Audio and video recordings are an efficient and effective way to maintain records of spoken conversations. Most attorneys require audio or video transcription on a frequent basis. It makes the most sense to have these recordings transcribed instead of wasting time categorizing audio files and scanning through the recording for the section you need to reference. It’s essential to maintain recordings of meetings depositions, interviews, court proceedings, police investigations, arbitration, etc. Accurate and reliable transcripts improve productivity by helping to make decisions quickly so it’s pivotal that the transcripts are error free.
The potential for errors increases when the recording is in one language then needs to be transcribed and translated. Low-quality recordings can lead to errors in the transcript. Increase the quality and accuracy of your next transcription and translation project by doing all you can to produce a high-quality recording and choose a company that specializes in legal transcription. This type of work requires a professional transcriber and translator with specialized knowledge of terms used in the legal field.
This post will provide an overview of the legal transcription and translation process so you are armed with information when it comes time to vet vendors. We will also provide tips that you will be able to implement during the recording process to ensure you receive the best quality and most accurate transcript possible. Remember, audio quality matters!
Quality Focused Legal Transcription Process
Legal transcription requires an experienced and well-trained transcriber. Most companies spend a lot of time finding, vetting, and providing training for transcribers. For legal transcription, working with a company with experience with legal terminology is paramount.
Areas that need extra attention in any transcribed document are spellings, grammar, content, format, and audio review. It’s important to convey each speaker’s intended meaning, which is why each transcription must undergo a detailed audio review by a second party to ensure the text matches the audio recording. This step should not be overlooked as this will help ensure accuracy once the transcript is ready to be translated.
Voice recognition software is a popular subject when it comes to transcribing audio recordings. Many lawyers wonder if this is a suitable solution for their recordings. While this is becoming a more popular tool in the transcription world, it still requires management by a human. Just as you wouldn’t run a professional letter through Google Translate and send it out (at least we hope not!) without having it reviewed and edited by a translator, it’s dangerous to run an audio recording through a voice recognition software without anyone reviewing and editing the final product.
Our main point is to talk to the company you’re considering working with! Ask them about their transcription process and quality assurance. Reputable firms will be glad to share their procedures to ensure an accurate legal transcription for your firm. Also, don’t forget about confidentiality! Never assume a company has all the safeguards in place up to your standards.
Some questions to consider asking a potential language service provider:
- Where are the recordings and transcripts stored?
- Do you have a secure server?
- Can you share the details of your secure server?
- Do your linguists sign confidentiality agreements?
- Do your linguists store documents on their computers?
The main thing you want to get a feel for is where your private information is being sent to and stored. A company that shoots your documents to their entire database for the fastest and cheapest vendor to grab the job is not safe. Be sure to understand how the process works to ensure your documents and files stay on one secure server.
How Transcription Affects Translation
As mentioned earlier, errors or inaccuracies in the original transcript will carry over into the translation. Even the best translators are only as good the source text. If the source text is unclear or inaccurate from the recording, this will be reflected in the translation. Set yourself up for success by providing the best quality audio recording you can. Talk with your vendor about the context of the recording so they can relay the information to the linguists. Context and background may seem trivial but can also make a huge difference when a transcriber or translator is deciding between which word to choose based on the conversation.
Tips to Ensure Quality Legal Transcription & Translation
We said it once and we’ll keep saying it again: Audio quality matters! While transcription providers use tools to clean up bad audio, tools can only do so much. Taking steps to improve the quality of the audio at the time of recording will ensure that nothing gets lost or distorted. We realize that the audio quality is not always in your control but when it is, the tips below will help you to record high-quality audio.
- Be vigilant about the placement of the recording device
- Reduce background noise as much as possible. If it’s unavoidable, make sure the microphone is placed in the correct position so the people speaking are louder than whatever is going on in the background.
- When recording groups of people, encourage the group to not talk over one another and to speak loudly and clearly
- Communicate with your transcription vendor. Give them background on the audio file and let them know your preferred transcript format.
We hope you found this article useful when it comes time for your next legal transcription project. The main benefit of outsourcing your legal transcription projects is the time it saves you having to locate quality transcribers and editors. Service providers take care of quality control and specialize in transcription. Lawyers and paralegals are busy with their cases, find a transcription provider you can trust to make the process as easy and simple as possible. And be sure to follow our tips above to receive an accurate transcription and translation of all your audio and/or video recordings!
iTi | Legal Translations
Accuracy in communication is paramount for legal court cases. Attorney’s can not afford any mistakes or miscommunication which is why our team at Interpreters and Translators, Inc. only works with highly trained and qualified legal interpreters and translators. We thoroughly vet every linguist to ensure they are professionals with legal courtroom experience. You can trust team iTi with all your legal translation needs. Feel free to contact us for your next project that requires an interpreter or document translation. Call 860.968.6778 or enter your question HERE.
This article was originally posted on August 1, 2017. Updated for freshness and readability on November 10, 2022.
Very informative article about legal transcription and translation.