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9 minute read
24 Jul 2023

The Importance of Accurate Transcription in Journalism

In the world of journalism, accuracy is key. Journalists have the important responsibility of presenting factual and unbiased information to the public. It not only ensures accuracy and reliability in reporting, but also helps maintain journalistic integrity. Transcription can also play a role in making content more accessible to diverse audiences, as well as promoting inclusivity for all readers. With the help of automated tools and human oversight, journalists and transcriptionists must strive to produce accurate transcriptions that meet professional standards. In this article, we will discuss the importance of accurate transcription in journalism and how it contributes to journalistic integrity while enhancing accessibility and inclusivity.

Table of Contents

The role of transcription in journalism

Transcription is a critical tool for news gathering. It involves the conversion of audio or video recordings into written form. This written form is then used by journalists to extract quotes or information that will be used in news articles, reports, or features. This transcription acts as a comprehensive record of the conversation, ensuring that there is no miscommunication and that all facts remain intact regardless of future disagreements between parties involved. This helps protect the integrity of the journalistic process by guaranteeing that all facts are reported accurately and reliably.

There are different types of transcription, including verbatim and clean read. Verbatim transcription involves transcribing every word spoken in the audio or video recording. Clean-read transcription involves removing any unnecessary words, such as “um” or “ah.”

If you would like to know more about transcription for journalism, learn more on our industries page.

Ensuring accuracy in transcription

Transcription is not without its challenges. Maintaining accuracy in transcription is paramount to preserving the integrity and credibility of journalism. To ensure that transcriptions accurately reflect the original spoken content, journalists and transcriptionists must adhere to certain practices. Here are key considerations for achieving accurate transcriptions:

Attention to detail

Accuracy is paramount when it comes to interview transcription, which is why it’s important for journalists and transcriptionists to pay close attention to detail while transcribing interviews and other forms of communication. Careful listening is essential in order to capture the exact words used by sources during interviews or speeches. It also involves being aware of any particular nuances, pauses or inflections that may be present in the conversation and capturing them accurately in the transcript. Even seemingly insignificant details can hold significance, so it is crucial not to overlook them during the transcription process.

Background noise

Transcription enables the transcriber to precisely capture the spoken words and convert them into written format. Background noise can create difficulty in differentiating words, especially in situations where there are multiple speakers or when the audio quality is already poor. The clarity of the audio is paramount because it enables the transcriber to transcribe the speech with greater accuracy, saving time and effort while minimizing errors. When there is no background noise in the audio, it is easier to hear the nuances of speech, such as tone and inflection, that help in understanding the context of the conversation.

In contrast, background noise can be disruptive and make it challenging to distinguish words, making it difficult to identify the meaning and intent of the conversation. In situations where there are multiple speakers, background noise can be even more problematic as it can create confusion, making it difficult to attribute spoken words to a particular speaker.

Maintaining context and tone

Transcription should also strive to capture not only the words spoken by sources during an interview or speech but also the overall context of the conversation as well as any subtle changes in tone or sentiment expressed by speakers throughout. Understanding the broader context in which the spoken content is delivered helps transcribers accurately convey the intended meaning: factors such as sarcasm, humor, or emotion can significantly influence the interpretation of the message. This is especially important for preserving authenticity and preventing mischaracterization of quotes made by sources during interviews or speeches.

To overcome these challenges, journalists can use several strategies. One strategy is to ensure that the recording is of high quality. Using a high-quality microphone or recording device can ensure that the audio is clear and easy to understand. Another strategy is to use transcription software.

The impact of technology on journalistic integrity

Advancements in technology have had a significant impact on transcription in journalism. Technology has made transcription faster and more accurate. Transcription software can identify difficult accents and remove background noise, making transcription easier and more accurate. Additionally, it can learn from its mistakes and improve its accuracy over time. Additionally, advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have the potential to revolutionize transcription in journalism.

We will now discuss how transcription can have an impact on journalistic integrity by examining the implications of misquotes and misinformation, source credibility, and legal and ethical concerns.

Misquotes and misinformation

Inaccurate transcription can have serious consequences. It can lead to misinterpretation or misquoting, which have the potential to misrepresent individuals, create misunderstandings, or even perpetuate false narratives. Inaccurate reporting can have severe consequences for both journalists and news outlets. Misquoting sources or presenting inaccurate information can lead to widespread confusion or even public outrage if left uncorrected. This is why accurate transcription is so important for news outlets; it allows journalists to double-check quotes from their sources with greater accuracy than ever before. By having an exact transcript of what was said during interviews or speeches, reporters can easily verify any facts or statements made by their interviewees or other sources before publishing a story. 

Implications for source credibility

Inaccuracies in reporting not only reflect poorly on journalists themselves but also affect the credibility of their sources as well. ​​Inaccurate transcriptions may lead to strained relationships with sources, making it more challenging to access reliable information in the future. Moreover, if false information is attributed to someone due to errors in transcription, it could damage that person’s reputation, leading to lawsuits against media outlets for libel or defamation depending on the severity of the situation. 

