Which is better Mp3 transcription or Wav transcription?

A Comparison of Mp3 Transcription and WAV Transcription.

I am Melvin, working as a Pro-transcriptionists with a reputed USA based transcription firm. Core part of my job is to transcribe all categories of audio and video files. This includes podcast, videos, documentaries, notes, meetings, radio shows, public and motivational speeches, thesis and dissertations.

The order process for a transcription is pretty simple. The client selects the turnaround as per the rate card, send us the digital MP3/WAV/DSS files for transcription, our team of transcribers types it, proofread it and then email the audio transcript to the customer. The process is complete.

 At the time of receiving the recordings, we may receive it in any number of formats, most common being – MP3,WAV,DSS,WMA,MP4 etc However out of these two, the most common ones are MP3 and WAV. Out of these two there is only one format that our team of transcribers really prefer over the other – That is MP3 format. The reasons are as follows:

1) Smaller Size:  Do an experiment if you will. Take a voice recorder and set the recording format to Mp3 at 128kbps.Record a 1 minute audio speech keeping these settings. Now save the audio and extract the audio file. Note down the file size. Now repeat the same steps but this time change the format to Wav. If you compare the two output set of files, you will notice that the WAV size is much bigger than that of MP3. A lot bigger. So does bigger mean better? In terms of audio analysis, WAV is considered to be better due to less losses per kilobyte of information. These being the technical bits, as transcribers we prefer only one thing – The end result i.e. crystal clear audibility.

Audio MP3

Minidiscs to Mp3 to Ipods

Audibility is directly proportional to our typing accuracy. So if you compare both the files i.e. MP3 128kpbs vs. WAV 128Kbps , with every other recording parameter kept equal, the is no noticeable difference to the human ear. With the audibility being equal, we definitely prefer a file that is smaller in size. This help us at two things First, smaller mp3 files are easier and quicker to transfer over networks. Secondly, mp3 files helps us in storage as it occupies lesser Gb’s in our hard drive.

2) Excellent Compatibility: The HD-DVD and BluRay war was won by BluRay because of the support by the biggest media player companies. As far as MP3 is concerned, it is the mother of all digital formats. It enjoys a huge and a wide variety of support. From DVD’s, iPods, Music players to Cellphones, mp3 enjoys support in all every digital processor possible.

Digital format war

Format wars: Bluray vs HD-DVD

Transcription vendors prefer a format that is easy to carry in Voice-recorders, cellphones and even Mp3 players. Mp3 enjoys a higher support function over WAV for all electronic gadgets.

3) Easier Formatting and Conversion: Many times I receive audio files in Wav format from my customers. The first problem arises due to its big size when it takes a lot of time to download it through the Dropbox. Second issue is compatibility. Though most systems are WAV friendly, however I faced issues when trying to load the wav file into the transcription software and the software will hang up. As a way around this, we had to first convert the mp3 into wav, then load it into the software. The whole process is time consuming and takes unnecessary efforts.Mp3 on the other hand has no such issues with any of the transcription assistant software’s including Express Scribe.

Format Factory

4) Audibility: The most critical aspect in transcription business is accuracy. Accuracy depends on lots of factors. These are the capability of the transcriber themselves, accents, number of speakers, cross-talking ratio, topic of discussion, background disturbance and voice quality. Voice clarity is extremely important to us. A transcriber must be able to understand what the speakers are saying. He must be able to understand each and every word of it as any error in transcribing a single word can change the intended meaning of the sentence. This in turn can be detrimental in areas such as Court and legal transcription, medical and radiology transcriptions or even university lecture transcriptions.Comparing MP3 and WAV’s, to an audiophile

 Summary: As a Professional transcriber and consultant, I always suggest my clients to record audio interviews, podcast or business conferences in mp3 format. As a result of this exercise, my clients spend lesser time in upload and transferring the files to us and it saves us a lot of time to download it at our end. Plus the benefits of excellent audibility without any comprises. Converting the audio into text become an happy experience for us.

 About the Author: Melvin is a professional transcriptionist and an excellent virtual assistant with over 7 years of work experience. Currently he is working with a reputed American based online transcription service company that specializes in general audio interview transcriptions and legal court transcription services. Melvin’s philosophy of life is – Seek an improvement in everything that you do and you will rise to the peak of your existence. This article written as a guide is a showcase of his philosophy – Improvement in everything that one does.



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