Category Archive Legal Transcription

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Legal Transcription – A Key Role In Law Enforcement

For as long as law enforcement agencies have been around, they have been working with recorded audio and video evidence.

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There has always been a certain need for legal transcription services, despite many advancements in the latest technologies. Those audio and video evidence pieces are a crucial part of an investigation and will always need to be transcribed for reasons of documentation and clarity.

The responsibility for legal transcription services has usually been put on the secretaries of professionals that need the work done, such as law enforcement agencies, attorneys, courts, security companies, and others. Unfortunately, over time the case loads have fluctuated, while there has been no real increase in qualified individuals to manage the overabundance of transcription services needed. Budget cuts have cost many law enforcement agencies the ability to hire the proper staff for transcription, creating a nightmare for many divisions.

The thought of outsourcing their legal transcription services needs is one that is discussed among many agencies, but many have reservations when utilizing outsourced services, due to the delicate nature of evidence contained in audio and video pieces. Some agencies are wary about sending out master copies of audio or video evidence to be handled by a transcription company considering the high risk of loss if that content is corrupted. The more hands an item passes through, the better the chance that the material will be damaged or leaked to the news outlets. These security concerns encourage some agencies to do the transcription and translation work on their own. The real problem with that is, that in-house transcription uses a tremendous amount of manpower and time to complete.

As technology advances however, new and safer methods make it easy to get the needed content to a legal transcription service without fear of corruption. At times, audio and video content can be uploaded to a providers secured server. This upload makes it easy to monitor the chain of custody of the content as it passes point A to point B. The new age of digital transcription has given law enforcement and others a way of maintaining the security of official data, as it is being passed off to trained transcriptionists, and that promotes a rapid turn around on pressing cases that should be closed quickly.

For many legal transcription services, it is common that they charge by the line or page. Unfortunately it’s often difficult to conclude how many pages you will end up with once the interview is transcribed. There is often an option offered to law enforcement agencies for transcription services to be charged by the minute. Charging by the minute means that when an agency needs transcription for a 45 minute interview in audio or video format, they are charged for 45 minutes, not 45 pages. Outsourcing has proven to be one of the primary ways that many agencies are finding budget relief. With outsourcing to a skilled service, law enforcement agencies gain a number of benefits beyond cost control.

The outsourcing of legal transcription services means that agencies can put their personnel where they belong , without the need to hire additional staff or make current staff burn the candle at both ends.

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Transcription Service That Provides What You Need

Choosing a transcription service can be a daunting task indeed. So many to choose from and it seems they all do the same things? Or do they? Let’s first look at what style of transcription best suits your needs.

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  • Strict Verbatim is a style of transcription that would be used if you need audios transcribed that you want to capture everything that is being said. Such as telephone conversations, courtroom testimony, depositions, or anything that would require having to capture everything that is being uttered. This would include all the uhms, ah’s, false starts and stutters, repetitions, distracting speech patterns, (you know, like, right, yeah, etc.). This would also include typing the pauses in the audios to allow for laughter, crying, interruptions, personal comments, background noises. In other words, everything heard is typed.
  • Smooth Verbatim is probably the most common style used. Certain utterances are removed, per the client’s specifications and/or requests. Most of the time clients request to remove the uhm, ah’s, stutters but still keep the slang to express the character of the speakers intact. Grammatical errors are usually not corrected but punctuation is used. Some refer to this style as “cleaned up verbatim.” You would want this style for interviews, focus groups, business meeting notes, presentations/group discussions, Q&A, conferences, teleconferences, webinars, etc. In addition, this style can be used effectively for doing files notes, business letters, reports, etc. Legal work and some medical transcription can also be done with this style as well.
  • Content takes the smooth verbatim to a much deeper level. Grammar is corrected, interrupting comments are eliminated, and slang is corrected. This style is best used for things that are going to be published in articles, or advertising etc. This would be considered a “Copy ready” style. Usually it requires more time to transcribe this type of work and a higher level of transcription service that can cost a bit more.
  • Rough Draft is a quick run through the audio just listening once through and not concerned with getting everything transcribed. This style will require you to relisten to the audio and make corrections yourself. It is not the most accurate of transcripts.

Deciding which style best suits your needs is a first step in helping you choose the right transcriptions service for you. There is nothing worse than getting back a transcript with words left out that you wanted included or vice versa.

With WeScribeIt you will find that we provide any of the above styles or any custom requests needed on an audio to audio basis. There is an instructions box included when uploading any file to your account which you can include any specific instructions that you need for any particular audio transcription.