Legal and ethical concerns

Ethically, journalists have a responsibility to accurately represent the spoken words of their sources, respecting their intentions and maintaining journalistic integrity. Misquotes or false information in a news story can also create legal and ethical issues for journalists and media outlets depending on the circumstances surrounding the case. This is why accurate transcription is so important; it helps protect journalists from any potential lawsuits that could arise due to errors in reporting as well as preserving their professional integrity.

Best practices for accurate transcription in journalism

Best practices for accurate transcription in journalism

Choosing the right transcription method

To ensure accurate transcription, journalists should follow several best practices. Firstly, they should ensure that the recording is of high quality. They should also use reliable transcription software or services, which can improve the accuracy of the transcription. Choosing the right transcription method is crucial for journalists as it can have a significant impact on the accuracy, speed, and cost of the process. Journalists should consider the quality and complexity of the audio, the desired turnaround time, and the available budget when selecting a transcription method. There are different types of transcription methods, including human transcription, machine transcription, and a combination of both. Depending on the context, journalists may opt for a method that relies on experienced human transcribers to ensure accuracy or use automatic speech recognition (ASR) software for faster turnaround times. Good new is that there are transcription companies, such as Amberscript that offer a variety of services tailored to one’s personal needs.

Establishing transcription guidelines

Secondly, it is essential to establish transcription standards and guidelines. These guidelines should include the type of transcription that will be used, the formatting of the transcription, and the use of timestamps to indicate when the source’s statement is made.

Verifying the accuracy of the transcription

Journalists must verify the accuracy of the transcription to ensure the quotes, facts, and figures presented in their reports are correct. This includes reviewing the transcript for errors and cross-checking it against the original audio or video. It is also essential to note any discrepancies or unclear sections that require further investigation or clarification from the sources.

Protecting sources and maintaining confidentiality

Journalists must take measures to protect their sources and maintain confidentiality when transcribing interviews. This involves obtaining the source’s consent before sharing the transcript with anyone, anonymizing the transcript if necessary, and using secure methods for transmitting and storing the transcripts.

Properly storing and managing transcripts

Journalists should store and manage transcripts securely and appropriately to protect the integrity of their reporting. This includes labeling and organizing the transcripts in a way that makes them easy to retrieve, using password-protected file sharing platforms or encrypted storage devices, and backing up the transcripts in case of loss or damage. Additionally, journalists should have a clear retention policy for their transcripts, taking into account legal and ethical considerations, such as data protection laws and the protection of sources.

Why create transcripts with Amberscript

Amberscript is one of the leading transcription services on the market, offering both manual and automated transcription services. While automated transcription services may seem like a more convenient option, manual transcription is often the preferred method for ensuring the highest levels of accuracy.

Amberscript’s human-made transcription service is an excellent choice for journalists looking for high-quality and accurate transcripts. We employ a team of highly skilled and experienced transcribers who are trained to handle a wide range of transcription projects, from complex legal or medical documents to interviews and focus groups.

The process of using Amberscript’s human-made transcription service is straightforward. Customers simply upload their audio or video files to the Amberscript website, and the team of transcribers will begin working on the transcription. We offer a range of turnaround times to fit the customer’s needs, from 24 hours to five days. Customers can also choose from different transcription formats, including verbatim, edited, and intelligent verbatim.

One of the advantages of using Amberscript’s human-made transcription service is its focus on accuracy. The company prides itself on delivering high-quality transcripts that are free from errors and represent the intended meaning of the source’s statements. To ensure this, the team of transcribers undergoes rigorous training and are held to strict quality control standards. Amberscript also offers a 99% accuracy guarantee, which gives customers peace of mind that they will receive an accurate transcript.

Benefits of using Amberscript

Amberscript’s subtitle services are:


Edit your own text within minutes or leave the work to our experienced subtitlers.


Our experienced subtitlers and thorough quality controls ensure 100% accuracy of your transcriptions and subtitles.


Thanks to a variety of integrations and API interfaces, you can fully automate your workflows.


Your data is in safe hands. We are GDPR compliant + ISO27001 & ISO9001 certified.

How to transcribe with Amberscript

1. Upload

Uploading audio or video files to be transcribed has never been easier. With our AI-powered transcription service, you can quickly and easily upload your files, select the language in the file, and indicate the number of speakers. From there, our powerful algorithms go to work, transcribing your file in just a matter of minutes.

2. Let us do the work for you

Once your file has been transcribed, you have the chance to edit any mistakes or errors in the transcript. Our user-friendly editor makes it easy to quickly correct any issues, ensuring that your final transcript is as accurate as possible. Another alternative is to opt for our human-made services and let our professional transcribers make your transcript up to 100% accurate.

3. Export

After you’ve made any necessary edits, you can easily export your transcript in a variety of formats, including text, SRT, VTT, and many others. This makes it simple to share your transcript with others or use it in a variety of different applications.

Amberscript's transcription services

In conclusion, accurate transcription is absolutely essential for journalists to ensure their stories are accurately and effectively communicated. By following the best practices outlined in this article, both reporters and transcriptionists can help guarantee that each story is conveyed with maximum accuracy and precision. In a world where news travels faster than ever before, it’s important to take every precaution necessary to make sure our words don’t become distorted or misinterpreted along the way. With proper attention to detail on both sides of the equation, we can create an environment where accurate journalism thrives.

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