Transcribe Phone Calls: A Step-By-Step Guide

Learn how to transcribe phone calls securely and effortlessly with our step-by-step guide. Streamline your process and boost productivity today.

transcribe phone calls

Phone communications often contain critical info for businesses and legal professionals. So it’s no surprise that professionals often need a fast, secure, easy way to transcribe phone calls.

This guide has everything professionals need to know when it comes to quickly and accurately transcribing outgoing phone calls.

What Are the Benefits of Transcribing Phone Calls?

If you’ve been in your industry for a while, you already know that phone call transcription isn’t just another random item on the old to-do list. Transcribing phone calls offers many advantages, from keeping precise records to generating new brand content.

Here are some of the top benefits.

Accurate Documentation

Transcribing phone calls provides a verbatim written record of the conversation, ensuring quality customer service and accurate documentation of essential details, agreements, and commitments.

Content Creation & Podcast Transcription

Writers, journalists, and podcast creators can transcribe phone interviews or discussions to generate written articles, blog posts, or reports with accurate quotes and information. Lear more about Podcast Transcription here! 

Easy Reference and Retrieval

Having a written transcript readily available allows professionals to quickly search for specific information, quotes, or references, saving time and increasing efficiency in recalling important details.

Legal Compliance

Transcribing phone calls can assist in meeting legal and regulatory requirements, particularly in industries such as legal, finance, and healthcare, where maintaining accurate records is crucial for compliance purposes.

What Are The Different Types of Phone Transcripts?

When it comes to transcription, there are three main types: verbatim, edited, and intelligent transcription (learn about the other 4 types of transcription here). You’ll need to know which one you want before creating your phone transcription.

Each type varies in the level of detail and editing applied to the transcription process.

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim transcription aims to capture every spoken word and sound in the recorded conversation. It includes dialogue and non-verbal cues, such as pauses, laughter, stutters, and background noises.

Edited Transcription

Edited transcription involves removing some aspects of the conversation that are considered irrelevant or distracting while retaining the core content. Standard edits include removing filler words (e.g., um, uh) and repetitive phrases, correcting grammar and syntax errors, and smoothing out speech patterns.

Intelligent Transcription

Intelligent transcription falls in between a fully edited and verbatim transcription. You can think of it as a lightly edited transcription that gets rid of mistakes that could distract from clarity without entirely changing the exact words that were said.

Which Phone Transcription Tools Are Right for Me?

To be transcribed by a human, or not to be transcribed by a human? Formatted or unformatted? Wait minutes or hours? There are so many choices considering all the transcription tools out there.

Here’s what you should think through before you pick a transcription service.

Human vs A.I. Transcription

One of the primary considerations is whether you prefer human transcription or automated transcription powered by artificial intelligence (such as Google Voice, for instance).

While several AI-based apps claim to transcribe audio files reliably, many depend on speech-to-text technology to create fast and flimsy automatic transcriptions.

Unfortunately, lightning-quick automatic phone call transcription software tends to have 15-25 errors per 100 words. And that’s quite a problem when you’re in a high-stakes legal battle or deciphering complex financial discussions.

On the other hand, human transcription typically offers higher accuracy, especially in complex or technical conversations. It ensures a human touch in understanding context and nuances, accurately transcribing accents or speech patterns.

Turnaround Time

The urgency of your transcription needs may influence the type of service you choose. Factors such as audio quality, number of speakers, and conversation length can impact the turnaround time.


Transcription rates can vary based on factors like the complexity of the conversation, the number of speakers, and additional services like time coding or verbatim transcription.

A.I. transcription services are often more affordable, making them a cost-effective option for those on a budget. But keep this in mind—for all the cash you may save up front on automated transcription, you will spend more time later cleaning up mistakes and formatting.

Human transcription services may be more expensive since they involve the expertise and time of human transcribers, but you won’t need to spend time editing.

Multiple Speakers

Consider whether your phone call transcription involves multiple speakers. Human transcribers can handle conversations with multiple participants more effectively, accurately identifying and labeling different speakers.

To be fair, automated transcription services have also made significant advancements in this area, and some platforms can even differentiate between speakers to provide clearer transcripts.

Spanish Transcription

If your phone calls involve conversations in Spanish or bilingual discussions, ensure that the transcription service supports accurate Spanish transcription. Many human transcription services offer Spanish transcription as an additional service, leveraging native speakers’ expertise.

Quality of Audio or Video

The clarity of your audio recordings can impact the accuracy of the transcription. Human transcribers can often work with a broader range of audio qualities, including difficult or distorted recordings.

They can listen carefully and fill in any gaps to ensure a more accurate transcript. Automated transcription services may struggle with poor audio quality or background noise, leading to lower accuracy.

How to Transcribe Phone Calls: Step-by-Step

Sure, you could record your own phone conversation and then spend a painstaking 5+ hours trying to transcribe it, word by word, all by yourself.

But who on earth has time for that?!

Even if you did manage to transcribe everything accurately, there’s still the transcript editing and formatting to worry about.

That’s why professionals have trusted SpeakWrite as the best audio transcription service since 1997.

Here’s how it works.

Step 1:  Recording Calls

The first step to phone call transcription is recording your conversation. There are three hassle-free ways you can capture your phone call audio.

