How to get the Biggest Bang for your Buck?
It can be often tricky to find dependable Audio Transcription Services online. There are so many of them out there. How do you know which one to pick? For a newcomer, it may even sound like rocket science. But it’s not. Well, maybe it is a science in how to get as close to 99% as possible. On the surface it literally means turning audio to text, which sounds easy, but is it? It’s the same old adage of time vs money. If you are new to audio transcription services, setting up alone can take a lot of time. Even the best voice recognition software with the latest and greatest sophisticated AI starts going nuts the moment you introduce difficult accents, fast speech or background noise. You still need human intelligence to process audio transcription services.
Why doesn’t Voice Recognition AI work?
50% Accuracy for Audio Transcription Services
While Voice Recognition or Speech Recognition Artificial Intelligence has come a long way in the last couple of years, it’s still heavily dependent on the voice of the user. And when you’re shelling out between $300 to $500 for a professional VR software like Nuance’s Dragon Naturally Speaking, you want to rest easy in the knowledge that whatever you feed into it, you will get a polished transcript in the end. But that’s simply not the case. Like I said above, it is heavily dependent on the user’s voice. You have to speak at a really slow pace and be right next to the microphone. Even then you can’t rely on it a 100%, because it will mess up similar-sounding words.
No Grammar or Punctuation
So you have bought a voice recognition software, and if you think you will get a fully formatted, polished transcript with good grammar and punctuation, correct speaker labeling and close to 99% accuracy, you would be wrong. Be prepared to spend a lot of time editing those raw transcripts to make them readable. What’s more, if the audio quality is not up to scratch, be prepared to delete and re-transcribe whatever the software has managed. Yes, I know that sounds disappointing. In defense of the software, it is doing the best it can with the tools it has. It’s good, but artificial intelligence is nowhere near human intelligence…..yet.
Quality May Suffer Due to a Number of Factors
The biggest roadblock for the software is humans ordinarily don’t talk in interviews like they do with AI like Siri, Alexa or Cortana etc. In an average interview, there can be a number of factors affecting the end result, like:
- Fast pace of talking
- Overlapping conversation
- Background or static noise
- Ambient noise like bar music, other people chatting etc.
- Kids screaming in the background
- Phones ringing
- Blaring horns outside, police sirens or loud vehicles.
Any one of those, and it throws the software right off its game. It suddenly becomes a poet with amazing imagination and fiction creating capabilities.
Like anything in life, audio transcription services require skill and years of practice to perfect. Below are some of the important components that form the ingredients for successful audio transcription services:
A voice recognition software will win this battle hands down, because let’s face it, a human can never type as fast as a software can process text. It’s just impossible. If you were to transcribe an interview that is 60 minutes long, unless you were an alien with 30 fingers typing at 200 WPM, it will take you in the region of 8-10 hours. Or if you were a superhero like The Flash, then yeah, you could probably do it in a few minutes. But if you’re not extraterrestrial or a superhero, it’s unfortunately a full day’s work.
As I mentioned above, a voice recognition transcript is raw, no grammar or punctuation or speaker labeling. You will end up spending a lot of your time proofreading or editing the transcript.
Second, your general knowledge needs to be on point, just awareness of the world around you. If you are up to date with current affairs, countries, languages, people, organizations etc. it gets easier. For everything else, there’s Google. If you live under a rock or are a cave troll, then well, even Google won’t work, because where’s the Wi-Fi?
Speed comes with years of practice. It also helps if you’re using a transcription foot pedal, because that way you can control file playback with your foot while your hands are free to type away. Once you get used to that, that alone makes the biggest difference in speed. Speed can also be helped further with good audio hardware, i.e. headphones, sound cards etc. Or good sound editing software which can probably make your life easier if the audio file is difficult.
No, not “which movie goes best with beer and pizza” research, ACTUAL research pertaining to the topic! About 90% of accuracy for audio transcription services depends on good listening skills and great research ability. Whether they are difficult or easy terms. Sometimes you have to dig really deep and do a lot of site searches to find specific terms. You might come across technical terms for which you may find no reference on the web at all. And at these times you might even have to refer to encyclopedias or books related to that topic. Or check with the client. Other times there may be country specific or language specific terms that may not be easy to find unless you know the language. Or the speaker has an accent you’ve never heard before. This is where having an inquisitive mind can help too. If you pay attention to how certain languages affect their English speaking accent, that can help you better understand a lot of terms that may be alien to other people.
FOCUS & CONCENTRATION
This is perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of audio transcription. You can’t be transcribing about horses and daydreaming about hedgehogs, it just doesn’t work! Just like driving a car at 200 mph and thinking what you’re gonna have for dessert after downing 3 burgers doesn’t work. That sounds eerily like I have done that in the past. I have not. It’s just an interesting perspective. Focus is paramount with audio transcription services. Lack of concentration will result in mistakes, so you need to be on point for the whole duration of the audio file. This is also something that makes it a very time consuming, and mentally draining job. The initial learning curve can create a lot of stress for newcomers. But they have to understand that just like anything in life, and as mentioned above, it gets easier with time. Practice makes perfect. Tackling difficult files for audio transcription services can create a lot of stress for an individual, which is why it’s recommended for someone in this line of work to exercise and meditate regularly. Healthy body = healthy mind etc.
If the speaker says Jesus, and you type Gesis, you may as well give up on audio transcription services now. To avoid these types of blunders, our transcription process goes through three phases:
If we were looking at it from a physical product standpoint, this stage will be the initial manufacturing. Every audio file is first transcribed by transcribers selected through intensive interviewing and testing process. Who are then given feedback and trained over years to improve their listening, research and typing skills, with many eventually getting promoted to quality analyst roles.
2. Quality Analysis:
This stage would be second level refinement. Once the transcribers are done with the initial transcription, our experienced quality analysts (usually 10-15 years of experience) will thoroughly proofread the whole transcript from start to finish, correct any grammatical errors, make sure they understand context, and ensure all guidelines requested by the client are met. Once that is done, the transcript then awaits final review.
3. Final Review:
We don’t stop at Quality Analysis. Carrying on the manufacturing line, this would be final packaging or finishing touches. Our editors responsible for quality control will give the transcript a go-over for the final review resulting in the most accurate, top quality transcript. We constantly strive to get as close to the 99% accuracy mark as humanly possible.
Now, depending on your project, the length of those audio files can vary greatly, from a mere 30 minutes to hundreds of thousands of minutes if you’re a podcast/sermon producer or a PhD candidate with many recorded interviews for your thesis. At $1.20 per minute of audio for clean and clear digital quality files, we are one of the most affordable audio transcription services on the web. We also provide huge discounts for bulk orders. More info below: