Posts Categorized: Audio Transcription

Transcripts and closed captions for STEM content: What to consider

The benefits of closed captions and transcripts as learning aids have been extolled by more than 100 studies. Typically, STEM (Science, technology, engineering, and medical) content focuses on real-world issues and problems and is characterized by the open invitation to enquire, explore, and learn. Essentially, transcripts and captions make complex STEM content accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community, more immersive to regular learners, as well as more approachable to laymen.

In this article, we’ll explore what STEM content creators and publishers should consider before integrating transcripts and captions into their workflow.

Which STEM content should you transcribe and caption?

1. Video extracts and video bytes

Video is a powerful medium that helps to instantly engage and inform viewers. So when businesses world over are leveraging videos as marketing content, why should the STEM industry be left behind?

Video extracts are short multimedia presentations of the key findings of a research paper specifically intended to increase the reach of a study. Video bytes, on the other hand,  are typically shorter and break down complex STEM material to make it accessible to stakeholders beyond academia, for example, journalists and popular science writers. So, adding closed captions will definitely boost the reach and comprehension of such STEM content.

2. Classroom lectures, E-learning videos, and other publicly consumed STEM videos

According to an Oregon University study, 98.6% students stated that they find captions and transcripts a helpful aid. Essentially, transcripts and captions help to improve comprehension, boost retention, and make the learning material more scannable for important data. Moreover, a Curtin University study noted that “Students who utilize captions as part of revision frequently re-engage with course content.”

Prioritize these three aspects

1. Accessibility and legal compliance

To make education inclusive and accessible, the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act make it mandatory for government-funded organizations to add closed captions to their video material. In fact, advocates for the deaf and hard of hearing community filed a lawsuit against Harvard in 2015 because “Much of Harvard’s online content is either not captioned or is inaccurately or unintelligibly captioned, making it inaccessible for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing.”

While it’s compulsory for government-funded educational video producers to add closed captions to their content, private enterprises should also consider including transcripts and closed captions to enable individuals with disabilities to pursue their love for learning at their own pace and with high-quality aids.

2. Accuracy

Transcripts and captions simplify comprehension of complex STEM content and help students pick up technical terms and complex formulae accurately. Moreover, these terms, subject-specific notations, and formulae should be consistent throughout the transcript and in the closed captions. Therefore, ask your potential online transcription and closed captioning partner about the level of accuracy of their outputs as well as their workflow in detail. Ensure that the transcription and closed captioning plans you opt for have a manual step in the workflow  – while automatic speech recognition (ASR) is a good starting point, the error count is quite high in such outputs.

3. Confidentiality

Plagiarism is a big deal in any industry that produces content, but more so in academia. Researchers want to ensure that their hard work is shared with colleagues as well as other relevant stakeholders through proper channels. Educational content creators also want to ensure that their proprietary course content is secure before they publish it. Accordingly, confidentiality should be another important checkpoint when you hire an online transcription and closed captioning partner.  A professional service provider will be happy to encrypt your files on their server at every step of the process as well as sign a non-disclosure agreement to protect your valuable data.

Challenges and possible solutions

Specialized language service providers cater to a wide range of industries, each with its unique set of complexities. And, the STEM content production industry is no different. Here are some common challenges (and their possible solutions) in transcribing and captioning STEM content.

1. Complicated content

STEM content is highly technical and needs the intervention of subject matter experts (SME) to produce accurate transcripts and captions. This rules out ASR as a solution because the error margin is quite high in such outputs.

Solution: Ask your potential vendor whether they employ SMEs to ensure that the outputs are technically accurate and true to the source. Moreover, when SMEs work on your files, the turnaround time is also lower because they are familiar with the content and don’t have to disrupt their core workflow and Google every technical term to ensure accuracy.

2. Technical challenges

Lecture capture has been proven to increase student attendance in classrooms. However, the audio quality may be hampered if the right recording equipment is not used. Poor audio quality can seriously affect the quality of output of transcripts and captions, and such recordings do take longer to be transcribed and captioned.

Solution: Choosing the right microphone can simplify the process and improve the quality of recording to a large extent. For a large lecture hall, choose an omnidirectional microphone to capture sounds from all directions and a unidirectional one for small study groups or for one-on-one discussions.

3. Long and complex workflow

Producing transcripts and captions with 99% accuracy is a detailed 3-step process that is best handled by industry veterans. Moreover, as a STEM researcher, you need to spend more time in your lab or reading other research papers rather than learning a new, highly technical skill.

Solution: Outsource your transcription and captioning requirements to a professional provider so that you can concentrate on what you love the most: solving real-world problems through scientific breakthroughs.

Final Thoughts

At iScribed, we face the challenges of transcribing and captioning STEM content head-on by providing unique solutions for discrete project requirements. We’re happy to sign an NDA to protect your findings and have a proven record for producing transcripts and captions with 99% accuracy. Let’s talk!

