Timestamps are markers in the transcription to indicate when the adjacent text was spoken. For example:

Timestamps are in the format [HH:MM:SS] where HH, MM, and SS are hours, minutes, and seconds from the beginning of the audio or video file.

When Are Timestamps Helpful?

Timestamps are helpful when someone reading the transcript wants to listen to the audio that corresponds to a particular segment of the transcript. They are also useful when referring to a specific part of the transcript. For example: “At [00:21:30], the interviewer asks the driver if he had anything to drink that evening.” This allows the reader to quickly find the section of the transcript where that question was asked.

Timestamps are often ordered with transcripts of interviews, panel discussions, depositions, legal transcripts, and raw footage of documentaries or other video productions before editing. When used with video transcription, timestamps can help to synchronize the text with a specific scene within the video file. Editors find them useful when looking for a particular part of the video that needs to be edited. Market researchers find them useful when writing reports summarizing what they’ve learned from reading interview transcripts or panel discussions.

Timestamps vs. Captions for Videos

If you need transcript text to appear over the top of a video, then Speechpad’s Standard Captions or Premium Captions services might be more appropriate choices. When you order captions from Speechpad, you’ll not only receive a transcript, but also a caption file that can be utilized by most video players to display synchronized text on the video as it is playing. However, if you only need a transcript that can be read alongside a video, then timestamps would be the more economical choice.

Timestamp Options

Speechpad can provide timestamps at various frequencies or locations:

  • Periodic timestamps
  • Paragraph timestamps
  • Sentence timestamps
  • Speaker timestamps

Periodic Timestamps

Periodic timestamps appear at a consistent frequency, such as every 15 seconds, 30 seconds, 1 minute, or 2 minutes. They appear next to the word that is spoken exactly at that time. For example the following transcript has timestamps every 15 seconds:

Periodic timestamps are a popular choice for raw video footage and also cases where timestamps are not too frequent (e.g. every minute or two).

Paragraph Timestamps

Paragraph timestamps appear at the beginning or end of each paragraph. They are less frequent than other types of timestamps, but also less obtrusive, especially when placed at the end of paragraphs. Despite the lower frequency, they are still useful for helping readers locate the general location of the audio corresponding to a particular part of the transcript. Here is an example of paragraph timestamps:

Sentence Timestamps

As the name implies, sentence timestamps appear at the beginning of each sentence. Although they can be more distracting to the reader, they do provide a higher resolution for when exact locations of the audio need to be referenced. Here is an example of how sentence timestamps look in a finished transcript:

Speaker Timestamps

Speaker timestamps are placed whenever there is a change in speakers. They are more commonly used for depositions, interviews, panel discussions, and conversational material. They make it easy to reference and find specific questions or responses. Here is an example of speaker timestamps in a finished transcript:


Timestamps incur an additional charge of $0.25/audio minute. At this price we can provide Periodic Timestamps as frequent as every 15 seconds, Paragraph Timestamps, or Sentence Timestamps. We can generally provide Speaker Timestamps at this price as well, but if the conversation is dynamic, with lots of speaker changes, then we may need to charge more. If you need timestamps at a higher frequency than every 15 seconds, or you have other custom requirements, please contact us, and we’ll be happy to provide a quote for you.

How to Order Timestamps

To order timestamps, simply select the “Request Timestamps” link when placing your order. A dialog box will appear allowing you to select the type of timestamp and frequency. Periodic and Paragraph Timestamps are the only choices presented. If you need Sentence or Speaker Timestamps, please select “Paragraph” and then please use the “Add Transcriber Instructions” link to specify the exact type of timestamps you need.

Additional Questions?

If you still have special timestamping requirements, or additional questions we have not answered here, please contact us, and we’ll do our best to help.