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Audio Transcripts: Guide to Transcript File Formats

Audio Transcripts: Guide to Transcript File Formats

Audio transcripts come in many transcript file formats. This blog will provide knowledge that will help you identify the format that will work best for you. So let’s begin.

Some of the most common transcript formats are:

Plain Text Transcription Formats

  1. Plain Text Files [.txt]
  2. Microsoft Word Document [.docx]
  3. PDF

Time-Stamped Transcription File Formats

  1. SMPTE Timecode
  2. HTML Transcript File Formats
  3. JS and JSON File Formats
  4. Tab-Delimited Text and CSV Text
  5. Edit Decision List [.edl]
  6. Avid ScriptSync [.txt]

Detailed Guide to Transcript File Formats

Audio transcripts can store valuable information and knowledge, and as such act as a reservoir from which is easier to glean valuable insights, whenever and wherever needed. However, transcription formatting is a hard nut to crack yet imperative, if you want transcripts to generate value for your business. 

In addition to serving as a valuable resource, something you can resort to for future use, made available for the perusal of other employees. Audio transcripts have an intrinsic value in themselves as aiding material that helps hard of hearing consumers of video and audio understand its content. Providing listeners with an opportunity to read the transcript of the audio while listening to it. This way podcasters can widen the reach of their content and reach the audience who happen to be deaf and hard-of-hearing.

The best way to overcome the impediment thrown your way by the complexity of transcript file formats is to use professional transcription services, whereby you outsource it to an agency housing professional transcribers, who have mastered the art of transcription formats. It may not just take the burden off of you but also save you plenty of time and capital, which may better be utilized somewhere else where it’s wanted.


Order Audio Transcription Service

What Determines Which Transcription File Format to Choose?

Many things determine which audio transcript format to choose and use. One of the ways to look at this is from the viewpoint of the transcription type opted for. For example, a Detailed Notes transcript may well need one kind of format than, say, a Verbatim and Full-Verbatim. In short, the requirements of each will determine which transcription format perfectly fits the bill, and which doesn’t.

However, there are certain things that have to be taken into consideration when trying to determine the choice of your transcription file format. For example:

  • The audio hosting platform used fairly lays out which format will work and which won’t. Of late, we have seen the rise of Podcasts as preferred mediums for audio consumption and platforms like Amazon Music are spearheading what’s called Synced Transcripts to help hard of hearing listeners of podcasts better understand the audio’s content. Spotify may have a different set of rules determining how audio transcription for podcasts works on its platform. In a nutshell, it’s fairly important to have a thorough understanding of the hosting platform you’re using for your audio content in order to determine the best transcript format you can make use of.
  • You may also want to understand which transcript formats an audio hosting platform supports, and building on that information, you can make a better decision as to which format to choose. However, it might not be so easy for you to do it on your own, to work through the complex technicalities involved. That’s why you’re encouraged to use professional transcription services, which, at Locate Translate, we offer at affordable prices with guaranteed accuracy and on-time delivery.
  • Another important thing to consider is whether or not you want to offer downloadable transcripts to your audience, in which case you may have to format transcripts differently. 

Therefore, from what we’ve discussed, it’s clear that transcription formatting isn’t a cakewalk for everybody, or a cup of tea anyone can sip up. The linguistic and technical expertise of the highest standard is required to furnish accurate, properly formatted audio transcripts.

You may also want to read: How to Transcribe an Interview: A Guide to Transcribing Interviews

Some of the Standard Transcription Layouts

Plain Text Transcription Formats

When it comes to uncomplicated transcript types, plain text transcriptions form a large chunk of it widely used. Here are some of the common plain text transcription formats:

  1. Plain Text Files [.txt]: One of the common features of these files is that they all have a .txt file extension. Also, these files aren’t formatted at all. You may need Notepad, a plain text editor, to open files with a .txt file extension. 
  1. Microsoft Word Document [.docx]: Donning a .docx file extension, MS Word documents bear text formatting. You can format word documents as you deem fit, hence it’s fair enough to say that .docx files are easier to sift through, read or even edit.
  1. PDF: The thing with Portable Document Formats [PDF] is that PDFs don’t lend themselves to editing and also PDFs can’t be formatted should the need arise to do so. Though easier to read and portable, PDFs are mostly locked.

You may also want to read: Subtitles Vs. Closed Captioning: All You Need To Know

Time-Stamped Transcription File Formats

These files bear timestamps, that’s why they’re referred to as time-stamped transcription file formats. Moreover, typically time-stamped file formats are formatted and written in MS Word, and contain timestamps on a second, minute, and even hourly basis.

SMPTE Timecode

SMPTE stands for Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. SMPTE time-coded transcripts are frame labelled, which prove helpful in audio-video synchronization. So know that if you want to sync audio to the video and embed a transcript accordingly where audio-video-text are in complete sync, go for transcripts with SMPTE timecode.

