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Common File Formats for Digital Transcription

The Internet and digital technology has helped increase the efficiency and ease at which transcription projects can be sent and accomplished. Various digital audio and video files can be securely uploaded to the transcription company and the resulting digital documents can be downloaded.

Digital technology has made it extremely easy for professionals to outsource their transcription work.  With digital transcription, there's no need to drop off or mail recordings on physical media. If you have access to the recordings in a digital format, then they can be uploaded to a transcription service for rapid turnaround.

The greatest benefit comes from the fact that digital transcription is actually more secure than the old fashioned way - you just need to make sure the recording is in an accepted media format, and understand the digital form in which you'll receive it so it can be viewed without the need for additional software.

Text Formats Used in Digital Transcription

.TXT Files - a .TXT file is a simple file format consisting of text that contains very little formatting.  The ability to bold and italicize content is unavailable.  This can be one of the easiest formats because it can be read by most operating systems without any formatting or program compatibility issues.  Files with a .TXT extension can easily be read or opened by any program that reads text, and as such it is considered a universal platform.

.RTF - .RTF stands for Rich Text Format, and was developed by Microsoft in 1987.  Most word processors can read and write some variation of. RTF files.  Depending on what version you are using and what word processor, you may encounter some portability issues.  Since most word processors support .RTF format for importing and exporting, this file type has become a common format for digital transcription between otherwise incompatible software and operating systems.

.DOC - .DOC is an abbreviation for 'document' and is a file extension for word processing documents commonly used for transcripts.  Since the 80's there have been a variety of versions in the .DOC file format.  This variation among different programs leads to compatibility issues between newer versions (such as .DOCX with Microsoft Office) and older software.  While the extension is native to Microsoft Office Word, it is supported by a variety of software including Open Office, IBM Lotus, Google Docs, Apple Pages and Abiword.

.PDF - .PDF or Portable Document Format has become an open standard for document exchange.  It was developed by Adobe in 1993 and was designed as a way to represent documents independent of publishing software or operating system.  .PDF's are commonly used transcripts because they can be locked, secured and encrypted and encapsulates a complete description of a document including text, fonts, and graphics.  There is never an issue of formatting or compatibility when documents are transferred to PDF format.

Source Material

There is a wide variety of audio and video formats from which content can be pulled through digital transcription.  While these files aren't typically compatible with all media software, a well-equipped digital transcription service can read virtually any file format to perform transcription, providing you with the written text in one of the above listed formats.

Common file extensions for audio and video include







- MP3




Digital transcription is done for a variety of industries, from professional to personal use, and includes content from countless sources:  Radio, voicemails, business meetings, 911 calls, focus groups, interviewsFree Web Content, documentaries and more.

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Textphonic Communications, Inc. is a transcription and translation provider focusing on general, legal, and medicolegal projects. We offer quick and professional analog and digital transcription services. Visit our site and contact us for all your internet transcription needs.

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