Legal Transcriptions

American Language Services has been helping lawyers dig vital information out of a wide variety of subjects and types of audio files for nearly 4 decades. During that time, we have come to understand the importance of legal transcriptions. We have also heard stories about the struggles law firms and legal departments face without it.  In this piece, we will discuss the benefits of hiring a qualified legal transcriptionist for your law firm or legal department.

5 Reasons Your Law Firm Needs Legal Transcriptions

The demand for quality legal transcription has consistently increased in the last decade and is expected to increase even more in the future. This growth is fueled by multiple factors including more accessible and better recording options, a rise in low-cost transcription options, and an increased preference for digital records. The details described below, no doubt, have a part to play:

  • Professional Transcribers can get it done Faster and More Accurately: When you need something turned around correctly and fast it is better to go to a company that specializes in transcription work rather than pulling someone in-house to get it done.  Professional transcribers work with audio & video files every day and are adept at the process. There typically turnaround time is about 50% quicker and their accuracy rate is typically at the 98%+ range compared to about 80-90% for in-house. Also, when you do in-house transcriptions, it burdens employees and detracts from other work that is needed and will likely delay the timing. 
  • Certified Transcriptions are required for Most Legal Cases: When you use the transcripts for a court case, whether it be a deposition, mediation, hearing, trial or anything else, a Certification is required per legal evidentiary rules.  This means that if you don’t have your transcription certified it will not be allowed as evidence for your case.  Of course, that can have dire consequences to your case. The use of an outside transcriptionists is therefore mandatory in cases requiring certifications.
  • It Lets You Spend More Time Doing What Matters: Doing your legal work to help balance the scales of justice is more important than waiting hours wading through fuzzy audio files. By freeing you and your other legal staff from this burdensome task, using an expert legal transcription team enables you to put more focus on your client and their case and work on what is important. This builds rapport and increases the likelihood of client retention. It is a much more productive and cost-effective way to go.
  • Text Is Easier to Work With then Audio or Video Files Directly: Can you imagine trying to find a 10 second audio clip in an electronic file that is 2 hours long? Fighting to remember the exact word used halfway through a testimony? Guessing and checking your memory without the benefit of documentation? That’s what you probably deal with right now. When you transcribe depositions or other verbal evidence, you benefit from one of the greatest discoveries of the modern age: CTRL+F.  A transcription to text also can include timecoding which is vital for you to be able to find exactly where specific passages are located and is a great timer saver. 
  • You Can Use a Highlighter: It is much more difficult to mark audio files, then it is to highlight sections of written text.  You cannot exactly take a crayon or scribble notes on Audio files. The ability to do so is one of the benefits of legal transcriptions. Instead of having to constantly go back and forth listening to and reviewing audio files, it is much easier to look at written text and highlight important sections that are critical to your case.  You can quickly glance down at your notes and see the highlighted sections.
  • Transcriptions Can Be Easily Shared: Not everyone involved in the case can be present at one time.  A transcription of the proceedings or text copy of important digital files lets associates and your clients better connect to the legal case. This can provide some needed help from your associates and a much clearer picture to your clients in helping them understand the particulars of their case and assist in making important decisions of strategy when their input is needed.

When you couple all those reasons with the low costs of legal transcription (averaging $X a minute), legal transcriptions are now less of an optional perk and more of an occupational necessity. Now that you are aware of the benefits, we will briefly discuss what you should look for in a provider.

Questions to Ask Before Picking a Provider:

Not all transcriptionists are created equal; something that is becoming more and more apparent as the need for them grows.While you might save money going with the cheapest person you can find, subpar transcriptions are often worse than having none. To make sure you hire someone who is the real deal, and not just a person who read a couple of articles online, ask them the following questions:

  • Based on the quality of the audio, can your firm guarantee an accuracy rate of 98% or higher?
  • Do you have a secure file transfer system.
  • How quick can you turn our project around?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you supply Certifications required for legal cases?
  • What do your typical turnaround times look like?
  • Are you covered with liability insurance?
  • Where do you store your information?
  • How is it secured against outside access?
  • Do you require your transcriptionists to sign NDA’s?

Because they offer a lot more availability and a plethora of language options, we typically suggest opting for an agency over an independent contractor or in-house option. 

About American Language Services

Since our founding in 1985, we have grown from a small agency into one of the biggest language service companies in the world. Our dedication to quality and client satisfaction is the driving force behind this transformation. Our skilled transcriptionists provide service in over 200 different languages ensuring people in the legal and law enforcement industries have what they need in order to do their jobs. Available 24/7, we can handle even the most pressing cases.

AML-Global has some of the most impressive transcriptionists in the world on staff. These highly skilled language professionals are recruited, screened, and tested to ensure high-quality work.

Contact us by email at or via phone at 1-800-951-5020 get a quote on your legal transcription project.


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