In the field of law, lawyers have a lot of things on their plate. They have to manage many cases at one time. In such a demanding career, streamlining collected information and evidence is a very crucial step. A lawyer meets and talks to many people in one day. He records multiple interviews, audio files, documents, and court recordings for further reference in a case. The amount of information and recorded data with a lawyer is humongous. Legal transcription from speech to text helps lawyers keep track of all the information they have gathered.
Why Legal Transcription Services?
Legal transcription services help a law firm scale up its operations and caseload by finding proper ways of streamlining the recorded legal content. A good legal transcription team converts lengthy audio and recorded content into easy-to-read text form.
The process of legal transcription refers to listening to any kind of audio or video file for the spoken word in the legal context. The legal transcriptionists then convert the audio file or spoken word into a text document for easy referral. Often, recorded audio files are unclear and have to be converted to easy text format for better understanding. A legal transcription file is easy to scan for information and helps lawyers find information accurately.
However, if lawyers sat down to do legal transcription, the sheer amount of legal information in a recorded audio or video file will take up all their time. Therefore, it is very important to hire a good legal transcriptionist team.
There are professional legal transcriptionists who specialize in transcribing recorded legal files into text documents. These professionals finish the transcription process in a fast and easy manner. There are many documents like testimonials, court hearings, and interrogation interviews that need to be transcribed. The need for transcription arises from the need to siphon off evidence from the spoken word. The proper text documentation of the spoken word helps lawyers filter out the right information they have been looking for. Legal transcription gives an edge to lawyers in the processing of large-scale data so that it can be concocted for evidence in an important case.
Many lawyers rely on court reporters for transcriptions. However, court reporters are live reporters who transcribe court proceedings in real-time. The issue with legal transcription in real-time is that the court reporter may miss out on certain things. Another issue with court reporters is that the transcription that you get is only of the court proceedings, not of any other form of evidence and audio files. Even though legal transcriptionists are not able to swear someone in, they are able to work with more accuracy than traditional court reporters.
The Legal Transcription Process
A legal transcription process is a multi-step approach that works with different recorded files.
The steps for a legal transcription assignment are as follows
Receiving the Files
A legal transcription agency receives most of the audio and video formats for transcription. A good legal transcription agency offers flexibility in the transcription process, offering its services to different file formats. When sending your files to the legal transcription agency, double-check your files and state the deadline for the transcription deposition so that the agency can meet the deadline on time.
Listening to the Original File
What the legal transcriptionist does is listen to the original audio file first. The transcriptionist will copy the source material verbatim at first. The transcriptionist will take up the format as specified by the client. He will also consider the type of audio file he is transcribing. For example, if he transcends an interrogative interview with a person, the dialect and grammar said by the person will fluctuate. However, the transcriptionist smoothens the grammar and syntax for the text document. Therefore, you get a perfectly meaningful and organized text document for your perusal.
The Document is Reviewed
Once the first transcribed copy of the audio is created, the document is reviewed by a professional. A professional proofreader works in this area to ensure no mistakes and inconsistencies in the text document. This ensures that the information and grammar are accurate with a 100 to 99 percent accuracy. Reviewing and proofreading ensure that the client receives the best output from the entire process.
Transcription is Sent Back
Once the transcribed file is checked and reviewed properly and some last-minute changes are done, it is sent back to the client. The transcription is sent back to the client in the requested format. Sometimes, the client may demand multiple file formats, including the printed version. A good legal transcription agency provides the transcribed file in multiple digital and printed formats. This helps the client in accessing the file in any form necessary. The transcription is archived so that the client can recover it from the archives if the sent file is lost or damaged.
What is the Turnaround Time for a Legal Transcription Process?
Usually, the transcription process gets over within 24 to 48 hours. However, it depends on the volume of audio files received for one assignment. Some transcription projects may take more than a day or two to finish. Some projects are of shorter duration and high urgency levels. Such projects can get expedited by the legal transcription agency. Such urgent projects may finish well before the day ends. Some projects, on the other hand, take a week or more to finish. The completion time depends on the manpower available and the bulk of work arising from the assignment. However, professional legal transcriptionists take less time than untrained ones. A good legal transcription agency maintains the quality of the transcribed file while creating it at a fast pace.
Why Do You Need Legal Transcription Services?
Upfront, transcription sounds easy and something anyone can do. However, the complexity of the transcription process and its intricacies make it professional work that only a trained transcriptionist can do. When it comes to legal transcription services, it is always better to choose a professional transcriptionist. This is because the stakes are high with legal transcription files. The accuracy level has to be high and well maintained. A lawyer cannot risk losing out on important points of a conversation or crucial evidence by giving the transcription assignment to an amateur transcriptionist.
