How to Transcribe a Speech Sample

by Giselle Diamond; Updated September 26, 2017

Whether you want to be able to remember exactly what was said at a seminar, create more accurate notes from a class lecture, or simply have a friend relay information you may have missed from a speech, speech transcription can be a valuable tool. By having what you were told then turned into a readable format, you can then go back and review what you heard. Transcription is vital to court proceedings and in many other professions, and by using simple transcription software or services you too can enjoy the benefits of a speech written out. These services and programs are usually much faster and easier than having to sit through the recording yourself and type it out on your own computer.

Items you will need

  • Tape recorder
  • Computer
  • Transcription software
Step 1

Record the speech. Today there are many ways to record. You can use a regular tape recorder. Some iPods have an application that allows them to record audio files. Some advanced cell phones, iPhones, and Blackberries have this feature too. However you go about it, record the speech sample that you wish to have transcribed. Whatever method you choose, make sure that you are within close enough range that you can clearly hear the recorded version of what is being said. Microphones can enhance the sound if you are not able to get a seat close to the speaker.

Step 2

Upload audio to computer. By either uploading the speech sample to your computer and then opening it with transcription software or sending it to a transcription service, you can then have the audio translated into text. A computer software option is Dragon Naturally Speaking Preferred. Some services will download your audio file and then return a written version for you.

Step 3

Apply settings. If you decide to use a software system, fill out a few settings according to dialect and other linguistic options to get the most accurate transcription.

Step 4

Proofread written words. Whether you are going to use a computer-based program or a service, it is always best to read over what is written and check for any mistakes. If you are relying on a computer, there is the possibility that a few errors may occur. The same goes with a transcription service: make sure that what is written makes sense and is in line with what the speech said.

Tips

  • Good-quality transcription programs can cost a couple hundred dollars, and services usually charge on a case-by-case basis. It depends on how often you intend to have speeches transcribed.

Warnings

  • Some computer programs have specific difficulty transcribing the voices of young children, people with speech disorders or lisps, and thick accents.

About the Author

Giselle Diamond is a freelance writer and has been writing since 1999. Diamond is experienced in writing in all genres and subjects, with distinguished experience in home and garden, culture and society, literature and psychology. Diamond has a Master of Arts in English and psychology from New York University. Diamond has articles published on both eHow and LiveStrong.