Verbatim vs. Non verbatim transcription: Which should you choose and why

Before you choose an online transcription service, it’s imperative to know what problem you’re trying to solve by integrating transcription in your workflow. Why? Simply because this will help you narrow down the type of transcription service that can help you solve your problem on time and on budget.

Clients reach out to us all the time regarding this, so we decided to create a quick guide for choosing the right transcription service for your business.

This guide is for you if you asked yourself the following questions soon after landing on our website:

  • “Is there more than one type of transcription service?”
  • “What exactly are the differences between verbatim and non-verbatim transcription?”
  • “Why do I need a verbatim transcript?”
  • “When do I need a non-verbatim transcript?”
  • “Will I lose out on information if I choose a non-verbatim transcript?”

Ready? Let’s dive in.

Verbatim and Non-verbatim transcription: What’s the difference?

Verbatim transcription

Verbatim transcription is the art of converting the speech in audio or video files into a textual format that exactly reflects the media file.

Now, what do we mean by “exactly reflects the media file?”

Verbatim transcripts capture all speech, non-verbal utterances, as well as background noise in textual form to provide a true-to-form account of the media file being transcribed. This means, if somebody coughs, shrugs, or bangs a door in the audio or video file, this is going to show up in your transcript.

There are only a few instances where you may benefit from a verbatim transcript (we’ll discuss them in a bit). Moreover, these transcripts have a longer turnaround time (TAT) to ensure that the transcripts are in fact true to the media file – opt for a verbatim upgrade only if you actually need it.

Non-verbatim transcription

Non-verbatim transcripts do not capture non-verbal utterances and background noise in the transcripts, which means they read much smoother. However, this textual reflection is still true to the media file – just without the distracting bits of non-verbal communication and background noise.

A round of editing to correct grammar and punctuation is also normal (Minor editing, but not paraphrasing, is also common in verbatim transcripts to aid clarity).

Lastly, there’s no data or information loss in a non-verbatim transcript. In fact, the paraphrased information makes scanning for data even easier.

Why do you need a verbatim transcript?

Verbatim transcripts are seminal when you need to get into the depths and look for clues beyond the speech in an audio or video file. This means verbatim transcription is ideal for you if your work involves the following:

Interviews (Witness interviews, hiring interviews, etc.)

Verbatim witness interview transcripts are helpful to gauge how an interviewee reacts to certain questions and conversational cues. That is, during a police interview, if a witness hesitates when answering a question, this non-verbal communication can be built into the case and later brought up in court to uncover the truth.

Verbatim transcripts of hiring interviews provide an insight on not only the answers of a candidate to the interview questions but also their body language. As an interviewer, this can help you discern whether the candidate will be a good fit for their role.

Verbatim transcripts are also ideal if you’re a journalist and your job involves interviewing people for a feature piece or story.

Focus group meets

Verbatim transcription is the right option for you if you’re a focus group moderator. In product marketing focus groups, people often voice an opinion in contrast to their feelings under peer pressure. This can inevitably hamper accurate data collection. In such cases, a verbatim transcript can be a valuable aid to get additional clues in non-verbal communication, for example, when an individual stutters, pauses before a response or provides a complex response. With a verbatim transcript, you can go beyond the speech and actually garner true opinions regarding a product based on speech as well non-speech utterances.

When do you need a non-verbatim transcript?

A non-verbatim transcript is a practical option when a detailed paraphrase does the job for you. A non-verbatim transcript can help you with the following tasks:

Keeping records of business meetings

While you may need to identify speakers in these transcripts, you don’t need a blow-by-blow account of the meeting for the record, to send that MoM, or to carry out related tasks.

Keeping records of lectures and seminars

Non-verbatim transcripts of lectures and seminars are a great aid for writing an editorial or for filling in the gaps in a research paper. A word-for-word transcript that concentrates on building a narrative rather than providing facts may actually be an impediment in such cases.

Medical transcription

The doctor’s observations and a clear treatment plan are all you need to capture in your medical transcripts for accurate record keeping. Non-speech communication and background noise do not add any value to these transcripts.

Aid to podcasts and online videos

Readers refer to transcripts of podcasts and online videos to supplement their learning, which means they’re generally not looking for the word-for-word account. So, these transcripts don’t have to detail anything other than the speech in the media file. Moreover, a non-verbatim transcript (rather than a verbatim one) becomes a great starting point for creating derivative content such as blog posts and whitepapers.

The Wrap

As listeners, we’re quite good at filtering out filler words such as “um,” “ah,” or “sort of,” however, these are major distractions and productivity killers when encountered during a data scan. So, whether you’d like to boost your video SEO, keep accurate records in your healthcare establishment, or make project management leaner, choosing the right type of transcription service is an important first step in integrating a transcription workflow.

