Video transcriptions have made it easier for people all over the world to understand and utilize media outputs. Not only does it help in increasing a video’s number of viewers but it gives more people the ability to understand it as well. These people include deaf or hard of hearing viewers, people who speak other languages, and those who are in a loud environment. Video transcriptions may contain different elements that can help make it more effective. Among these elements are time codes and timestamps.

Timestamps, in general, are used as time markers embedded in transcripts either in regular intervals or any time a particular event takes place — change of speaker, language, question, etc. These are used to find a specific point in long audio or video outputs. On the other hand, time codes for a video must be frame-accurate so adding the milliseconds are important. This element is commonly used for subtitles and video captions but it has other uses as well. Editors greatly benefit from these time codes as it allows them to use particular scenarios more easily and accurately synchronize subtitles with each scene.

A lot of transcription services offer both features, but the everyday layman may not know the different ways of using time codes or timestamps. When paired together, the two elements can be used to make video transcriptions more effective. Here are some of their uses:

  • Uncertain Spelling

There are lots of English words that sound similar so distinguishing them from each other can be difficult. The same goes for similar sounding names that are spelled differently. This certain type of timestamp can be used if the transcriber isn’t sure of a particular word’s spelling. An example of this is shown below.

Eg. I met with [Stephen 02:43:01] last week to discuss about our current goals. — The spelling of this word is uncertain since “Stephen” can also sound like “Steven”.

  • Garbled Words

In transcribing, there are cases where it’s difficult to make out what the speaker is saying, especially when there’s too much external noise. In these situations, stating which parts have inaudible words can be useful as this helps the client identify which words can’t be understood. It also gives the transcriptionist a way to note inaudible sounds rather than just guessing what word it was.

Eg. Our meeting will be held at [inaudible 00:27:16] tomorrow morning.

  • Overlapping Speakers

During meetings, speakers overlapping with each other is common especially when there are a lot of participants. This timestamp can be used to identify who is talking at a specific interval. Most transcribing services simply mark the segment as [crosstalk] and then state the next parts that can be heard with the corresponding speaker.

  • Speaker Change

A discussion doesn’t always have just one host — there are times when each topic is handled by different speakers. In order to identify this change, timestamps can be used every time a new host is heard to avoid confusion.


[00:00] JM: What was your first impression when you used the product for the first time?

[00:09] DV: Well…honestly, at first, I was a bit skeptical since the product was a lot cheaper than normal so I didn’t really want to use it but I’m glad I did.

Transcribing video outputs can be difficult since they need to coincide with the video content. However, knowing the different uses of time codes and timestamps and how to effectively utilize them will greatly aid in producing quality video transcriptions that meets client satisfaction.



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