Timecodes in Transcription: Types and Uses

Timecodes in Transcription Types and Uses - ATC Blog

Timecodes, also known as timestamps, are inserted into transcripts at specified intervals, providing a marker of where the text is found in a video or audio file.

Timecodes have been traditionally used in video captioning, but are becoming popular for use in panel discussions, legal transcripts, market research, oral history, and podcasts. The placement of timestamps makes it easier for a person to review or listen to a particular moment or conversation within a file.

How do timecodes look in a transcription?

The format of audio timecodes is [00:00:00]. For example, [00:19:11] means that the timecode was made at exactly 19 minutes and 11 seconds into the audio file. On video, the format will depend on the timecode burned into the picture.

Where are timecodes placed within a transcript?

This is entirely up to the client, but here are some examples:

1. Time increments

The frequency depends on the client request. Some transcripts are coded every five minutes, while others are coded every three seconds. Here is an example of three second timestamps:

Mr. Jones:  [00:00:00] This is an example of how a timecoded [00:00:03] document might look once we are finished [00:00:06] with it when you request timecodes [00:00:09].

Mr. Park:  Wow! That is truly an amazing [00:00:12] feature.

2. On every moderator question for small groups or individual interviews.


Q: [00:02:30] Let’s get started. Can you first tell me your name?

A: My name is Andrea.

Q: [00:02:36] Andrea, how old are you?

A: I’m 35 years old.

3. Phonetic timecodes

This is when a transcriber has heard a word but is unsure if that’s the correct spelling. In this case, he/she types the word and includes the timecodes as shown below. Example:

Mark: We went to the park and met [Noah?] [00:05:00] there.

4. Inaudible timecodes

When a transcriptionist cannot make out what is being said completely, he/she types the word “inaudible” and includes the time stamp. Example:

Mark: We went to the park and met (inaudible) [00:05:00] there.

5. Overlapping dialogue timecodes

This is when the speakers are overlapping each other in a recording. When two, three, or even four speakers are all speaking at the same time, it can be impossible to make out who is saying what and at what time. Example:

Mark: We went to the park and met (overlapping dialogue; inaudible) [00:05:00] there.

Is there an extra fee charged for timecodes?

Most transcription services charge extra for timecoding. Audio Transcription Center has no surcharges for timecoding at minute intervals or longer.

What are the requirements for timecoding a transcription?

This service must be requested before the transcription begins. ATC will place the timecodes throughout the transcript, as per client specifications.

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