Happy Scribe's Human Proofreading

What can you expect from Happy Scribe's proofread transcripts, subtitles and translations?

Boris Simonse avatar
Written by Boris Simonse
Updated over a week ago

Are you submitting a file for Human?

Here are all the factors to consider and the expectations we can offer you when it comes to the service types, file specifics and delivery times.

Languages and translation pairings

See this article for an overview of all the languages we offer for transcription and captions, and the translation pairings we offer for subtitles.


Familiarise yourself with the different services that we offer:

  • Transcription: Audio converted to text format. This text does not appear on the video itself and is written in paragraphs. You can choose to convert your transcript to subtitles yourself using the button within the transcription file on our platform. Example: transcribing a classroom discussion.

  • Captions (same-language subtitles): Video with audio converted to text format, appearing on the video itself. The text syncs with the audio's timing and is presented in a maximum of two lines (unless otherwise requested), without significantly disturbing the viewing experience. Example: adding subtitles to an e-learning course on marketing.

  • Foreign language subtitles: Subtitles translated into a language different from the video's audio. Example: English subtitles for a Japanese-language documentary.

    • Please note that we first caption your audio in its original language before we translate the captions into your target language.

Style and formatting

Happy Scribe's transcripts and subtitles should strike the perfect balance between readability and accuracy. To do so, we employ the following principles:



Transcription of spoken audio

We transcribe spoken audio. We transcribe what is said, even if there are embedded subtitles on screen that say something different. We do not add any context regarding the speaker or the way the audio is spoken, nor do we capture sounds. This approach focuses on the speech itself, improving readability.


We transcribe the spoken audio in a clean-read format, which means we filter out unnecessary filler words, false starts, stutters, and unintended repetitions.

We also correct pronunciation mistakes to keep transcripts and captions legible.

This enhances the clarity and flow of our transcripts.

We do not traditionally offer verbatim transcription, unless specifically requested.

Capturing speech word for word

It remains essential to capture the speaker's character and intentions as accurately as possible. We do not correct grammar mistakes made by speakers, nor do we paraphrase any speech. This approach ensures the faithful representation of the speaker.

All comprehensible speech captioned

We only caption words and sentences that are understandable. If our linguists are uncertain about certain parts, they use [inaudible] or [crosstalk] tags. This maintains the accuracy of the captions.

One language at a time

We transcribe only the requested language(s). If an audio file contains multiple languages, we transcribe the requested language and label the remaining segments in other languages as [foreign language]. This ensures accuracy, as our linguists may not be fluent in those foreign languages. If you require transcription for each language in your file, please contact us at hi@happyscribe.co, and we will try to accommodate your request.


We aim for our subtitles to be as legible as possible. Our linguists adhere to the following rules, in order of prioritisation:

  • Timing should coincide with the on and offset of captionable speech.

  • Logical sentence breaks between the top and bottom line and between capsules.

  • Maximum characters per line (CPL) length of 42, after which a second line or next capsule will follow.

  • Pyramid distribution: bottom line should exceed top line where possible.

  • Maximum characters per second (CPS) duration of 20.

If you change any pre-sets in your workspace, e.g. for CPL or for the amount of lines, please be aware that this will only reflect your automatic orders, not Human. For special requests you can reach out to hi@happyscribe.com.

Unworkable files

We cannot transcribe files with less than 20% transcribable, spoken, and understandable audio in the correct language. This policy ensures fairness, as we do not want you to pay for such short portions of speech. Unworkable files include those with over:

  • 80% song.

  • 80% inaudible text.

  • 80% in a foreign language.

Punctuation and word formatting

For all matters above and for punctuation and word formatting, we ask all our linguists to closely follow our Happy Scribe guidelines, unless otherwise specified by the customer. You can these guidelines here.

Language flavour

Please specify the language as well as its flavour (regional variation or dialect) for the transcript or subtitles, such as Dutch (Belgium) or Spanish (Mexico). Your transcript will be returned to you according to the flavour of the audio. If you notice this is not the case, please feel free to reach out to us.


We also offer specific flavours for translation into:

  • English (United States or UK)

  • Spanish (Latin America or Spain)

    • Note: for the second person singular, we use tΓΊ as a standard for es-ES translations and usted as a standard for es-LATAM translations.

  • Portuguese (Brazil or Portugal)

This helps our freelancers use the correct spelling, vocabulary and formatting rules. If your preferred dialect is not listed, you may make a special request through hi@happyscribe.com.

No flavour specified

If you select any language followed by (multiple accents) or if the language you select on the platform is somehow missing its flavour notation (e.g. it just says "es" instead of "es-LATAM"), we ask our linguists to stick to what we label the default version.

Without a flavour specification:

  • English will be British English πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§.

  • Spanish will be Spanish from Spain πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Έ.

  • French will be French from France πŸ‡«πŸ‡·.

  • German will be German from Germany πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ.

  • Portuguese will be Portuguese from Portugal πŸ‡΅πŸ‡Ή.

  • Dutch will be Dutch from the Netherlands πŸ‡³πŸ‡±.

  • Mandarin will be simplified Mandarin from mainland China πŸ‡¨πŸ‡³.

  • Arabic will be Standard Arabic πŸ‡ΈπŸ‡¦.

Turnaround time

When you place an order, you will receive an estimated turnaround time for your file. However, external factors such as language or translation requested, file difficulty, length, and upload time may affect the actual delivery time. We strive to deliver your file within the claimed timeframe and always provide a predicted delivery time. If you're under time constraints, please notify hi@happyscribe.com so we can set expectations and try to meet your deadline. In case of significant delays, we will proactively reach out to you.

Is there anything unclear from this article or do you have further questions about the type of content we can subtitle and transcribe for you? Do not hesitate to reach out to hi@happyscribe.com.

Did this answer your question?