history of transcription

One of the earliest forms of documentation we know of is hieroglyphics in Egyptian tombs and pyramids. Over time, not only has a transcription proved a useful tool, but also necessary to keep track of important information. In many cases, historical information on cultures is passed through transcripts.

In early 3400 BCE, scribes for kings kept track of laws and recorded historical occurrences. Early transcriptionists, like today, desired to preserve the law, medicine, technology, and art with transcription.

One hundred years later, children would transcribe their languages onto stone tablets and duplicate it time and time again. The use of hand-recorded transcription was first tracked by the ancient Chinese and Egyptians who used papyrus and reed pens. In Egypt, people would go to school for five years to train to gain the title of scribe — not just anyone can transcribe, it is a title that is earned.

A Renaissance Transcriptionist

With the Renaissance, higher levels of literacy among the wealthy and elite made the demand for scribes higher. To meet the demand, early innovation became key, and in the 1430s the printing press evolved. Text was now much easier to mass-produce. Transcriptionists trained as typesetters and editors.

By the late 16th and early 17th centuries, traditional scribes evolved with the times and specialized in new forms, like shorthand. Shorthand, and its process stenography, made transcription faster. Notable writers like Charles Dickens used the process to create their literary masterpieces. Did you know Dickens’ David Copperfield was written entirely in shorthand?

Typewriters Change the Way Transcription is Completed Again

As we fast forward some 200 years later, in the 19th century, the typewriter was invented by Christopher Latham Sholes. By 1910, stenographers and typists were common occupations for women as typewriters were more highly mass-produced. According to the BBC, “by 1911 there were 125,000 and by 1961 there were 1.8 million, in 2001 there were 2.5 million female clerks.”

In the 1980s, the first digital word processor was created as an effective way to transcribe information. This allowed for mass development of the field and is why it is still such an integral part of American history.

Transcription Today

We continue to need the services of experienced transcription people and companies. As we press forward, technology continues to grow and shape the way the field changes. Investments in AI continue working to drive up accuracy.  Human transcription remains the most accurate transcript and can also incorporate reasoning, nuance, and tone when needed. Steps happen in the advancement of AI, but still today, human leads the market for accents, groups, customized templates, background noise and most type of speech to text.

Whether you have stone tablets or ancient drawings on the walls, FFTranscription is here for your transcription needs.

Ready to focus forward? Get a quote for your transcription needs today.

Since 2003, FFTranscription has been expertly transcribing in marketing research and for thousands of businesses across the United States. If you need transcription services for your marketing research, why don’t you give us a call at (215) 367-4040? We’re ready to handle all the details so you can focus forward!

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