How to write a transcript correctly: A beginner's guide

Want to know how to write a transcript? You don't have to look any further; we give you all the information in this post.

It is an organized guide to achieving accurate, relatively fast, professional-looking transcripts.

We love the world of transcription, and that's why we share what we've learned; we hope it will be helpful for everyone!

10 steps to write a transcript without dying in the attempt

For some people transcribing is challenging and exhausting. They may be working under pressure, with poor audio quality or lack the necessary resources.

Here we show you a roadmap so that you don't have a hard time, do it smoothly and enjoy it.

Enjoyment comes from understanding that transcripts are valuable. They are records of what a person, or several people, said at one time in an audio or video and are used for research, communication, legal, medical and many more purposes.

Here are the steps on how to write a transcript correctly and fluently.

1. A quiet and orderly place to work

The first step is to find a quiet, orderly and clean place to work efficiently. In these conditions, paying attention, focusing, and concentrating on the task is more accessible.

how to write transcript

You will probably spend hours transcribing; we suggest having water, coffee, tea, or whatever you prefer to hydrate and be well hydrated.

2. Noise-canceling headphones

Essential for any transcriptionist, they allow you to work in a concentrated way on the audio without the interruptions of ambient noise. You need good headphones and, if possible, background noise elimination.

This type of headset is ideal if you are learning how to write a transcription. They have components to eliminate all noise so that the only sound you hear is the recordings.

There are two designs; the closed one isolates all external noise and is suitable for transcribing in noisy environments. And open headphones are perfect for transcribing in secure environments, such as studios, to experience a fuller sound.

How to do a transcription

Transcriptionists listen to the audio for hours, so pay attention to the fit and ensure they are made of soft, smooth material with sufficient padding.

Finally, the weight, the lighter, the better, and it is more advisable to choose over-the-ear headphones. They are more effective in eliminating background noise and ensuring greater accuracy in transcription.

3. Pedal, comfortable chair and transcription software.

A foot pedal is another indispensable resource, it helps you to control the rhythm of the recording without using your hands, and thus you will transcribe more fluently.

It consists of a large laptop touch panel that you operate with your foot, and by pressing it in different parts, you have three functions: play/pause, rewind and fast forward the recording.

It is necessary because there are audios where the speech is speedy, paused, or almost inaudible. The foot pedal allows you to hear everything, and by controlling the audio's speed or rhythm, you can write more fluently.

As for the comfortable chair, it should be ergonomic. This will avoid or alleviate the discomfort or pain in the neck and back caused by spending too much time in the same posture.

If you work for hours in a regular chair, you will end up with stabbing pain in your back, stiffness in your neck and arms, and tension in your shoulders and lower back.

This chair should have comfortable surfaces, a backrest design adapted to the curvature of the back, a wide headrest, neck support and height adjustment mechanisms.

Regarding the software, it is an excellent ally in correctly writing a transcription. It allows you to transcribe voice to text automatically, and you will save the effort and time of elaborating a first draft.

You will only need to load the file and operate some buttons, and the program will transcribe the recorded audio or video to text. Reviewing and editing this transcription to achieve maximum accuracy will be much easier and faster.

how to write a transcription

One of the most attractive software is oTranscribe, a free online tool with open source. It allows exporting transcripts, has interactive timestamps, saves changes automatically, and the data handling is private and secure.

On the other hand, in ScriptMe, we are an automatic transcription service company; users can convert various audio and video files to text very quickly and easily. It has intuitive tools and a powerful transcript editor with which you will achieve 100% accurate transcripts.

In addition, we have a translation function with 30 languages; it is straightforward to upload files, select the language and start the transcription process almost immediately. All users praise ScriptMe's ease of use, speed and efficiency.

4. Know what type of transcription you need

There are three types of transcription to choose from, and it depends on the purpose for which it is to be used.

The first type is complete verbatim transcription; it includes every word, expression or sound in the recording, even if it is an "Aaay" because everything has meaning. It is appropriate if the transcript is to be used for legal, medical, or qualitative research purposes.

The second is an edited or cleaned verbatim version, where content that does not add value is filtered out to facilitate the reading and understanding of the transcript.

It is used to transcribe the content of meetings to be published, interviews as a basis for articles and notes for references.

The third type is detailed notes, transcribing only the content necessary to capture the essence without reading non-relevant information.

5. Listen to the audio before you start transcribing

This will refresh your memory of the content if you were present, help you understand the flow of the conversation, make it possible to identify the speakers and detect unfamiliar terms.

Write a transcription

Knowing the context and content beforehand, you can work on the transcription more fluently.

6. Transcribe a first draft

The time has come to start transcribing and to work out a readable approximation. You don't have to capture word for word, you can use abbreviations, and you don't need to worry so much about spelling and grammar.

If you don't have specifications for the type of transcription to be done, there is one rule of transcription: don't add or omit content.

how to write a transcript of a conversation

Remember, you have software options to get this first draft very quickly.

7. Edit the first version by listening carefully

By listening to the recording and reading simultaneously, you can detect more inaudible words and expressions and include them in the document.

Use a spell checker or dictionary to ensure everything is spelt correctly; this is the time to polish spelling and grammar.

Improper use of words or grammar errors by speakers are not edited; they should be reflected as heard in the audio.

8. Re-read everything as you listen to the recording.

You can verify that all the content is reflected and ensure the speakers are correctly identified if you transcribe a conversation.

This is a crucial step in how to write a transcript because it ensures its accuracy and quality.

9. Format the corrected transcript

Formatting gives the style, and when it comes to writing a conversation transcript, there are a series of details. Among others, a new paragraph is created each time there is a new speaker and time markers are included when each speaker intervenes.

how to write a transcript correctly

Brackets give more clarity to the text; the word [sic] indicates an error by the speaker and not by the transcriber. To provide the conversation with context, it is essential to include nonverbal communication, laughter, sighing or crying in parentheses.

Another detail is to use [pause] and [inaudible] to reflect silences in the conversation and words that are not heard or understood.

Once the content has been appropriately styled, the form and presentation of the document are styled. Title, page numbering and distinctive paragraphs are added, avoiding dense blocks of text to facilitate reading.

10. Export or share the transcript

Transcripts are records and, therefore, beneficial information for different purposes. For example, you can export and incorporate part of the content into reports or use phrases or quotes for publications.

And you can share the transcripts, upload the document as a blog post or even post some of the content on social networks.

Text files take up little space and are easy to share and read; the transcript is an ideal way to position your brand.


We have shared our guide on how to write a transcript correctly.

We understand transcription as a process and not as a moment. A series of decisions are made, and actions are taken before, during and after transcription.

They are logically sequenced steps essential to achieve an accurate, quality, professional-looking transcript.

The value of transcription in any field is undeniable. However, we recognize that not everyone has the time to do it properly. If you require frequent transcriptions, hiring an automatic transcription service is best.

At ScriptMe, we are at your disposal to make your transcriptions with speed, accuracy and quality; contact us and get to know our services!

Emil Nikkhah
Hi, I'm Emil Nikkhah.
For over 25 years, I have successfully built several television post-production companies.
Frustrated by the high cost and slowness of manual transcription and subtitling in this industry, we decided to create ScriptMe, a powerful software for automatic transcription and subtitling.
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