What Wikipedia Doesn’t Tell You About Audio Transcription
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What Wikipedia Doesn’t Tell You About Audio Transcription

Most of us have an inherent basic understanding of audio transcription. We’ve sat in class and taken notes. We’ve texted bits of overheard conversation to friends. We’ve added items to scrap paper grocery lists with cell phones squashed between shoulder and ear.

Transcription is so fundamental to human life that it is something most of us do daily without thinking much about. Why is transcription so important? What are we getting out of all this note taking? The importance of written transcription in our culture cannot be overstated. Transcription has formed and developed our history and religion and influenced the way that we think of our very existence. It has played an invaluable role in helping us learn from our past and further develop our society. But what has transcription done for us lately? Let’s look at a few reasons why audio transcription continues to be such a useful tool.

One of the major conveniences that audio transcription offers is that, unlike a live conversation, it’s possible to visibly search through a body of text.If you can’t recall what was said about a particular topic, transcriptions allow you to conduct a word search to pull up relevantsections.With written transcriptions it’s possible to highlight passages that you wish to return to later. Transcriptions also have the great benefit of making information easy to archive and organize. Paper or electronic transcripts can be organized by subject, date, client, or whatever makes the most sense for your specific needs.

Learning Tool

Imagine sitting in a lecture hall and trying to write down everything the professor says as he or she says it. First off, unless the prof is a strangely slow talker, you’ll likely get lost and end up missing a lot of important information. If you do somehow manage to get most of what is said into notes, you will miss out on being able to really listen to the lecture, picking up on the nuances of speech and non-verbal cues that can help with understanding the meaning of what’s being said. Academic audio transcription makes it possible for people to be more present during discussions and lectures, knowing that they don’t have to feverishly notate every moment in order to be able to refer back to what is said later in further study.

Historical Importance

As George Santayana famously put it: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”The ignorant repetition in question can occur on a small scale, like you neglect to make a grocery list and wind up with two gallons of milk in the fridge. Or it could result in massively inconvenient or disastrous consequences over huge swathes of time. If Hitler had spent more time studying historical accounts of Napoleon’s failed assault on Russia, he might not have challenged Stalin. In any case, in order to move forward it is necessary to know where we’ve been. Transcriptions offer a way to preserve our history, offering a common reference when human memory is less than entirely reliable.

Get It In Writing

People change their stories for all kinds of reasons. Often memory is at fault, as when a person can simply not recall the specifics of an early conversation or a deal that was agreed upon. Other times someone will attempt to take advantage of the fallible nature of memory in a deliberate attempt to mislead someone else. And then there’s willful lose of memory which falls somewhere in-between those two scenarios. Consider a divorce case where one party inadvertently reveals important information about the location of assets over the phone. Without an audio transcription, it’s his word against hers in court. With an audio transcription, though, doubts are laid aside. Law and order, restored.

Create More Content

For businesses, creating transcriptions of audio and video files can result in important material for the company website. The more relevant content a business posts to their site, the higher the site’s search ranking will become. A better search ranking makes it easier for potential clients to discover and learn about the services being offered. More useful, relevant content for your company site, and—voilà—more business.

Don’t Play “Telephone”

Perhaps there’s no better example of the immediate benefits of audio transcription than the lesson many of us learned at an early age through the game of Telephone. When a message travels verbally from person to person over any length of time, it can so easily stray from its original intent. The fact that this game, which so aptly demonstrates the fallibilities of verbal transmission, is taught to us at such a young age seems to speak to the importance that written documents carry in our culture. Spare yourself from future misunderstandings and get everything in writing – or let us transcribe it for you.