The Importance of Forensic Transcription

transcriptOver the last 31 years as Audio/Video Forensic Experts, Primeau Forensics has developed a tool to help litigators better hear and comprehend poor quality audio recordings that are to be used in court. We are very good at audio enhancement and helping our clients know the best method of audio playback in the courtroom so everyone can hear the audio recording being played during the litigation. In hard to hear situations, a forensic transcript, signed by an audio forensic expert can be invaluable.

A forensic transcript usually begins with forensic audio enhancement which is the process of using various software programs and expert filtering to remove the unwanted sounds and increase the volume and intelligibility of the wanted sounds which are usually conversations. Background noise includes noisy furnaces, air conditioners, buzzes and hums, traffic and wind. Once the recording has been enhanced, the forensic expert uses a combination of studio grade speakers, computer speakers, headphones and ear buds to comprehend and transcribe the conversation.

A forensic transcript is a signed and declared ‘under the pains and penalties of perjury’ document of a conversation that occurred in a hard to hear recording. Even after a digital recording has been processed for audio forensic enhancement, it may be difficult to hear the entire conversation. A forensic transcript is prepared by an audio forensic expert using critical listening skills, the same expertise used for voice identification and speaker recognition. Then when the enhanced digital audio recording is played in court, the written transcript can be followed during the playback of the enhanced audio recording so everyone in can understand what is being said.

The forensic transcript can also be notarized which in a sense certifies it as ‘true and accurate beyond a reasonable degree of scientific certainty’. Each forensic transcript assignment we complete at Primeau Forensics is quoted based on the amount of audio enhancement that is required for the audio recording restoration and time it will take to listen and document the words spoken in the recorded conversation.

Forensic transcription is not limited to audio recordings. Primeau Forensics has transcribed video recordings as well. We load the video recording into our forensic computer and remove the audio track. Once the audio has been enhanced, we post the clean restored audio back onto the video. Now we have a video enhancement to help with the litigation. In some cases, we have also added the words from the forensic transcript onto the screen to read as the video is playing. One such time we used this technology was when we restored and transcribed the Air Force One audio recordings the day John F Kennedy (JFK) was assassinated. See sample of this technology below:

Air Force One Recordings from John F Kennedy (JFK) Assassination on Vimeo

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