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Transcription versus Copy Typing - what are they and how do they differ?

What is audio transcription and how is it different from copy typing? Why does transcription cost more than copy typing? Is transcription expensive? Do you need transcription? Many people are confused as to why transcription (audio typing) apparently costs more than copy typing, as both are typing services. This article aims to explain the differences between the two services and what makes up the costs for a transcription service.

What is audio transcription and how is it different from copy typing? Why does transcription cost more than copy typing? Is transcription expensive? Do you need transcription?

Many people are confused as to why transcription (audio typing) apparently costs more than copy typing, as both are typing services. This article aims to explain the differences between the two services and what makes up the costs for a transcription service.

Firstly let's take copy typing. This normally refers to the typing of written 'copy' - this may be a previously typed document (perhaps typed on a typewriter and needing to be input into a Word Processor) or a hand-written document. The cost will vary depending on the ease of readability but with basic copy typing there is no editing or interpretation required; the typist simply types what is written in front of them. The cost of the typing services will vary according to how difficult the writing is to decipher - it will be relatively cheaper if the original document is very clear handwriting or type-written.

Transcription, on the other hand, has no copy for the typist to look at, only an audio recording, which may be an audio tape, video, DVD or audio digital recording. This brings with it a number of issues that copy typing does not have: is the speech clear; is the content comprehensible (e.g. highly technical content might be full of words the transcriptionist is not familiar with); is the recording quality good (e.g. is there any background hiss on the tape or background noise from the surroundings the tape was recorded in); do you need verbatim transcription (word for word with all 'ums and ers', speech patterns and fillers such as 'you know', 'know what I mean' or 'kind of' repeated often through the recording; do you want the transcript edited to improve the grammar and sentence structure?

Clearly transcription is much more involved than copy typing. Another thing to bear in mind is that an hour of recording is not equivalent to an hour of transcription time.

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