Legal Transcription: How and Why

Andrei Cucleschin, 04 September 2019


Lawyers, judges and other professionals in this field often work with a large amount of audio and video recordings. Witness statements, legal agreements, video interviews – here are just some examples of those recordings. Nowadays, audio and video are transcribed to text, either by the legal transcribers (called “court reporters”) or automatically, using software.

Please note, this blog post is written for general information purposes and should not be treated as legal advice (!)

What is Legal Transcription?

Legal transcription is the conversion of any legal and audio materials to text format. In legal domain transcripts can be applied in several ways, which are:

  • Recordings of official meetings and court hearings are either transcribed or captioned. For public affairs, this is required by the new EU policies on digital accessibility. Transcripts are also used in private legal hearings, namely to make the overview & analysis of evidence quicker and easier. For example, you can search for a particular word mentioned on the recording and you’ll immediately see when and in what context it was pronounced.
  • Lawyers can use transcripts as legal documents. Again, audio and video evidence is much easier to review, when it’s in the form of text. So you don’t have to go back and watch the video/ listen to a recording again and again, just do it once, then produce a transcript or automatic subtitles.

Things to Consider Before Ordering a Legal Transcript:

  • Accuracy of transcription – for official matters, transcripts need to be very accurate. Otherwise, you run the risk of having legal issues yourself.
  • Professional jargon – there are many specific terms in legal domain, which are known to professionals, but not by software.
  • Turnaround time – keep in mind, when you need your transcription to be ready.
  • Privacy – all transcribers are obliged to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). Nevertheless, a lot of people would prefer to go through their files themselves without the involvement of any 3rd parties.
  • Legal compliance – any way of producing a transcript is legal, as long as it’s accurate and secure.

Manual vs Automatic Transcription for Legal Matters

In general, you can choose between 2 options – hiring a company to produce transcripts for you or using automatic transcription service, like Amberscript. Both of these choices have their own benefits, which you can review in the table below (look at items marked with the X)

BenefitManual transcriptionAutomatic transcription
Faster turnaround timeX
Higher accuracyX
Legal jargonX
Legal complianceXX

You should choose between automatic and manual transcription based on your priorities. If you want to be ensured that you’re the only human being going over your files – you should rely on automatic transcription tools. Sometimes it’s difficult for software to pick up legal jargon, but you can always make those minor adjustments yourself. For common language, our tool reaches up to 90% accuracy.

The greatest benefit of hiring a transcriber is that you receive a 99% accurate transcript without the need to make changes. However, as opposed to automatic transcription – it takes days instead of minutes.

Is There an Option in Between?

Yes, there is one! Our Perfect service combines automatic and manual transcription. First, the files are transcribed with our software and then get checked by our human transcribers. This service saves a lot of time and money, in case you want to receive a ready-to-go transcript without putting any work.

Try Amberscript for free!

Do you need a Legal Transcription? If you have any questions about the way we work, feel free to get in touch with us!

Legal Transcription [How & Why?] EN

Legal Transcription: how and why

Lawyers, judges, and other professionals in the field often work with large amount of audio and video recordings. Legal Transcription makes everything easy.

edited vs verbatim EN

What is a transcription? Edited vs. Verbatim transcriptions

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