Berlin Adopts German Transcription Service as Legal Tool

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German Transcription Service

A German transcription service is often used in a legal context in solicitor’s offices, to support disciplinary hearings, to take a record of police interviews and for arbitration meetings.  For the first time, Germany will also allow transcription in a court of law – except it will be automated transcription…

Speeding Up Legal Procedures With Transcription

Germany’s decision to allow some criminal trials to be recorded marks a significant departure from its longstanding reliance on notes and the memories of the people present in court. This move, approved by the German Cabinet, aims to modernise court procedures and enhance accuracy in legal proceedings.  However, instead of using trained court reporters or stenographers to transcribe the German speech, they will be using automatic speech recognition.

Automated German Transcription Technology Versus Human Transcription

The plan, which is now underway, includes the use of automated transcription technology. This is in regional courts, streamlining the process of creating records. As the pilot phase progresses, German transcription service providers may play a crucial role. They’ll be ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of the recording-to-text process.  

Human transcribers possess linguistic nuances and contextual understanding that allow them to accurately capture spoken words, especially in complex legal settings where precise interpretation is crucial. While automated transcription technology has advanced significantly, it still faces challenges. These problems particularly occur in accurately transcribing accents, dialects and complex legal terminology.

Balancing Transparency and Privacy

Under the Berlin plan, the recordings and German transcripts will not be accessible to the public or the press, with strict penalties in place for unauthorised publication. 

The proposed pilot phase will last until 2030 indicating a cautious approach to implementation, allowing for thorough evaluation and adjustment before potentially expanding the practice nationwide. If approved by the German Parliament, this initiative could have far-reaching implications for the country’s legal system.  You can read more about the pilot scheme.

Knockhundred’s Approach to its German Transcription Service

We are not luddites and our German transcription team constantly tests different speech recognition solutions to check for accuracy.  If the available technology makes the job faster and the quality better, what’s not to like?  Indeed, when we compare the results today against what was possible 2 or 3 years ago, the improvement is impressive.  However It is still far from perfect, especially if the audio is not crystal clear, there are multiple speakers, the speaker has a strong accent or the terminology used is specialist.

Transcribing thousands of hours every year, do head over to our German transcription page to learn more about how we can help you. Or get in touch with one of out lovely project managers.

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