Have a question we haven’t addressed here? Email us at!

Importance of job interview transcripts

Lawyers, academics, market researchers all rely on interview transcription to organize their data.

But what about hiring managers? Interviewing a candidate in person has long been considered the best method to get them on board. After all, you get a glimpse of their personality and body language which is considered a valuable and significant reflection of their work ethic.

Or is it?

A research conducted by Schmidt and Hunter suggests that in-person interviews can only predict 14% variability in performance – a surprisingly worrying statistic if you ask us.

As a corporate professional, you may have to be on the interview panel at some point to make a hiring decision. Besides, it’s human nature to choose the best possible candidates under the influence of unconscious bias.

But what exactly is unconscious bias?

Would you hire a candidate solely based on the fact that they’re from the same grad school as you? How about hiring someone if they speak the same dialect as you?

You can try to maintain objectivity during employment interviews, but you may end up unintentionally using this kind of information to make up your mind about a candidate. Essentially, unconscious biases are simply preconceived notions that you may assign to an interviewee unknowingly that ultimately sway your decision.

Some common types of unconscious interview biases are stereotyping bias (assigning an opinion based on gender, race, age, or ethnicity), the “similar to me” effect (leaning toward a candidate because they hold similar views or have a similar background as you), and the halo and horn effect s(overshadowing everything a candidate says and concentrating on one positive comment [halo effect] or dismissing everything a candidate says and concentrating on an allegedly negative comment [horn effect]).

Interview bias can cost you heavily – in fact, bias busting is an $8 million business! Instead, it may be worth checking out a candidate’s responses to interview questions in a transcript form to eliminate bias and hire better.

Transcribe your interviews for a diverse workforce

In a traditional interview setting, an interviewer may let their unconscious bias sway their decision based on race, gender, or ethnicity. However, relying on a transcribed employment interview in the first place can make the hiring process fair and just. This is because the interviewer can get a detailed idea about the candidate’s potential and outlook and make an objective decision in the end.

A diverse workforce definitely improves the scope of your business. Diversity gives you a chance to harness the different skill sets, experiences, and language scope of your employees to grow your business. Workforce diversity also means you can break into newer markets by tapping into the persistent problem areas of a demographic and tailor your products or services to be more inclusive.

Transcribed employment interviews improve the candidate experience

According to this study, biased hiring was based on a candidates tone or cadence even though their qualifications were identical. The looming prospect of bias often prevents candidates from giving their best in an interview, especially since it’s common knowledge that the hiring decision is made within 5-10 minutes of meeting a candidate, that is, even before an interviewer has the chance to go through their full set of questions. So, referring to a transcript of a voice or video interview will help you make a better hiring decision solely based on a candidates qualifications and responses to interview questions.

If you’re worried about losing the nuance or context of a person’s response, you can hire a professional transcription company and opt for verbatim transcripts of employment interviews that include pauses, hesitations, and even indications of gestures (for video interviews).

You benefit from transcripts of structured employment interviews

Hiring managers tend to alter interview questions within a few minutes of meeting a candidate. This is again influenced by the unconscious bias coming into play. For example, if hiring managers favor a candidate positively based on the first impression bias, they’ll structure the interview so that the candidate soars through it. Alternately, a negative first impression bias can trigger interview questions that may impede a prospective candidate from giving their best.

So, to eliminate biased hiring at your workplace, opt for a structured job interview transcript. That is, evaluate transcripts of candidates based on their responses to the same set of questions. This will give you a much fairer idea of how they would perform in their role.

Hiring based on job interview transcripts will save you time

Imagine this – you set aside a specific portion of your day to interview some candidates. What’s your guarantee that the in person, phone, or video interview wouldn’t spill over and cause unwanted delays in your other business as usual tasks for the day?

When you use job interview transcripts for hiring, you move through the entire decision process in a fair and streamlined manner. You give marks based on their responses to a structured set of questions and the best candidate automatically wins. Besides, there’s no conversation clean up or unnecessary banter that will potentially spill over and affect the rest of your tasks.

Final Thoughts

A candidate who seemed to show high potential as a result of your bias may turn out to have poor productivity, which means you’ll have to scramble to fill this position again – not to mention the time and training required to bring the replacement hire up to speed on their tasks.

So why not hire efficient, deserving candidates by objectively basing your hiring decisions on job interview transcripts?

Partner up with a professional transcription company

Wary about unnecessary delays in the hiring process because of transcripts? A long-term partnership with a professional transcription company can fast-track this process – at iScribed we would be happy to prioritize the outputs based on your timeline.

For example, you can either send the audio or video responses of your candidates in bulk or as and when received so that the transcription process is simultaneous to the response receipt window.

Reach out to us about your interview transcripts today!

