Law firms need the best audio transcription service to produce professional, easy to read, accurate documentation of various recordings – from witness statements, depositions and court proceedings to jury instruction, conference calls, and meetings for team collaboration and marketing campaigns. Transcripts ease the task of analyzing and presenting evidence. There are many audio and video transcription service providers, and law firms must make the right choice.
Let’s take a look at the key points to consider when choosing an audio transcription service.
- Hire a Specialized Legal Transcription Service: The goal should be to partner with a company that specializes in legal transcription. Such companies have professional transcriptionists who are well versed in legal terminology, jargon, and court processes and proceedings. They would be knowledgeable about the recommended transcript format guidelines and will make sure to adhere to the laws governing transcript format by jurisdiction. Professional legal transcriptionists would also have excellent typing and listening skills, and a solid understanding of the language in which they are transcribing. With their training and experience, these experts can produce accurate, legible, certified transcripts.
An experienced legal transcription company would accept audio as well as video recordings in all formats – MP3, MP4, WMV, MOV, AVI, AMR, WMA, and WAV. JD Supra points out that you can also request your files in the required format, including ASCII, PDF, E-tran (.PTX), LiveNote (.LEF), TextMap (.XMEF), CaseNotebook (.PTZ), Summation (.SBF), and trial software such as Sanction (.MDB) and Trial Director (.CMS).
- Turnaround Time: In addition to accuracy, turnaround time is a key factor to consider when hiring a legal transcription service. According to the American Association of Electronic Reporters and Transcribers (AAERT), the time required for an experienced transcriber to type an hour of recorded audio is about three hours. Professional firms have qualified transcribers and proofreaders who work as a team to provide highly accurate and timely transcripts. If a short turnaround time is not required, short depositions or court hearings can be easily handled by a single transcriptionist. However, trial transcripts and other longer recordings, or transcripts that need to be delivered quickly are usually assigned to a team. Such strategies allow transcription firms to handle high volume jobs efficiently and meet even stringent time requirements.
When outsourcing your audio transcription work, it is important that you understand the different factors that can impact the quality of the output, the cost, and the time taken to complete it. With clear audio, experts can ensure a high accuracy rate of 99%. Poor quality audio files, file format, speaker coherence and clarity, verbatim and time stamp requirements, and complex subjects may take longer to document. Costs would also vary based on turnaround time of the project.
- Manual vs Automated Transcription: Video and audio recordings of legal proceedings can stretch to several hours. While manual transcription involves a human transcriptionist listening to the recording and converting it into text format, automated transcription involves the use of speech recognition technology to generate text from audio. The goal of both manual and automated transcription is to provide error-free documentation of these recordings. When it comes to turnaround time, automatic transcription has the edge, and you can get volume work done quickly. But speech recognition technology cannot correctly recognize and transcribe the jargon, link names of speakers to their voices, or accurately transcribe heavy accents, low-volume speakers, and inarticulate speakers. On the other hand, accuracy is the biggest advantage of manual transcription. To be trustworthy and admissible in court, legal transcripts have to be accurate. Errors can pose serious legal risks. Choosing automatic or manual transcription hinges on your priorities. The good news is that human transcriptionists can edit and improve the quality of automated transcripts.
- Security and Confidentiality: In the legal arena, security and confidentiality of information is most important thing. Professional legal transcription service providers would sign a nondisclosure agreement (NDA) or a confidentiality agreement which outlines the confidentiality of information they handle for their client. All transcription is done in a highly secure environment. Features to consider when it comes to secure transcription include: HTTPS encryption & encrypted log-in portals/storage, secure FTP or browser-based drop box, password and firewall protected software systems, workforce is trained and monitored on privacy, security, and confidentiality, 24/7 security services for premises, and so on.
With a professional video and audio transcription service provider, you would be assured of stringent manual review processes to ensure accurate and timely documentation. These services usually come with options such as captions, subtitles, and translations. Even with artificial intelligence and other advanced technologies that are available today, legal transcription by experts is crucial to make sense of complex conversations.