to split audio into two channels and deliver lots of surrounding data. It is a quick way of collecting data for further research and use and helps reduce capital investments, costs and overheads. Further, hiring specialists reduces the burden on the company, enabling the entire process to be carried out in a more structured manner.

Conclusion: Representation of audible and visible data into written form is an interpretive process which involves making judgments. Decisions about transcribing are guided by the methodological assumptions underpinning a particular project, and there are therefore many different ways to transcribe the same data.


Saikruti Kesipeddi (saikruti.kesipeddi2@mail.dcu.ie)

Akanksha Tiwari (akanksha.tiwari2@mail.dcu.ie)

Sumer Jagda (sumer.jagda2@mail.dcu.ie)