Human Vs Software Transcription: Which Is Best For Your Application?

10 March 2017
 Categories: Business, Blog

With new advances in both AI and sound-recognizing technology, it has become possible to get some very accurate transcriptions with transcription software. Transcription software is both faster and cheaper than using human transcription -- but there are some issues with it as well. Here are a few questions you should ask before committing to either type.

Do the Speakers Change Frequently?

Most transcription programs are "trained" on a single person's voice. Though they can sometimes understand multiple speakers, the results will be far less accurate. If one person is normally talking and has produced a large amount of audio, then a software transcription service may be the best option. If there are many people talking and they don't say a lot, the software may not be able to learn what each person sounds like.

Is This a Highly Technical Recording?

Transcription software is best used when the recordings are fairly general in nature. When it comes to legal or medical transcription services, transcription software may simply not have the vocabulary to compete with a human transcriptionist. There are many phrases that may not appear in its dictionary and will then need to be corrected. The more corrections need to be made, the less cost-effective the entire system is.

Do Any of the Speakers Have Accents?

If any of the speakers have accents -- or if English is their second language -- the transcription software may not be able to work. Transcription software often cannot distinguish words that have accents on them because they sound so different. Additionally, transcription software often has issues with idioms as well. Transcription software "guesses" at words quite often based on context. Those who speak English as a second language may use phrases that the software doesn't recognize.

What is the Quality of the Recording?

There are a few different things that go into the quality of a recording. Sound volume, background noise, and cross talk are the three major things that will present problems for transcription software. Humans are used to picking out words among background noise and, to a certain extent, also able to pick out one individual's voice among many speakers. Software is not very skilled at this.

Ultimately, software transcription is ideal if the audio is of high quality and if the speaker themselves is very clear. If there are any issues at all with the audio file, then a human transcription is usually preferred. On the other hand, if you can use software transcription, it's often much faster and easier. For more information or assistance, contact companies like JR Transcription.