What Does Transcribe Mean and Why It’s a Must For Businesses?​​

What Does Transcribe Mean and Why It’s a Must For Businesses?​​

Ayush Kudesia
Ayush Kudesia

Ever found yourself in a whirlwind of spoken words, thinking, "I wish I could have that in writing?" Well, that’s where transcription helps.

What does transcribe mean?

Transcribing helps you take all that chatter from meetings, customer calls, or webinars and turn it into neat, written text. But transcription is more than just neat text—it is becoming essential for businesses everywhere, with the US transcription market expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.8% from 2023 to 2030.

Read this blog as we explore what transcribe means and why's everyone in the business world buzzing about it.

What does transcribe mean?

What does transcribe mean? - Fireflies transcript

See the image above? That’s a meeting transcript using the automated transcription software Fireflies.ai. It includes

  • Speaker names/numbers (Speaker 1, Speaker 2)
  • The timestamp of each utterance
  • The text of what was said
  • The actual call recording

At its core, transcribing is the act of converting spoken language into written text, which is called a transcript. Merriam-Webster defines transcribe as a transitive verb that means “to make a written copy of (dictated or recorded matter).”

This could be done manually by listening to an audio recording and typing out what you hear or automatically by using speech recognition technology.

While you can transcribe the audio file manually, it is laborious and time-consuming, especially for large volumes of audio files.

Transcription is widely used in various fields such as medicine, law, journalism, and business to create written records of conversations, interviews, speeches, and more.

Format of transcript

The transcript format depends on the transcriber or the transcription service you choose, but generally, all transcripts follow the same structure. It includes timestamps, speaker labels, and the text.

What does transcribe mean? - Format of a Fireflies transcript

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What can you transcribe?

You can transcribe almost any type of audio or video content that has spoken words in it. Some examples are:

Transcript vs. transcription

The terms "transcript" and "transcription" are frequently used interchangeably but carry nuanced meanings in specific contexts.

A transcript is a written document that captures the exact wordings of your conversation, meeting, speech, or event. It is a comprehensive record, often presented in an organized and structured format.

On the other hand, transcription represents the actual process of generating that written record.

In simpler terms, a transcript is the outcome of transcription.

What are the benefits of transcribing?

Transcribing your audio and video files can offer numerous advantages to your business. Let's explore some of these benefits:

  • Enhanced search engine optimization (SEO)
  • Improved accessibility and compliance
  • Time-saving benefits
  • Improved searchability and organization

Enhanced search engine optimization (SEO)

Google’s John Muller says Google doesn’t “do anything with audio versions of content.” So, the best chance for your audio file to rank on search engines is by providing transcripts that search engines can crawl and index.

Adding a transcript to an audio file, therefore, improves the visibility and discoverability of your content.

What does transcribe mean? - SEO benefits of transcribing

Improved accessibility

Transcripts make your content accessible to individuals with hearing problems, patchy internet connectivity, or who prefer consuming content in written form.  

What does transcribe mean? - Accessibility benefits of transcribing
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Time-saving benefits

Ever tried to find that one golden nugget of information hidden somewhere in an audio file? You know it's there, but you need to skip around to find it.

Well, this is where transcriptions help.

Quickly search, retrieve, and navigate to specific information within your content. Easily do this by searching for keywords or phrases within the transcript.

What does transcribe mean? - Time saving benefits of transcribing

Fireflies’ AskFred, a ChatGPT-like chatbot, can help you repurpose your transcripts into emails, blogs, tweets, Linkedin posts, and more.

Factors to consider when looking for transcription tools

If you want to transcribe your audio and video files, you have two options:

  • Manual transcription involves hiring a human transcriber to listen to your files and type out what they hear.
  • Automated transcription uses a software program that converts your files into text using speech-to-text technology.

Both options have pros and cons; the best choice depends on your needs, preferences, budget, and expectations. Here are some factors to consider when looking for transcription tools:


How accurate do you need your transcripts to be?

Manual transcription offers over 99% accuracy for complex files. Automated transcription is better for faster turnaround times.

Fireflies offers over 90% accuracy, which is also pretty high.


Manual transcription is more expensive and time-consuming than automated transcription, as you pay a human transcriber for their time and skills. Getting the final transcript can take hours to a few days.

Automated transcription, on the other hand, is cheaper. Many automated transcription services charge per minute of audio or offer subscription models where you pay a fixed fee for a certain number of hours or unlimited usage.

Callout: Fireflies' monthly subscription plans start for just $10/month/user, billed annually. In contrast, manual transcription costs between $1.30 and $3.50/minute. So, an hour of meeting transcribed by a human is almost equivalent to six months of Fireflies’ subscription with unlimited transcription credits.

Turnaround time

Consider how quickly you need the transcripts. A professional transcriber can take around 4 to 6 hours to transcribe one hour of audio. That’s because they may have other projects and commitments.

Automated transcription offers faster turnaround times since the transcript is ready within minutes, depending on the length of the audio or video.


Security is an often overlooked factor when choosing a transcription tool. If your files contain sensitive or confidential information, security is a crucial factor to consider.

Businesses have no option but to trust the transcriptionist with their data by establishing confidentiality agreements.

Automated transcription services vary in terms of security measures. Look for providers that offer encryption and comply with call recording laws and other data privacy regulations.

Additionally, check their data storage and retention policies to ensure compliance with your organization's requirements.

Final thoughts

With the right transcription tools like Fireflies, your business can benefit from accurate transcriptions, fast turnaround times, affordability, and robust security.

Embracing transcription is a necessity in today's digital landscape to maximize efficiency and unlock the potential of audio and video content.

Start transcribing your content today to stay ahead in the fast-paced business world.

Try Fireflies for free