Our business has been operating for more than 20 years, and the main reason for that longevity is the high quality transcription and proofreading service we offer.
Throughout that 20+ years technology has taken on a larger role in the provision of transcription services, via the tools we use at TTP for listening to and transcribing audio files, but also with the influx of speech recognition software and machine transcription. While human and machine transcription services are similar, in that the end product is a typed transcript of an audio file, they are not the same. This post is about those differences.
I have had many issues with Rev.com, finding the transcription product returned to me to be hit and miss on most occasions, even when the audio file features a single speaker with clear speech/dictation. I’ve found the biggest issue centres around language, in that the speech recognition software used by Rev.com does not recognise accented speech easily.
Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for speech recognition software, but my experience from the past 20+ years is that clients who are after high quality transcription services –like what TTP provides –is the peace of mind that comes from knowing a human typist has transcribed the audio file.
This is particularly relevant when you need a specialist service, like medical transcription, or multi-speaker files like an AGM or business event. Speech recognition software cannot be guaranteed to pick up slight inferences that might mean the difference between describing one medical condition and another. That could have a dire consequences if not checked properly.
I submitted a workshop file that I know had clear audio to Rev.com, but it was sent back to me with a note explaining it could not be transcribed. It said: “This can be due to a number of factors such as difficulty of audio, content, foreign language, or missing portions. We have had multiple Transcriptionists attempt to complete the Transcription, but despite their best efforts we cannot complete an accurate Transcription for you”.Another file submitted on a different occasion was rejected due to audio quality, with the reassurance that multiple transcriptionists attempted the job, “but despite their best efforts it could not be completed”.
One instance where I could see a service like Rev.com would come in handy is when you need the transcript urgently (for example, turned around in less than 24 hours). However, if you indicate urgency when you book with Rev.com’s human transcription service, the file is broken up into chunks and given to multiple typists. When this happens you lose consistency and flow, which pushes the proofreading time up, often to being longer than actual typing time.
I trialled Rev.com’s “rush” service, which states the transcript is turned around within three hours. I paid a premium for this service, but had not received my file within five hours. When I questioned the time frame I was told Rev.com was “experiencing delays”and that the “team is working hard to finish your order and we will email you the transcript as soon as it is ready”. Obviously that wasn’t the service I paid for – a service that requires upfront payment.
If you need high quality transcription, with the knowledge it will be typed and proofread by someone who understands the topic, there is no competition. A smaller human transcription business versus a big machine transcription company will provide quality over cost every time.