For example, suppose a lawyer took an interrogative interview of a person whose words are crucial for the case as evidence. If the transcriptionist cannot transcribe the audio of the interview properly, all the efforts of the lawyer go in vain. If the transcriptionist is not familiar with legal terms and lingo, he might jumble up a transcription of a court proceeding. Since lawyers work most with information and the spoken word of witnesses and criminals, no loss of information in the transcription process is necessary.
Why You Need to Hire Legal Transcriptionist?
If you have a particular legal recording or audio file that you need to be transcribed word for word, you need to hire a good transcriptionist. This will help you keep the integrity of language and grammar while giving you results in a fast manner. Hiring a legal transcriptionist reduces the burden of going through a high volume of unorganized audio data for you. Legal transcription can help give you a targeted approach to the case at hand and clarify the direction of justice.
Legal transcription skills are some of the most underrated skills in the legal arena. A good legal transcription file helps you organize and remember the details of a case. You do not have to lose time over recapitulating information and debating its accuracy. In the legal field, every piece of information bit has to be accurate and precise. The transcription process conserves every bit of information and provides clarity in terms of evidence. A good transcribed file helps a lawyer navigate through mounting paperwork and recorded files.
When you have accurate information and recorded text documents, you can easily share the information with your clients and case stakeholders. Legal transcription allows you to use the information collected in the most professional manner. A good legal transcription team helps you maintain your reputation among clients and peers. The turnaround time for transcription reduces by manifold. Moreover, hiring a good legal transcription team increases your chances of winning a case.
What are the legal transcription skills a good legal transcriptionist owns?
There are many skills that differentiate a professional legal transcriptionist from an amateur legal transcriptionist. These skills are important for transcribing audio and video files accurately and quickly. The important legal transcription skills are as follows-
The transcriptionist must own great typing skills. Without typing skills, you cannot become a transcriptionist. You need to be good at typing with good speed and accuracy to transcribe the audio quickly.
Spelling and punctuation-
The transcriptionist needs to be good at spelling and punctuation. Good spelling skills help people in writing the transcribed words properly. Often the accent of a person may fluctuate the pronunciation of a word. However, the transcriptionist needs to have a good perception of pronunciation and spelling to be able to write them properly. The transcriptionist also needs a good perception of the gaps in conversation so that the punctuation is proper when it is transcribed in text. Good transcription skills begin with good spelling and punctuation skills. When the transcriptionist knows all the spellings properly, it will help increase the pace of typing.
Good listening skills-
To bring about accurate spelling and punctuation, the transcriptionist needs to approach the audio with awareness and good listening skills. Without good listening skills, the transcriptionist loses out on the important details of the audio. Poor listening skills defeat the whole purpose of the transcription process. Good listening capacity and patience help a transcriptionist decode the audio and create a word-by-word text document.
A good transcriptionist needs to be good at the language he is transcribing. Fluency in the language and good command of its grammar helps the transcriptionist in typing the document with accuracy. With a good command of the language, the person can understand the audio file and transcribe it easily and precisely. When the transcriptionist does the job with an understanding of the language and grammar, it helps create a good quality transcribed document.
The difference between a legal transcriptionist and a general transcriptionist lies in his knowledge of legal terminology. The legal terms are very complex and difficult to understand. However, a good transcriptionist has to have good legal term knowledge. For example, suppose the transcriptionist is transcribing court proceedings for a lawyer. He cannot be stuck at certain legal terminologies and lose track of the proceedings. He cannot go to the lawyer to understand each legal term said. If that were the case, the lawyer would rather transcribe it himself. Therefore, the transcriptionist has to be well versed with legal terminologies. Moreover, the knowledge of legal terms must be diverse if the transcriptionist is working in international legal proceedings.
The legal transcriptionist also needs to have the patience to go through the extensive audio files that he has been assigned. Lawyers have to deal with multiple cases and usually do not have the patience to organize the data and evidence. The transcriptionist needs to have the patience to listen to bulk audio files and transcribe them. The transcriptionist needs to sit down for long hours to type out the audio file into a text file word for word. The listening, typing, reviewing, correcting, and compiling process takes a lot of time and patience from the transcriptionist.
A good legal transcriptionist has all the skills written above. With the set of skills and knowledge, a professional transcriptionist can complete his bulk assignments with the highest quality and accuracy maintained. There are many activities that go behind the court doors or legal circle. From depositions to interrogative interviews, court proceedings to legal briefs, many activities need professional legal transcription services.
