Looking to invest in transcription services? The most important factors for legal industry professionals to consider. | Legal support in the US

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Looking to invest in transcription services? The most important factors for legal industry professionals to consider. | Legal support in the US
Looking to invest in transcription services? The most important factors for legal industry professionals to consider. | Legal support in the US


[author: Sandra Redavid]

Although there is a growing demand for audio and video transcription services across all industries, legal the transcription market accounts for almost 30% of the overall transcription market. Legal transcription demand in the US is expected to account for 90% market share in North America by 2029. These statistics are consistent with my experience – compared to the period before COVID, from 2020 onwards I see growth of 60%-70 %. in requests for audio and video transcription.

What is behind this increased demand? The pandemic was and is a definite factor. The sharp shift from in-person to virtual everything meant that people in all industries needed new ways to do transcriptions. The rise of digital platforms such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet also played a role, as more professional interactions than ever before were recorded as video and audio files. Transcripts can help with meetings where you just want the notes written down or want to remember something important that wasn’t written down.

When it comes to record keeping requirements, in some industries just having an audio or video recording is sufficient. In others, such as the legal industry, a hard copy transcript is required because an accurate record of court proceedings is always required. Regardless of the reason, as the demand for audio and video transcription increases, legal organizations want to pay close attention to how and where recordings are transcribed, as this can dramatically affect legal outcomes.

Video recording vs. audio recording

Regarding the type of recording, there is no rule in the legal industry that specifies that you must use video recordings instead of audio recordings or vice versa. Both forms of record can be filed in court. However, you are not allowed to submit documents only audio and/or video recording – a typed transcript must accompany the submission. Whether it’s a wiretap recording, a 911 call, a police interview, a deposition or a Senate hearing, every digital file must include a written transcript.

Privacy and security requirements

As a transcription service provider, US Legal Support meets both HIPAA and HITECH compliance requirements and takes privacy and confidentiality extremely seriously. This means that we never sell any copies of transcripts, nor do we share transcripts with anyone other than the original submitted. We also take extra care to have our transcripts sent via a secure, non-sharable connection to our SOC 2 Type 2 and HIPAA compliant client portal. In addition, all transcripts are stored in a secure database that also follows our SOC 2 Type 2 compliant protocols.

We take security one step further by ensuring our ‘people’ are protected too. Transcribers are required to sign business agreements, including non-disclosure agreements. You can learn more about how US Legal Support wraps all of our services in an industry-leading cybersecurity effort here.

How recording quality affects the final transcript: four important considerations

There are so many ways to create recordings these days, but when it comes to the files needed for audio and video transcription, some formats are definitely better than others. If you plan to have anything transcribed for a court or legal proceeding, it is important to consider the following.

#1: The platform

In terms of virtual meeting platforms, I’ve found Zoom to be one of the better ones for translating audio or video into a transcript. It provides you with speaker ID and shows who is speaking at a certain point in the recording.

Other platforms, like Google Meet, won’t tell you who’s talking. Unless it is captured on video and you are provided with a name and what the speaker was wearing, you may have a hard time identifying the speakers.

#2: The microphone

The quality of the recording really comes down to the audio and where the mic is placed. If the person speaking is across the room and not close to the microphone, such as on a speaker phone, it’s much harder to pick up their voice and there’s a greater chance you’ll hear misspelled or dropped words.

The quality of the relationship itself also plays a big role. This can come into play when wiretapping or recording interviews from a mobile phone, or if the person recording a conversation has a poor Wi-Fi connection.

#3: The speakers

Accents and dialects can also affect the accuracy of transcription. For this reason, when dealing with recordings involving international speakers, it is vital to use a real person to create the transcription – and if it is someone who is intimately familiar with the language and dialect and can transcribe it with great accuracy , all Better.

At US Legal Support, our team has translators who speak many languages ​​and dialects. When working with a legal entity to transcribe an audio or video recording where dialects or accents are a factor, we can assign that recording to someone who understands both the phrases and words commonly used in that dialect and various legal jargon that can to be used in the speaker’s judicial system.

#4: Terminology

Using a litigation support resource who understands the area of ​​expertise covered by the recording also helps in the process of cleaning up the audio prior to transcription. If it’s a recording of a financial board meeting, for example, we appoint someone who understands the financial industry and its terminology. This ensures a more personalized, accurate experience and transcript.

Best practices for choosing an audio and video transcription service provider

Given the nuances in transcription requirements, here are considerations for lawyers when looking to invest in audio or video transcription services.

  • I ask: will you submit the material to the court?
  • I ask: If you are using the transcript for litigation, what are the regulations of the state you are filing in (in what format, must it be verbatim, etc.)?
  • Double check: If transcription is required for legal documentation, choose a service provider that specializes in legal transcription and offers physical transcription by a transcriptionist or court reporter.
  • Double check: Make sure the provider is HIPAA and HITECH compliant.

What to avoid:

  • Providers who say they can produce a cheap transcript in 24 hours that can be legally filed – this could be a red flag that the transcript may not be verbatim.
  • Providers who are not transparent about their privacy and security practices.
  • Providers unable to provide transcripts across multiple content types (Word documents, PDFs, etc.).

Look forward

I believe that audio and video transcription holds great promise for the legal industry in the coming years. I also believe that the further development and refinement of additional technologies will greatly improve the world of transcription as well.


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