I cannot begin to tell you how much automated speech recognition technology has helped me in my transcription career. When I started out as a transcriptionist, a few years ago, the company I worked for needed us to literally type out word for word on all the audios we had to work on. These audios were about 50 to 60 minutes on a daily basis. If you are a transcriber, you know how hectic it is to type out a 60-minute audio from start to finish.  At the end of the day my fingers would be so tired due to a lot of typing and it’s not something that I used to look forward to. Every time the company would bring in a new transcription project, I would be the most unhappy employee. Looking back, I don’t know if the company wasn’t familiar with automated speech recognition software or they were just happy making us over work for every dollar they paid us.

Fast forward to 2 years later, I started working for a company which made me love transcription all over again. The thing with this company is that we would only work on automated audio transcripts and all we had to do as transcriptionists, is to go through the transcripts while listening to the audio and editing them. Till date that has been my best transcription experience and I wish most companies would embrace automated speech recognition technology for their transcription works.

One thing that stood out for me in these experiences is that the payment of the less cumbersome transcription, where all I had to do is edit, was more, compared to the transcription work where I had to literally break my back and fingers for. You might wonder why I’m getting this personal, it’s a way to show you how beneficial speech recognition software can be, only if we embrace it and use it for the purpose it was created for.

The technology of speech recognition has improved considerably over the years but it still has to be paired up by a human transcriptionist in order to get a quality and accurate outcome. When it comes to transcription, human transcriptionists are still the go to and will always be the go-to but with speech recognition software transcription works become easier and one is able to work on more files compared to when they have to do the donkey work (typing out word for word from scratch). Most speech recognition software in the market today shows an average error rate of about 12% while transcribing phone conversations.

These automated voice machines are getting better with time and that is why there are lots of questions being asked around this particular topic.

1. What is Automated Transcription?

Automated transcription also known as speech to text automation is a simple transcription process that converts audios/audio visuals into transcripts by the use of applications and software’s. Like most AI streams, artificial intelligence for transcription works in the same way, training specific software with high-quality datasets or examples. When more and more datasets are fed to the software, it gains more experience and builds a better algorithm.

2. Is it time to fully embrace automated transcription? My answer to this would be a strong Yes and I will tell you why. Transcription services have come of age and every professional field in the world has always or will one time need transcription services. It is the easiest way to get hard copy documents which can make filing easy and they also allow one to have a backup of important information in case an audio file gets distorted. With that said, it is important to note that human transcription is quite expensive and it’s something that most small companies can’t keep up with. This is where automated transcription services come in handy. They are cheaper and still serve the same purpose. It might not be the same quality of work but it is still a means to an end.

3. Is manual transcription still the best option when it comes to industry-specific transcription needs? My answer to this is also a strong yes. Automated speech recognition software of today do not give 100% accuracy, which is something industry-specific transcription needs look out for. Human transcription will always be the go-to for such industries. This is also not to mean that these automated speech to text software’s cannot be used in these industries. They can be used but should and must always be followed up by the proofreading of a human transcriber, who has the capacity to ensure that the quality and accuracy of a transcript is topnotch.

4. What is the downside of automated transcription?

Just like everything else has advantages, they also have a couple of disadvantages and automated transcription is no different.

  • Automated transcription software’s do not have the capacity to denote the context of a language. They are not that specific and detailed to tell what is what, and that is why you will constantly have to deal with errors. This is the reason why it is always advised to pair up automated transcription with human transcription when looking for quality and accuracy.
  • Another downside of using automated transcription is that these software’s don’t have the capacity to catch on words where heavy accents are involved. So, if the plan is to use automated transcription for speakers with heavy accents, it would be advisable to use human transcription services rather than automated transcription services.
  • Automated transcription machines have a hard time detecting speeches where speakers are speaking really fast and at the same time. This is one thing in transcription that human transcribers also complain about.  
  • When using the automated machine transcription, you run the risk of having a mix up of the speaker names and names of places. Accuracy is really not something key with these machines.
  • Words that are not in English can also be difficult for a transcription software to spell out correctly.
  • Context is another important thing when it comes to transcription and it’s something that these machines have no range of doing or carrying through. If you want non-verbatim transcripts, it would be hard to achieve that with these automated machines.

5. What’s the outcome of using automated transcription solutions?

One thing you need to be ready for, when deciding to take on automated transcription solutions is that it has to be backed up by the use of human transcription services if you are looking for quality and accuracy. If quality and accuracy are a foreign concept to you then you can use them alone without really needing the human transcription bit.

6. Should You Use Automated Transcription Tools?

As I mentioned before, depending on the importance of the information in your audio/audio visual files, using automated transcription services is an option but if its Information that might affect someone’s life, then is important to use transcription services that will handle the information keenly.

Using automated transcription services is a personal choice but it’s always important to know the pros and cons in order to make an informed decision. The best way to use these transcription services is by pairing them up in order to get the best results out of them.