Transcription is an important field for a number of reasons. Almost every field of business out there will need transcriptions at some point, so it can be an interesting career option for many people. Within transcription, as a wider field, there are also several specialist subjects, such as technological transcription, medical transcription, and legal transcription. In this blog, we are going to look at what it is like working within the legal transcription field and try to discuss some of the things that newcomers to the field should be aware of.
Simply put, legal transcription is providing transcription services for the legal field. It really is that simple. Of course, that’s where it becomes less simple. The legal field is a highly specialized field, and this is reflected in all fields around it, including in the transcription work that is done. If you think legal transcription will be as simple as any other field such as subtitling, sadly you are wrong.
It’s well known that the legal field can be confusing and alienating to outsiders. There are so many specific terms and phrases that are used by lawyers, barristers, paralegals, and other workers in the legal field. To make it more difficult, a lot of these terms are in Latin, which a lot of legal terms are based on.
As Latin is not really spoken any longer outside of legal, academic, and medical fields, it can be hard to get the experience to understand these terms. Needing to understand these terms and phrases is one way in which legal transcription differs from other types of transcription work. Since they are not common words and phrases, you will almost certainly need specialist training, often gained while working in the legal field.
Another way that legal transcription is different is that there are special ways of filling out forms and paperwork if you are turning an audio file into a completed form. Again, this is something that is primarily learned from working or studying in the legal field, as there is little way to come across these specifics otherwise. There are also often ways of phrasing legal matters which may come up if you are doing multilingual legal translations – or, in other words, both transcribing the content and translating it into another language.
While a lot of legal content that needs to be transcribed may be quite mundane – for example, divorce meetings or contract law meetings – confidentiality is still vital. All the matters are sensitive and the transcriber should keep it all strictly confidential, unlike with some fields where it is possible for a transcriber to discuss their work within sensible limits. On top of this, there is a much greater possibility to come across upsetting or difficult content within the field of legal transcriptions. This is not unique to legal transcriptions as medical transcriptions can also include some difficult tasks, but it is slightly different. In the legal field, there may be upsetting matters related to crimes. Again, a lot of legal transcription work is for civil matters, contract issues, and similar, but there is a greater chance of difficult content compared with, for example, marketing transcription.
There is no one clear path to becoming a legal transcriber, however, there are some basic bits of experience that people should have before wanting to join the profession. First and foremost, a transcriber will need to have a good handle on language and linguistics. This is important to make sure you can accurately tell what is being said and transcribe it in a clear and accurate format. Having a good ear, especially for accents, is also really helpful for this – many people will speak in different accents and tones, which can make it really difficult to get transcriptions right.
Beyond this, is it very helpful to have experience with the legal field so that you can help with the complex terminologies and content that will be presented to you. If you have a good grasp of the Latin terms used in the legal field you are more likely to be able to accurately and swiftly do transcriptions.
Also, if you want to offer multilingual transcriptions you will also need to be fluent in at least two languages.
If you want to find out more about transcription and want to look at joining a leading multilingual transcription agency, or if you need to find highly trained legal transcribers, contact us over at Espresso Translations. We have skilled professionals from the legal field who can offer their services and help transcribe and translate legal content, with great accuracy and for a reasonable cost.