The most common legal proceedings that need the services of a legal transcriptionist are:
Testimony is usually what the witness declares in court concerning the case in the court of law under oath. Testimony is a witness’ account of the circumstances of a case that can be admitted as evidence. It is a solemn statement or declaration of the fact done under oath. The testimony can be oral or written. Usually, the oral testimonies are legally transcribed by transcriptionists. This helps the lawyer keep a record of the testimonies so that the witness cannot withdraw his words. A transcribed account of the testimonies also helps lawyers in tracking the evidence and building a good case.
A deposition is the sworn testimony of a witness in of court scenario. The deposition of a witness is used to gather information on a case. In certain circumstances, a deposition is also used for evidence in a trial. However, in most cases, deposition is used as a part of the discovery process by the lawyer. Deposition on the case is used to explore and establish the facts held by a stakeholder or witness of the case at hand. Depositions are taken by the lawyer from both sides of the case and involve third parties. This process allows the lawyer to get his facts straight before the case proceedings so that he can build a case in favor of his client. The transcription of a deposition helps lawyers in studying the facts of the case properly. A well-transcribed text of the deposition helps establish facts by cutting across all the noises in the recorded deposition. Deposition occurs when the lawyer asks some questions and seeks answers outside the court of law. The deposition is usually recorded on audio or video with a tape recorder or video camera. A legal transcriptionist has to see or hear the deposition and transcribe it.
Court proceedings are the actions taken by both parties and lawyers in the court of law. The actions taken by the court inside the premises about a case are called court proceedings. The court proceedings are usually transcribed by a court reporter who is a live transcriptionist present on the court premises. However, a third party legal transcriptionist can also record and transcribe the court proceedings at the request of a lawyer. The transcription of the court proceedings helps lawyers keep track of the progress made on the case.
These are some of the basic legal activities where lawyers need the help of a good transcriptionist.
How to Choose a Good Legal Transcription Company
Apart from hiring a freelancing legal transcriptionist, lawyers can also hire a good legal transcription agency that has enough manpower to support any legal transcription assignment on time. A legal transcription agency has a professional team of legal transcriptionists specializing in the work. Here’s how you can pick a good legal transcription agency.
Provide a high guarantee of accuracy-
When you approach a legal transcription agency, make sure that the team is offering a guarantee of a high accuracy rate. A legal transcription agency offering a high accuracy rate like 99 or 100 percent is a good sign. This is an indicator that the agency has a good team of professionals who know what they are doing. Without accuracy, the whole point of hiring a professional team does not materialize.
Choose a legal transcription team that does not disappoint you when it comes to meeting deadlines. The team should be working at a fast pace to ensure that you get your transcribed files on time. Without speed, accuracy is easy but unwanted. Legal proceedings come with a strict deadline. Therefore, the transcription process should also go ahead in a very rapid manner. Find a good company that works efficiently under pressure and meets urgent deadlines. Find companies that have a short turnaround time of one or two days.
They have high-security standards-
Choose a legal transcription company that adheres to high-security standards. Legal documents, testimonies, and depositions are part of sensitive information that should not be tampered with and manipulated. Therefore, always try to choose a trustworthy and reputed legal transcription company that has high-security provisions for your legal recordings. Choose a legal transcription agency that is clear about the security and encryption measures taken to protect the documents. If the agency is not clear about how it protects your data and documents, you should not choose the agency for any further assignments.
They have clear contracts and insurance provisions-
Insurance is also necessary to protect documents and data. A good legal transcription agency has clear-cut contracts that look after the mutual interests of the client and the company. A good agency also has strong insurance provisions for the documents so that the company and client are protected against the loss or damage of a transcribed document.
They have Good Reviews
Always choose a legal transcription company with a good reputation in the market. Always look for customer reviews and testimonials before approaching the agency for any work. Talk with your peers, take their recommendations and then go for the best legal transcription agency according to them. Instead of taking the risk of taking up a new agency, always go for an established agency. If you are already taking services from an established agency, do not switch to another without proper research.
These are some of the pointers to consider before going for the services of a legal transcription agency. The legal transcription agency needs to be efficient and accurate with the work they deliver.
Legal transcription is a promising field of occupation that closely allies with the field of law. Legal transcriptionists are necessary for every lawyer and his day-to-day work. The professionals in this field have skills that help in the transcription and storage of legal information in an organized way. Without transcribed files, a lawyer cannot build his case and go about in his legal duties. Legal transcriptionists can be sourced in a freelancing way or through legal transcription companies. Either way, the goal is to find a good and trustworthy legal transcriptionist who brings skills and expertise to the table.