What Is the Difference Between Legal and General Transcription

What Is the Difference Between Legal and General Transcription?

Transcription services have become increasingly popular over the years due to their ability to convert audio or video recordings into written text. These services are widely used in various industries, including legal and general transcription. While both types of transcription involve converting spoken words into written form, there are significant differences that set them apart. In this article, we will explore the distinctions between legal and general transcription and provide answers to some frequently asked questions.

Legal Transcription:

Legal transcription involves converting audio or video recordings related to legal proceedings into written documents. This type of transcription requires specialized knowledge of legal terminology, procedures, and formats. Legal transcribers must possess excellent listening skills and be able to accurately transcribe complex legal jargon.

Key Differences:
1. Terminology: Legal transcription deals with specific legal terminology that general transcriptionists may not be familiar with. Legal transcribers must be well-versed in legal terms, court procedures, and case-specific details.

2. Formatting: Legal transcripts need to adhere to specific formatting guidelines set by the legal industry. This includes using appropriate headers, timestamps, speaker identifications, and maintaining a consistent format throughout the document.

3. Confidentiality: Legal transcriptions often contain sensitive and confidential information. Transcribers working in the legal field must understand the importance of maintaining client confidentiality and adhering to strict security protocols.

Examples of Legal Transcription:
Legal transcription can include transcribing court proceedings, depositions, client interviews, legal briefs, legal correspondence, and more. It is commonly used by law firms, court reporting agencies, government agencies, and legal professionals.

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General Transcription:

General transcription involves converting audio or video recordings that are not specifically related to legal proceedings. This type of transcription can cover a wide range of topics and industries. General transcriptionists often transcribe interviews, podcasts, webinars, business meetings, academic lectures, and other non-legal content.

Key Differences:
1. Industry-specific Knowledge: General transcriptionists do not require specialized knowledge of legal terminology or procedures. They focus on accurately transcribing the spoken content, without needing an in-depth understanding of industry-specific jargon.

2. Formatting Flexibility: Unlike legal transcription, general transcription doesn’t have strict formatting guidelines. Transcribers have more flexibility in terms of document structure and formatting choices.

3. Content Variety: General transcription covers a broader spectrum of topics and industries. Transcribers in this field need to be adaptable and familiarize themselves with various subject matters.

Examples of General Transcription:
General transcription is utilized by a wide range of industries and individuals. It is commonly used in the media and entertainment sector, market research companies, academic institutions, medical facilities, and more.


Q: Can a general transcriptionist also handle legal transcription work?
A: While a general transcriptionist may have excellent transcription skills, legal transcription requires specialized knowledge of legal terminology and procedures. It is advisable to hire a professional legal transcriber for accurate and reliable legal transcripts.

Q: How does pricing differ between legal and general transcription services?
A: Legal transcription services tend to be priced higher than general transcription due to the specialized knowledge required and the sensitive nature of the content being transcribed.

Q: Are legal transcripts admissible in court?
A: Yes, legal transcripts are often used as evidence in court proceedings, depositions, and for reference during legal research.

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Q: How can I ensure confidentiality for my legal or general transcription project?
A: When choosing a transcription service provider, ensure they have strict confidentiality protocols in place, including secure file transfer, secure storage, and signed confidentiality agreements.

In conclusion, legal and general transcription differ in their specialized knowledge requirements, formatting guidelines, and confidentiality protocols. Both types of transcription play important roles in various industries, ensuring accurate and accessible written records of audio or video content. It is essential to choose a transcription service provider that aligns with your specific needs, whether it be legal or general transcription.