The Definition of Audio Transcription

The Definition of Audio Transcription

What is audio transcription?

Audio transcription is the notation in writing or symbols of a sound file of some sort, whether this is analogue or digital. It is usually used in the context of a recording of a human’s voice or voices, and is used also in the context of the business of transcription, which is to notate a sound recording and turn the sounds into words or words that describe sound effects.

Most audio transcription is a notation or record of an audio recording of one or more human voices speaking or communicating with each other. However transcription is also used to notate sounds when, for example, two animals communicate with each other.

Audio transcription of a single human voice is usually described as ‘dictation’, which is where one person’s voice is recorded. This is also known in the theatre as a ‘monologue’.

Two people speaking together on the same recording is often known in general discourse as a conversation, but in transcription work this is usually referred to as an ‘interview’, specifically a one to one interview. Three or more people discussing or conversing together is defined as a ‘focus group’ or ‘workshop’ or ‘conference’, and is some of the hardest audio transcription to actually turn into words because the transcriptionist (i.e. the person who has completed the typing of the sounds), has to be able to distinguish between the different voices speaking.

Audio transcription is undertaken by transcriptionists or transcribers. These two terms are interchangeable and transcriptionist seems to be used more in the USA and American English. Transcriber seems to be used more in UK English. Transcribers are usually highly experienced typists who have extensive audio typing experience and are able to follow a voice speaking very often at a relatively fast tempo, and to notate and accurately record what has been said.

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