Technology has given us a huge amount of benefits in our work and personal lives. It’s made most tasks easier, faster and cheaper. But using technology doesn’t always make it the most effective way to get a job done. While we have the technology that allows cars to drive by themselves, we haven’t yet fully handed over the keys to Google. Human eyes, human ears and the human brain, is still far more superior than artificial intelligence in many cases. Here are three important things to remember about human transcription that make it more effective than transcription software.
You always need a human ear.
We have tried nearly every type of transcription technology in the name of research. And there is a flaw with every single one. If what you require is accuracy, there is a critical step missing if you only use transcription software. At some point after transcribing the audio, you need to listen to the audio at least once to check the accuracy of the file. It’s what we call ‘proofreading’. And if you use transcription software only to transcribe a file, you’ll most likely need to proofread it multiple times. Using human transcriptionists can reduce the need for lengthy proofreading which can end up reducing costs in the long run.
Multiple speakers can only be detected by human ears
If you’re dictating one voice into a recorder such as a dictaphone or via phone software, technology can be a useful first step in transcription. But you need to speak clearly and slowly into the recorder and make sure there’s no one talking over you or other ambient sound.
But what if you aren’t just talking into a voice recorder in a quiet room? What if you need to transcribe a podcast in a coffee shop, an interview, a panel of speakers, or a conference with a Q&A session? Transcription software is not yet advanced enough to be able to distinguish between different voices, to understand and identify when people are speaking over the top of one another, or fill in the gaps when an ambient sound muffles a word.
The context of language
What’s the difference between “twenty five-dollar bills” and “twenty-five dollar bills”? Seventy-five dollars! Often you need to hear a phrase in context to fully comprehend it. And human cognition is far superior to most transcription technologies when it comes to understanding context.
Transcription is one area where technology, while useful, can’t beat the advantages and benefits of human involvement. New technology is launched every day that promises to turn audio files into text without the need for humans. But it can’t guarantee the level of accuracy that human transcriptionists can.