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What is Audio Transcription?

What is audio transcription? In its simplest form, it is the transformation of verbal and audio materials into text. Court reporters, professional secretaries and web design specialists create audio transcripts as part of their everyday job responsibilities. Musical transcription and the recording of oral histories are among the other ways in which audio transcription is used to more effectively deliver information in today’s data-driven marketplace.

What is audio transcription? A brief history.
Before the advent of modern office equipment, the only way in which audio materials could be transcribed was through a collaborative process between the speaker and the individual who recorded their words. This often necessitated frequent repetitions and allowed errors to creep into the finished material due to the time constraints these methods entailed.

Thomas Edison is credited with creating the first modern recording equipment. His breakthrough sound recording device, known as the phonograph, made a crude recording on a tinfoil disk and allowed playback of the recordings. Edison’s phonograph essentially captured and recorded the vibrations created by sound waves onto a soft material. The recording could later be translated, with the use of a highly sensitive stylus, back into sound on a speaker.

However, Edison’s original design was extremely fragile, and it was improved and made more practical by Alexander Graham Bell, who incorporated wax cylinders to create what he dubbed the “graphophone.” This system was still very delicate and, in its initial form, was unsuitable for everyday office use. Later systems used magnetic tape to record audio material and, in the 1990s, modern digital equipment made it possible for audio materials to be recorded almost anywhere to later be transcribed.

What is audio transcription used for?
One of the most important uses for audio transcription today is to produce a written record of important events and to provide machine-readable information for dissemination on the internet or through email. Audio materials are not accessible without the use of technological devices. By making these materials available in a printed or text format the potential audience for the information can be expanded significantly. Additionally, the content of audio materials is not generally machine-readable; search engine algorithms, for instance, cannot assess the content of audio files on a website and thus cannot properly index these materials without a detailed metatag entry or a complete transcription of the contents. Including transcriptions alongside audio files can produce more traffic to the site and deliver the company’s message more effectively.

So, what is audio transcription? It is a historical method for preserving important audio materials, a convenient way to produce accurate records of business proceedings and one of the most effective ways to boost traffic to corporate and personal websites thereby providing greater visibility for companies in the online marketplace.