Audio Transcription explained
Audio Transcription isn’t a bird. It isn’t a plane. It may sound like rocket science, but it’s not. It’s got nothing to do with science, although it may be an art. It may even be science! It literally means turning audio to text, which on the surface may sound easy, but it can be difficult. Voice recognition software with sophisticated AI have tried, many smartphone and tablet apps have tried, but they are nowhere near as accurate as humans. You still need humans to review them. And in many cases, you have to almost re-transcribe whatever the machine has managed. The thing 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:
- A fast talking speaker.
- Overlapping conversation.
- Background or static noise.
- Ambient noise like bar music, other people chatting etc.
- Kids screaming.
- Phones ringing.
- Blaring horns from cars.
- Police sirens and loud motorcycles.
Audio Transcription SPEED:
This can be hardware/equipment dependent. If you were to transcribe an interview that is 60 minutes long, and unless you were an alien with 30 fingers typing at 200 WPM, it will take close to 8 hours. If you were the DC superhero The Flash, then yeah, you could probably do it in one hour. But if you’re not extraterrestrial or a superhero, it’s a full day’s work. Second, you need to have really solid general knowledge, just awareness of the world around you. If you are up to date with current affairs, countries, languages, people, organizations etc. it gets easier. If you live under a rock or are a cave troll, then well, Google is your friend. Speed comes with practice. It also helps if you’re using a transcription foot pedal, because that way your 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 in audio transcription can also be compounded 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.
Audio Transcription RESEARCH:
No, not “which movie goes best with beer and pizza” research, ACTUAL research pertaining to the topic! About 90% of transcription accuracy depends on good listening skills and great research ability for difficult or easy terms alike. Sometimes you have to dig really deep and do a lot of site searches to find specific terms. You might come across some 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. 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, can help you better understand a lot of terms that may be alien to other people.
FOCUS & CONCENTRATION in Audio Transcription:
You can’t be transcribing about horses and daydreaming about hedgehogs, it just doesn’t work! Just like driving a car at 300 kmph and thinking what you’re gonna have for dessert after downing 3 burgers doesn’t work. Not that I have done that, it’s just an interesting perspective. Focus is paramount when doing audio transcription. 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 audio transcription of a difficult file 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.
Audio Transcription ACCURACY:
If the speaker says Jesus, and you type Gesis, you may as well give up on audio transcription 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 our experienced transcribers who are trained over years to improve their listening, research and typing skills, with many eventually making the jump to becoming quality analysts.
2. Quality analysis:
This stage would be second level refinement. Once the audio transcription team is done with the initial transcription, our experienced quality analysts (usually 10+ years of experience) will thoroughly proofread the whole transcript from the first page to the last, correcting grammatical errors, making sensible sentences, and making sure all guidelines requested by the client are met. Once that is done, the transcript then awaits final review.
3. Final Review:
Following on from the tradition above, this would be final packaging or the finishing touches. Our senior-most editors, especially the ones responsible for quality control, will give the transcript a go-over for the final review, clearing any highlighted time stamps, and further enhancing the file, 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 transcription companies on the web. We also provide huge discounts for bulk orders. More info and links below:
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