Uses of Timestamps in Transcriptions

April 4, 2018

Uses of Timestamps in Transcriptions

What is time stamping?

In audio transcription, time stamping refers to aligning the transcript’s texts to the recording by inserting timestamps at specific intervals. It is usually an add-on service designed to add value to transcripts, particularly to various types of market research transcriptions. The beauty of timestamps allows readers to effortlessly identify which part of the audio corresponds to which specific segment of texts, making it easy to playback specific parts as needed. Many find this most helpful in market research interviews and focus group transcriptions since responses are easily verifiable and attributable in a recorded interview. It is a very flexible tool for general transcriptions since timestamp intervals are customizable based on the purpose of the transcript and other client personalization requests.

As an example, TranscriptionWing’s standard format for timestamps is [HH:MM:SS] - that is the accurate hours, minutes, down to seconds - placed in different ways within the transcript.

Different ways to use timestamps:

  • Start/End - Some recordings do not start with dialogues right away. Clients identify them by requesting timestamps at the beginning and the very end of the actual interview or conversation. This also works when a client only wants a specific part of the discussion transcribed.


    Interviewer: [00:05:05] Hi, how are you?

    Interviewer: Thank you. Have a good rest of the afternoon. [01:02:03]

  • Periodic - Timestamps are strictly placed in specific time intervals requested by the client (i.e. every 30 seconds, 1 minute, 5 minutes, 30 minutes, and so on). 

    Example - 15-second interval

    Interviewer: Hi, everyone. Thanks for joining me today despite the early call time. We really appreciate everybody coming in on time. [00:00:15] Before we start, let me just remind you the ground rules of our conversation today. Please turn off all your mobile phones or turn it to silent mode to remove any distractions during the [00:00:30] discussion. Second, please speak one at a time. Do not talk over each other so I don’t miss any opinion, and so that everything is clearly audio recorded. Also, avoid having your own little meetings. Please always share your thoughts [00:00:45] to the whole group.

  • Speaker Change - A timestamp is placed at the beginning of the dialogue every time the speaker changes.


    Respondent: [00:12:34] I’m not really sure. [Pause] I don’t know because the last time I bought one was I think four months ago. I haven’t gotten a chance to get one since.  Yes, so...

    Interviewer: [00:12:52] Okay. When do you think you’ll need it again?

  • Sentence - This is the least requested timestamp format since it can be too much visually. But if a client is looking for a very granular marker, they can opt to have timestamps at the start of every sentence.


    Respondent: [00:12:34] I’m not really sure. [Pause] [00:12:41] I don’t know because the last time I bought one was I think four months ago. [00:12:47] I haven’t gotten a chance to get one since.  [00:12:50] Yes, so...

  • Custom - Timestamps can be customized for clients who provide special instructions to ensure transcripts are maximized. An example of custom time stamping is when a client requests for per minute timestamps but on the respondent’s dialogue only.

So why use timestamps?

Timestamps, though it may seem unnecessary at times, can enhance your transcriptions.

For one, they can serve as reference or bookmarks. Timestamps can easily serve as points of reference or bookmarks for reviewing, double-checking, or more. With timestamps, you won't need to review tons of audio or video recording. You won't need to scour your entire transcript as well.

Timestamps can be progress trackers as well. With timestamps in place, you can track your progress as you collect data, analyze feedback, review interviews or discussions, and more.

Last but not the least, they also bring emphasis. You can use timestamps to emphasize a specific part in the recording. You can use it to emphasize a point in the discussion, or you can use it to bring the attention of your audience or your colleagues to a specific line in the transcript.

There are several reasons why using timestamps is important in market research transcriptions. And if you look closely enough, you'll see that they can improve not only the value of your transcript but also the effectiveness of your overall work.

Pricing with TranscriptionWing

Timestamps are at arm’s reach at a low transcription price of $0.50 per minute! Let us know what we can do by calling us at +1-203-413-2414 or by leaving us an email at Check out our transcription services.

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