Transcription means the presentation of spoken texts in written format. Transcription simply means “writing across”, meaning, to convert the form of  text from the spoken to the written form.

Transcription can be done for the following kinds of texts:

  1. court proceedings and depositions
  2. recorded discourses
  3. lectures and trainings
  4. interviews
  5. films and documentaries
  6. dictations by managers
  7. medical records spoken, dictated and recorded by doctors, medics and nurses
  8. any other form of spoken texts recorded in audio format

When spoken text is required to be recorded in a written format, the process is termed transcription.

 Phonetic vs. Orthographic Transcription

International Phonetic Alphabet used to record spoken texts is called phonetic transcription. Here the alphabet is usually understood only by academicians, but helps is transcribing across language barriers. The IPA uses universal symbols for sounds and therefore it is a phonetic rather approach to transcription.

When the script, alphabet and orthography of the language of the spoken discourse is used to transcribe the same, it is known as orthographic transcription – i.e. when the Mandarin alphabet is used to type Chinese discourse, and the Japanese script for Japanese spoken texts and so on. These employ the rules of writing (orthography) of the said language and not any other.

The orthographic form of transcription is more common for public consumption, as the phonetic can only be used for academic research.

 Variations of Transcription

 Time Coded Transcription

A time coded transcription will have time stamps in an adjoining column at regular or logical intervals, in order to align and locate the corresponding audio text in a given .wav or .mp file. This simply  means, that along with the transcribed text, there is a reference to the time in the audio file which corresponds the spoken words in the audio file.

Closed Caption and Open Caption

Captions are transcription of the spoken word on screen in a television program or film. This is done for clarity of understanding and to overcome difficulties in hearing or other impediments. Closed captions are those that cannot be turned off, whereas open captions can be turned off or on at will using an option in the setting of the video file or software. Captions are now increasingly important in many countries where laws have been passed to ensure all television and film content provide captions for the hearing impaired.


 Subtitles are captions in a different language, whereby the audience speaking a different language are able to read and understand what the characters or speakers on screen are saying in a foreign tongue. This involves translation of the transcription of the dialogue.

 Word Par International offers transcription and language translation services in India offers transcription services of all types mentioned above.

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