Timestamps in the Transcripts

When you want to cross-check a word or passage in the transcript with the audio file, how do you find the correct spot in the audio file? That’s a daunting prospect – you’d have to estimate where in the audio file to go, based on how far into the transcript you are. But you almost never find the right spot right off the bat – you’re initially usually many minutes off – and it’s a hassle trying to find that point of convergence. It involves listening to a passage in the audio, then doing a search/replace in the transcript to find out where you are in the audio in relation to the spot in the transcript you want to pinpoint, and probably repeating that several times before you find the right spot. How tedious and time-consuming!

Fortunately there’s an easier way: timestamps. If the transcript contains timestamps (a.k.a. timecodes) every minute or so based on the running time of the audio file, then finding the desired spot is easy. If you’re at a spot in the transcript that reads “he went to the store” and it’s near the [00:28:45] timestamp, then you just skip to the 28 minute and 45 second spot in the audio file and walla, you found “he went to the store”.

So make sure your transcription company gives you transcripts with timestamps peppered throughout – every minute or so. If they don’t, you just may have lot of annoying work in store for you.

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