What is legal transcription? A quick guide

Do you know why legal transcription has become so popular?

This is one of the fastest growing transcription services, thanks to all the advantages it represents for its contractors.

However, legal transcription can be confused with other terms. In this article, we clarify the differences with other recording forms, what a legal transcriptionist does and how to select an excellent legal transcription service.

What is legal transcription? Definition

Legal transcription is the act of writing a document from audio or video recordings of trials, proceedings, depositions and other legal events.

A legal transcriptionist is the person in charge of taking those recordings and transforming them into documents in which it is easy to locate information.

legal transcription

The legal transcriptionist takes care of the corresponding delivery of those documents, called legal transcripts, to the clients, companies or person who has requested the service.

To become a legal transcriptionist, you can train at accredited schools, take online courses and work or intern at law firms.

Main uses and advantages of legal transcription

There is a great demand for legal transcription services because what they do is perfect for lawyers.

Among other reasons, in legal transcription, time stamps and speaker identification are made, thus making it easier to track data and timeline the occurrence of facts. Lawyers find it easier to ask questions and monitor the relevant facts of a case.

And if it's an appeal, the legal transcript makes a big difference. Once you have reviewed the records of the first decision, it helps to explore and establish another type of strategy for a successful appeal.

legal transcription examples

Moreover, whether the legal transcript is in print or digital, the information is always accessible. If it is in digital form, it is even easier to find the information at the click of a button.

Additionally, storing and organizing the information in numerous file formats and devices is possible. And it can be shared quickly and efficiently with other lawyers, judges and interested parties.

For all these reasons, legal transcription is becoming increasingly widely used, representing considerable time savings, efficiency, and increased productivity.

Differences between legal transcription and Court Reporting

The legal transcript and court report are essential parts of the legal system. Both are records of events and are powerful tools for lawyers.

However, they are different in several respects, and we show them to you in the following comparison table.

Legal transcription vs court report Legal transcription Court report
Who does it? Transcription or legal transcriptionist services
Stenographers, also known as court reporters, are also known as court reporters.
Where do they work? In transcription service companies or on a freelance basis
In the court or courtroom
What is their function? Transcribes: depositions, hearings, interrogations, witness interviews, legal meetings, 911 calls, wiretaps and conferences, among other contents.
It is responsible for transcribing court proceedings; as a general rule, every time a judge is present, a court stenographer is used to record live everything that happens.
What is the emphasis? Emphasis on accuracy rather than speed because it works with recordings of events that have already occurred.
Emphasis on being very fast and accurate is challenging because they write a transcript of proceedings in real-time.
With which equipment? Uses computer keyboard foot pedal to pause recording, transcription and editing software
It uses a machine called a stenographer that allows them to write and later convert it into text.
Particularities If an audio or video is garbled or blurred, a transcriptionist can do little.
If a court reporter mishears something, they can ask the speakers for clarification.
Is certification required? No
Yes, because they work at the official level

As you can see, there are differences in what is a legal transcriptionist and a court reporter; both make very significant contributions with their forms of recording.

Differences between legal transcription and dictation

Transcription vs. dictation has a fundamental difference: dictation is a recording that is created by speaking, and transcription is converting that recording into a written document.

They have several interesting differences, and we detail them below.

Transcription vs dictation Legal transcription Dictation
What does the process consist of? The spoken word is converted from audio or video to written text.
The legal transcription is done by a person called a transcriptionist or by automatic voice recognition software.
It consists of speaking into a recording device or to a person who writes down what is being said.
Once you have finished, you can review the recording or read the notes you have taken.
What does each one excel at? Legal transcription is of higher quality because all the content has been written down.
Dictation is an important time saver because it does not involve typing.
What is the level of difficulty? More difficult because it involves accurately transcribing content
Easier because it does not involve writing
How easy is it to use? They are easier to use, because they are documents that can be scanned, highlighted and easily copied and pasted.
As the dictations are recordings, it is difficult to omit parts and get to the part of the information needed.
What does its quality depend on? The quality is superior because it is done in a professional environment, with qualified people and software with powerful technologies.
Depends on the quality of equipment or device used for dictation

Legal transcription and dictation complement each other to obtain the necessary information records for lawyers and legal environments.

Why contract a legal transcription service, and what to consider?

If you hire a legal transcription service, lawyers and paralegals will no longer have to spend time listening and reviewing audio files to find information.

This will reduce their workload, and they will be able to be more efficient and productive in more complex tasks.

what is a legal transcriptionist.

Additionally, hiring a legal transcription service not only saves time, it also saves money. The average hourly cost of a legal transcription service is lower than that of a paralegal or attorney.

Hiring a legal transcription service is your best option. However, when doing so, it is necessary to take into account the following:

  • Experience: significant time in the market and experience in the legal field. A team of trained professionals and experts in legal transcriptions.
  • Efficiency and adaptability to the client's needs: it must have developed its transcription processes and have fast deliveries with the capacity to respond to urgent requests in different file formats or transcriptions and translations in foreign languages.
  • Quality: Choosing a legal transcription service that guarantees completely accurate documents is key. You can ask for a sample of their work and evaluate rates that are important to you.
  • Support and technical service: it is essential to be accompanied when facing any difficulty and solving it. Also, the willingness to answer questions regarding legal transcription documents.
  • Security and confidentiality: legal transcriptions include a lot of private information. It is necessary to find a company that offers the signing of confidentiality agreements, implementation of security in transmitting and storing data, and use of encryption tools.
  • Pricing: display your prices transparently. Generally, the per-minute rate is the most cost-effective option in transcription services.

Considering these aspects, you will choose a professional, quality legal transcription service with good customer service and other attributes that will increase efficiency and productivity.

Use ScriptMe as an alternative.

At ScriptMe, we are an automatic transcription service. We have robust software with which you can upload your files and get an accurate legal transcript quickly.

ScriptMe can be customized to work with your existing in-house systems. And it has specific dictionaries to ensure that our Artificial Intelligence software adapts and includes legal and technical terms from the field.

Examples of legal transcription rates

Legal transcription includes hearing recordings, legal documents, written communications, interviews, depositions, and dictation by legal professionals.

what is legal transcription.

TranscribeMe performs these jobs with a hybrid model of voice recognition technology and human transcriptionists, with a rate of $2.60 per minute and a standard turnaround time of 2 to 3 days.


Legal transcription services are increasing because they are helpful for lawyers, law firms and other institutions.

Legal transcription saves time and money; when choosing a transcription service, it is essential to consider experience, efficiency, quality, service support, confidentiality and information security.

Legal transcription is different from court reports and dictation; At the same time, all are very useful records; with legal transcription, the information is super accessible and can be saved and shared quickly.

At ScriptMe, we are at your disposal, contact us, and we will gladly tell you more about the advantages offered by our innovative and cutting-edge technology to make your legal transcriptions.

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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