6 types of transcription services to leverage right now

audio transcriptionWhy do you need transcription for your business?

While medical and legal transcription remains the most sought after niches, transcription services play a significant role in the success of pretty much any industry – from retail to automotive to scientific research in government agencies and private enterprises. Transcription for businesses helps corporations cut down costs and streamline their operations by enabling accurate maintenance of records, helping match client expectations, boosting marketing endeavors, and improving employee training programs.

Considering the growing needs of transcription for businesses, the speech recognition industry is bucking up and is forecasted to experience explosive growth: from USD 5.15 Billion in 2016 to USD 18.30 Billion by 2023.

Now, while the speech recognition and transcription industries are similar, they’re not the same. Speech recognition is primarily AI-powered and is considered a “good start” in the intricate transcription process, which still remains heavily reliant on human intervention for overall quality.

So while a dictation software can give you a head start, you’d still want the bulk of your transcription work handled by humans, preferably a reliable transcription partner.

6 transcription services to leverage in your business


1. Business meeting transcription

A lot of strategic decisions are taken in business meetings and mostly at a pace that supersedes your furious note-taking. Besides, if you’re busy taking notes, when will you participate? And then there’s the MoM you need to send at the end of it…

You know what will take the pressure off? A dedicated schedule for transcribing your business meetings.

Transcribing business meetings has several advantages:

  • Ensures holistic participation of employees because everybody can bring their ideas to the table instead of hanging back and taking notes.
  • Can help you maintain accurate records of decisions even after you walk out of the meeting room with no paper notes/
  • Can be shared with all relevant stakeholders even if they weren’t able to participate in person, thereby keeping them up to date about the details of the meeting.

With a reliable transcription partner, you can get accurate transcripts of all business meetings from Q&A sessions, annual strategy meets, to Skype meetings with remote employees.

2. Transcribing conferences, seminars, and summits

As a growing company, you must know how important businesses conferences, seminars, and summits are for customer engagement and to establish your enterprise as an industry leader.

The data generated in these conferences and summits is immense: They alert you to customer pain points, which you can explore to improve or create new products or services. Moreover, sessions conducted by your keynote speakers offer a wealth of information to position yourself better in the market.

We’re sure you would agree that getting a high-quality transcript of a seminar hosted by you can be immensely valuable not only for record keeping but also steering your company in new directions.

3. Transcripts of employment interviews

Did you know unconscious bias during interviews can cause long-term hiring problems in your company?

Wondering what’s unconscious bias? Unconscious biases are preconceived notions that you tend to assign to an interviewee unknowingly that ultimately sway your decision.

Overall, job interviews can go either way: you may overlook a deserving candidate because of unprecedented bias in an in-person interview or hire a qualified candidate objectively based on a transcript that contains their responses to structured interview questions.

After all, in-person interviews can only predict 14% variability in performance.

4. Transcribing marketing materials such as promo videos and podcasts

If you’re running a business in 2018 with visions of spectacular growth, your marketing efforts must be visible in the digital world.

Video content is proven to increase customer engagement and boost conversions while podcasts are great for behind-the-scenes updates and sharing industry news.

But what about a part of your demographic who report hearing loss (that’s about 15% of adults in the US) or are situationally challenged in a noise-sensitive environment (for example in a library or public transport)?

Adding transcripts for your podcasts and promo videos can benefit you in more ways than one. While Google’s bots can’t watch the videos or listen to podcasts, they can crawl the respective transcripts for relevant keywords and suggest them to your target audience.

It’s quite simple really: integrate transcripts into your marketing process, boost your SEO, reach new markets, and grow sales!

5. Transcribing client calls

Unless you have a local client base whom you regularly met over coffee and bagels (these meetings need to be transcribed as well), calls with clients are often plagued by fuzzy voice feedback or bad reception.

This means you could be important details that can cause serious problems with deliverables. Transcribing a client call can help you organize client instructions and preferences better and complete a project without missing crucial details. Lastly, a transcript of a client call can be filed away for record keeping in case any business discrepancy crops up.

6. Transcripts of employee training materials

Let’s face it, employee training at any organization must be ongoing and you’re probably heavily leaning on video materials for training. After all, video material keeps a learner focused and are more interactive.

However, it’s often difficult to catch technical terms on the fly or watch videos in noise-sensitive environments.

This is where transcripts and captions come in as valuable learning aids. Apart from the interactive video, your employees can use transcripts as an aid when studying for relevant skill tests.

Final Thoughts

So, why do you need transcription for your business? To stay ahead of the competition, make better strategic decisions, share perfect deliverables, and grow your sales – pretty much everything your business is all about!

Overall, professional transcription for businesses meets the diverse needs of both growing and profitable businesses while keeping in-house costs lower and operations leaner.

Which transcription service do you plan to leverage to grow your business?