Phone Recording Apps

Explore various call recording apps available for your specific smartphone platform (iOS or Android). These apps typically provide an easy-to-use interface and recording functionality directly from your phone.

Built-in Phone Features

Some smartphones offer built-in call recording features. Check if your device has this functionality and learn how to enable and use it effectively.

External Recording Devices

If you prefer a physical recording device, you can use external gadgets like call recording adapters and voice recorders that connect to your phone’s audio jack or Bluetooth-enabled recording devices.

Step 2:  Uploading your audio on the SpeakWrite App.

The SpeakWrite App is a handy tool that transforms your smartphone or computer into a digital office, allowing you to easily send your recordings to our team of skilled typists based in the U.S.

Otherwise, you can quickly upload your phone call recording manually.

The app even allows you to take photos and seamlessly integrate them into your dictations. This feature comes in handy when you need to provide visual context or reference alongside your spoken words.

The best part? The app itself is free to download and use. You only pay for the actual transcription work done by our team of professionals. There are no hidden fees or additional charges involved.

Step 3:  Receiving your transcript.

After we finish transcribing your work(most jobs have an average turnaround time of 3 hours or less), then you can receive your phone call transcription in one of several ways:

Secure Web Download

After your work is transcribed, you can access it by securely downloading your file from our system. Note that completed jobs and the original audio are retained on our system for 90 days.

Email Attachment

 Once the transcription is complete, we will automatically email you the finished document in Word format. If you wish, you can even request that a copy of a specific job be sent to an additional email address.

Secure Link to Download

To ensure an extra layer of security for your work, we offer the option to receive it through a password-protected URL. This way, you have complete control over who can access your transcriptions.

Editing Your Phone Transcript

If you transcribe your phone call with SpeakWrite, there’s no need for editing—our typists deliver beautifully formatted and professionally edited documents.

But if you decide to transcribe your phone call, or choose to use speech-to-text or automated transcription, then some light (or heavy) editing may be in order.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of editing a phone transcript.

  • Verify accuracy against the recording. Compare the transcript to the original phone call recording to catch any errors, omissions, or inconsistencies.
  • Ensure clarity of names and technical terms. Confirm correct spellings of names, places, and technical jargon used during the conversation to maintain accuracy.
  • Review for grammar and punctuation. Check for grammatical errors, punctuation mistakes, and sentence structure issues to enhance readability and professionalism.
  • Identify and label speakers. Clearly attribute statements to the correct speakers, especially in conversations with multiple participants, to maintain clarity.
  • Address filler words and non-verbal cues. Remove unnecessary filler words and consider including non-verbal cues in brackets to capture the essence of the conversation.
  • Maintain confidentiality and privacy. Anonymize or redact sensitive or confidential information to protect privacy and comply with legal and ethical requirements.
  • Ensure consistent, professional formatting. Use a consistent format for font size, spacing, indentation, and speaker labels to ensure a professional and organized transcript.
  • Proofread for accuracy. Take the time to proofread the final transcript to catch any remaining errors or inconsistencies before finalizing it.

Why Businesses, Law Enforcement, & Legal Professionals Choose SpeakWrite

Turnaround Time and Work Quality

The SpeakWrite platform works efficiently to deliver completed work in about 3 hours. However, longer recordings may take more time. SpeakWrite doesn’t use voice recognition software, so our work is of the highest quality in the industry.

Capacity and Availability

SpeakWrite has a network of qualified typists based in the U.S. who are available 24/7, every day of the year. They can handle any workload size. The system responds in real-time to handle busy periods or large volumes of work. Jobs submitted on weekends, after hours, or during holidays are immediately assigned to available typists. Oh, and we happen to offer incredible customer service, too.


SpeakWrite’s pricing starts at 1.5 cents per word. It includes unlimited use of all features without minimum usage requirements or hidden fees. SpeakWrite operates on a pay-as-you-go basis without any contracts.

Transcription Security

SpeakWrite ensures security through three standard protocols: authentication, authorization, and encryption. Authentication confirms individual identities, authorization grants access to specific resources, and encryption creates secure channels between users and SpeakWrite servers to protect data transmission.

Get Started With Online Transcription Today

Whether you need phone call transcripts, interviews, meetings, or any other audio or video content transcribed, we have you covered. Our user-friendly platform ensures a seamless customer experience, delivering reliable and polished transcripts tailored to your specific needs.

Take advantage of our online transcription services and revolutionize how you manage and utilize your spoken content. Click here to get started with online transcription today.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a way to transcribe phone calls?

Yes, you can use transcription services that employ either human transcribers or automated speech recognition (ASR) technology to convert spoken content into written text.

What does it mean to transcribe a phone call?

To transcribe a phone call means to convert the spoken content of the conversation into a written format. This involves accurately capturing and representing the words, sentences, and dialogue exchanged during the phone call.

How do I get a transcript of a phone conversation?

There are a few options to obtain a transcript of a phone conversation. You can hire professional transcription services that specialize in phone call transcription. Alternatively, some smartphones and call recording apps offer built-in transcription features, enabling you to transcribe conversations directly on your device.

Can you transcribe a phone call on an iPhone?

Yes, it is possible to transcribe a phone call on an iPhone. Simply download the SpeakWrite app to get started.

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