What Is Voice Transcription?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 October 2019
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Voice transcription is a process by which audio recordings, usually created through dictation, are re-created as textual transcripts for a variety of purposes. This type of transcription is used in a number of fields, though medical transcriptions are quite common and allow doctors to make verbal notes that are later turned into text. Legal transcription is also frequently created so a lawyer can record his or her thoughts or research regarding a legal brief, which are then typed out. Voice transcription can be handled by an actual person who listens to a recording and types it out, or automated through talk-to-text software.

The basic purpose of voice transcription is for someone to be able to record his or her own voice and then have that recording transcribed into a text format. This can be achieved in different ways, though the use of digital recorders has become quite common and made the process somewhat easier. Someone can use a digital voice recorder to record comments, such as those made during a business meeting or in a boardroom. This digital recording can then be sent to someone else who creates a voice transcription of the recording, which is emailed back to the original client.


One of the most common uses of voice transcription services is for the medical industry. Doctors, for example, can record verbal notes during a patient’s examination, which are then sent away and transcribed into a text document. The identity of the patient is not revealed in this type of transcription, in order to preserve the patient's privacy. Autopsies may also be performed in this way; the medical examiner speaks into a microphone during the procedure and this recording is later transcribed. Voice transcription can also be performed on recordings made during surgery, which provides a lasting record in case of mishap or a malpractice lawsuit.

The legal industry also utilizes voice transcription services. A lawyer might make verbal notes while researching a particular legal precedent, and then have those notes transcribed at a later time. In law, however, transcription can also refer to the process by which notes are taken in a courtroom, which occurs in real time and uses a different method.

Voice transcription can be achieved in a number of different ways. The most common and accurate method is for someone to listen to a recording and transcribe it into a text document, often pausing or rewinding as needed to ensure accuracy. Voice recognition software, however, has been developed that can recognize voices and automatically create a transcription from a recording. These talk-to-text methods are still being perfected, however, and may create inaccuracies that could be dangerous or irresponsible for the medical or legal fields.


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