Audio transcription: How it all started

 egyptian scribe, audio transcription

You would think audio transcription must have been invented once humans figured out how to record audio.  Sounds logical, yeah?  Maybe not.  Now, I’m not saying Imhotep was transcribing on his golden clay tablet while his slaves were building the pyramids.  Speaking of which, if it were to happen, I wonder what would he be transcribing? “Tap, tap, rock stacking, tap, another rock, tap, tap, boom, ahhhh my back!” tsk tsk.  Just kidding, tablets are terrible for transcription.

Anyway, scribes existed during those times.  A very distinguished job, required a qualification not easily attained, not a bachelors in pyramids I presume.  But whatever was equivalent at that time.  Scribes would attain their certification attending special scribe school for up to 4-5 years, where they would learn to read and write hieroglyphic and hieratic scripts.  Furthermore, they would also practice signs by copying them onto sheets of papyrus, old pieces of pottery or flakes of limestone.  What a pain in the neck!

What do ancient Egyptians have to do with anything?

Now, you must be wondering what is this guy on about?  What do ancient scribes have to do with anything?  Those are the roots of audio transcription.  I guess I can thank the Egyptians for ScriptoSphere.  The only difference is the audio wasn’t recorded, it was live.  Imagine the poor scribe having to scribe on a flake of limestone, “Hurry up slave, pull that bloody rock!” Or “Hurry up slave, the queen’s bath isn’t ready!”  I think that’s exactly what they were trying to depict on those clay tablets.  I just hope every new iteration of those clay tablets had some innovative feature, unlike the *cough* new *cough* iPhones.


audio transcription, ancient scribes, roots of audio transcription

How audio transcription came to be.

From there on, scribing took the form of dictation when female assistants wrote down dictations from their bosses using their feminine soft hands and incredible dexterity.  Then came typewriters, and things became even faster with the advent of computers.  Very soon we will be transcribing in the air using gestures and sending the files to the clients with a flick of a finger.  This may or may not happen.

One thing remains unchanged though throughout all these years, and that is the qualities, skills, education and competence that a transcriber today is required to have.  It’s not just enough to understand English and be able to type, they need to have good command over language and grammar, amazing general knowledge and knowledge of world events, ability to research everything, and a good listening ear.  All these skills can only be developed in time through dedication and persistence.  Or by selling your soul to the devil.  Slash from Guns n’ Roses might also be a good transcriber, you never know.

So, next time you’re thinking twice about paying transcription rates.  Or that you can transcribe hours of interviews yourself.  Please try.  Also, when you do that, tell your friends and family you will be gone for a month.  If you are one of those who prefer to save time, effort and money and get your files transcribed by a fine transcription service such as ours, look no further than below for some info on us!

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