Transcription of Audio and Video

“I can highly recommend Maggie. She undertook most of the transcriptions for my current book and also provided editing feedback. She handled the material with total accuracy and offered very fast turnaround. It was a pleasure to work closely with her. Far and away the best transcription service I’ve ever used, which made my editing so much the easier. My work includes interviews which are highly sensitive and personal and I can completely trust Maggie’s confidentiality.”

– Laura Dodsworth, Photographer, Storyteller, Creatrix

At Maggie Berney Office Services we specialise in scientific transcription but have experience in a wide range of other subjects and formats including interviews, focus groups, conferences and oral history projects.

What type of transcription do I need?

Generally speaking, there are three main types of transcription: intelligent verbatim, complete verbatim or edited, and of these the most commonly used is intelligent verbatim.

Intelligent verbatim

An intelligent verbatim transcription will include any idioms and colloquialisms that the speaker uses and any unfinished sentences but will leave out all the hesitations and fillers such as ‘you know what I mean?’ This makes the transcription tidier and easier to read without losing the original feel of it.

Complete verbatim

In contrast, a complete verbatim transcription will include every single thing that is said, exactly as it is uttered, including all the ‘um’s, ‘er’s, ‘you know’s and other verbal clutter. When a sentence is started three times in different ways as the speaker works out what he or she wants to say, every word will make it down onto the page as will every laugh, pause and nervous giggle. In practical terms this is the most difficult type of transcription to provide as the human brain naturally filters out a lot of the verbal junk that we use all the time. Consequently, complete verbatim takes much longer to complete and is therefore significantly more expensive.

Unless the transcript will be used to study the particular use of language or dialect or is required for legal reasons, there is generally little benefit to having a complete verbatim transcription. Such a document is generally not easy to read or use once it has been produced.

Edited transcription

Finally, in an edited transcript the transcriptionist really tidies the work up. All repeated words and half sentences are taken out, contractions such as ‘ain’t’ are rephrased into more grammatically correct language and convoluted sentences can be shortened or broken up into different sentences to aid ease of reading. This style is useful where a more polished transcription is required, perhaps for the purposes of publishing the proceedings of a conference or an interview or seminar.

How long does it take to transcribe my audio file?

As a rule of thumb, it will take around four hours to produce an intelligent verbatim transcription of one hour of audio, assuming that the recording is clear and there are no more than two or three speakers. 

What factors influence the cost and the turnaround time?

There are several factors that can influence the time it takes to transcribe a file or the cost for doing so. These can include, but are not limited to, the type of transcription required, as discussed above; the number of participants; the sound quality of the recording, including the amount of background noise and/or the use of a lot of unusual vocabulary, for instance industry specific terms or abbreviations.

How can I send my large audio files to you?

Most audio files are too large to email. We recommend using a shared Dropbox which can also be used for the finished transcripts. However, we are also happy to use other file-sharing sites such as SendThisFile or WeTransfer. Please feel free to contact us to discuss your requirements.