HTML Transcript File Formats

As said earlier, requirements vary from one platform to another. Suppose you need a transcript of a video that you want to embed on your website. The transcript in this case has to be formatted in HTML. Otherwise, the browser may not be able to access the transcript. That clearly indicates that if a transcript is wrongly formatted, it may not serve the purpose that was intended for it.

Suffice it to say, for audio and video files to be embedded on a website and made accessible through a browser, the transcript file has to be in HTML format. 

JS and JSON File Formats

Other than the drawback that JS and JSON transcript formats are hard to read, hence largely less user-friendly, such files though prove useful for other purposes where time synchronization and timestamp is an absolute necessity. Machine learning transcription software produces JS and JSON transcripts. 

A unique thing or value they bring to a transcript is that each word on the transcripts acts as a link and corresponds to the audio or video section or its location on the recording where it was spoken. In other words, JS and JSON transcripts are interactive.

Tab-Delimited Text and CSV Text

The need for tab-delimited and CSV text arises when dealing with text in tables. The thing is most transcription software don’t support such a transcript format, creating, therefore, a need for conversion of text in tables into a simpler format, or exporting text in tables as tab-delimited text or CSV text file.

In the case of tab-delimited text, tabs help separate the information into separate columns. Each tab represents one line. CSV or Comma Separated Values file uses commas to delimit the information. And each comma is representative of a separate column that contains one record per line.

Tab-Delimited Text and CSV Text Examples

Tab-Delimited Text                                                      CSV Text

Tab-Delimited Text
CSV text file format

Industry-Specific Transcript Layouts

Edit Decision List [.edl] Transcript Format

Specific to the film industry, .edl file format comes in handy when doing post-production script-based editing. Timestamped as well as ordered, Edit Decision List helps when relating moments from a video to the corresponding texts in a transcript. So you get the text for the exact moment you want in the video recording. 

Avid ScriptSync [.txt]

A file format with great utility, Avid ScriptSync syncs text or words on a transcript with audio and video of the recording. It’s a lot quicker when it comes to synchronization and is used by filmmakers and video editors. Though a plain text file itself, Avid ScriptSync transcript is added audio/video sync marks when processed by software. Sync marking is done for each line of the text.

Conclusion

No matter which industry you’re in, at Locate Translate we specialize in audio and video transcription services, legal transcription, in as many as 30+ language pairs, including German transcription, Japanese transcription, Arabic to English transcription. We can be your valuable partner in transcribing complex audio and video content in the format needed. Get in touch with our expert transcribers and let them do all the hard work while you enjoy peace of mind. At Locate Translate, we provide human-done transcription services, which is 100% accurate and can work with all transcript formatting options.

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Businesses wanting to serve multilingual and multicultural audiences have a challenge in language barriers. It’s an impediment you’d want to get rid of at the earliest. That’s why translation comes to play such an important role in streamlining foreign expansion.  One...

50 German Words With No English Translation

German Words With No English Equivalent Working in a translation agency has its benefits – you come across so many languages as translators mumble in multiple tongues. I’ve been at Locate Translate for many months now. During my tenure, I’d discuss languages with...

6 Reasons Financial Translation is Imperative for your Business

Financial Translation Facilitates Global Expansion With the internet’s proliferation on a massive scale, borders and cultures no longer hinder the business’s expansion plans. Just about anywhere a business can move and access a pool of potential customers. Help, along...

Ten Reasons Businesses Need Translation Services

Ten Reasons Businesses Need Translation Services Here are ten reasons that explain why businesses need human-done translation services to legally translate business documents. Preference for Native Language Lacking Required English Proficiency Need for Localisation...

Why you Should Hire Professional Translators for Legal Translation

Come legal translation of documents, complexity reaches its apex. In particular, the complexity owes to two things. One is the complex legal terminology associated with preparing legal documents. Another is to ensure the accuracy of the translated version at par with...

Audio Transcripts: Guide to Transcript File Formats

Audio transcripts come in many transcript file formats. This blog will provide knowledge that will help you identify the format that will work best for you. So let's begin. Some of the most common transcript formats are: Plain Text Transcription Formats Plain Text...

Indispensable Medical Interpretation in the Covid Era

Healthcare & Medical Interpretation Services in Situations Like COVID-19 A 2013 National Institutes of Health report suggests some 25.5 million people, which is about 8.5% of the US population, were LEP or Limited English Proficient. The same report reveals that...

How to Write a Transcript: A Definitive Guide to Interview Transcription [2022]

This blog is for novice transcribers who have just started their career in interview transcription.  Also, for businesses trying to convert audio/video files into text on their own and looking for guidance in doing so accurately and in quick time, this blog may...

Subtitles Vs. Closed Captioning: All You Need To Know

Captions vs subtitles give the impression that they are identical. A facade of resemblance hides from view the web of differences between the two. But there's more to it than meets the eye.  Closed captioning is for one type of audience while subtitling is for...