When it comes to the law – words, and moreover, the exact details of what was said – do matter. What can be misinterpreted or misunderstood in other professions, can have costly effects in the legal world.
While today’s word can, at its simplest understanding, be interpreted as meaning a ‘copy’ of something original, there is much more to it than meets the eye at first glance.
In generally, a transcription is a written record of spoken language and is expected to be an exact and unedited record of every spoken word, with each speaker indicated.
And a legal transcription refers to any transcript used in the legal field and is generally required in all areas of law, whether within the court system or a corporation.
At its base, our word transcription comes from Middle French, and means the action or process of transcribing or copying.
However, when broken down, its Latin roots become obvious: trans, meaning ‘across,’ and the verb scribo, meaning ‘to write.’
The term was first used in English in 1598 by John Florio in his Italian/English dictionary, A World of Words, where he explained it simply as: “Trascrittione, a transcription, a writing, or copying out.”
Interestingly, within half a century, the word was not only being used to represent the process of copying, but the end result as well, as we can see in 1650’s Vindication of Dr. Hammond’s Address by Dr. Henry Hammond, where he writes that: “Besides this transcription, there is but one passage.., to which he thinks fit to make reply.”
To most people, transcription seems like easy work, but, looking at some statistics, it is actually a quite difficult and time consuming one. Consider that the average person speaks approximately 140 words per minute, and, in English, each word contains an average of 4.5 letters, which equals 630 typed characters per minute (not including punctuation).
As for the average professional transcriptionist, they can type an average of 80 to 100 words per minute. Overall, when accounting for specific terminology used and the clarity of the speakers being transcribed, transcribing a 1 hour interview can take from 4 to 6 hours of time. A bit more than you were expecting, isn’t it?
→ Contact EVS Translations today to learn why we are the preferred supplier of professional legal transcription services.