A plethora of transcription services have sprung up online over the last decade offering both low-cost human and automated (robotic) transcription. At first glance these services appear economical, but first-hand experience tells us that they are a veritable minefield. At TTP we decided to give a couple of the larger low-cost transcription organisations (unnamed for legal reasons) a quick trial.
Here are a few of the more serious issues we encountered:
1. POOR QUALITY CONTROL – even with excellent audio and the use of clear speakers. Transcripts were returned to us with basic speech-to-text conversion errors and were lacking appropriate punctuation marks, correct spelling, and speaker differentiation. While speech-to-text errors are the most obvious, transcripts containing incorrect punctuation and spelling can create ambiguity or even change the meaning of a sentence. Serious confusion can also result from misidentified speakers. This is a particular pitfall in automated transcription where there is no human intelligence to recognise the nuances of speech;
2. INCOMPLETE FILES – including one transcription that had been typed up to the eight-minute mark instead of the full 22 minutes of audio;
3. UNRESPONSIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE OR ACCOUNTS CONTACTS – our money was taken, substandard results were delivered and there was no follow-up response to our complaints. This led us to question the accountability of one of these organisations, or in fact if it is an actual organisation.
The transcription industry is currently burgeoning with emerging ‘voice recognition’-type services, however we would strongly caution our clients to beware. Many of these services leave the end user with a substandard document that they will personally be required to proofread, which is both a skilled and time-consuming task (particularly when paired with audio). Whilst cheap, several of these services are likely to leave you with a sour taste, wondering to yourself whether it really saves any time at all to use a fast, low-cost transcription service over one such as TTP’s that promotes quality over cost.
As the famous philosopher Gabriel Biel once said, “You get what you pay for”. Never were these words more relevant than to today’s mushrooming industry of low-cost transcription services.
Call to Action!
If you’re looking for a high-quality transcription service that’s truly fast, reliable, accurate and accountable, why not contact us today for a quote: