Speech to text or transcription is the process of taking a recording of an audio or video and typing it into a document.
Sounds simple doesn’t it? Think again!
Did you know that it takes a transcriber between 4 – 5 hours to type up 1 hour of audio or video? Sometimes even longer!
Here are a few reasons why the conversion of speech to text is not so easy.
- Sound quality – the range of equipment that people use, from cell phones, to laptops, old cassette recorders and insufficient microphones all impacts on the quality of the recording and many recordings fall short here, resulting in participants not being clearly audible.
- If a transcriber cannot hear what is being said, it results in many rewinds of the audio or video and this effects how long it takes to type it and the quality of the transcript.
- The number of speakers in a recording.
- The speed at which the participants talk and whether they talk over each other impacts on the difficulty of the transcribing process. This is where the skill of a good transcriber comes into play, in being able to establish who is saying what.
- The tools transcribers use such as audio enhancement and transcription software and equipment like foot pedals and quality headphones also have an important role to play.
- What is the case for outsourcing speech to text work?
- Transcription is very time consuming and outsourcing it, frees you up to other more important things.
- Transcribing is difficult and can be very frustrating and stressful when you have to stop and rewind, re-listen several times and if you are not experienced in doing this type of work, the chances are you are going to have quality problems.
How to choose a transcription company?
- Quality and speed
These are the two most important aspects. If the transcript is inaccurate, the value and credibility of it diminishes rapidly. If the transcript is late, often this impacts on the purpose for which you needed it.
A reputable transcription company should have:
- Quality systems and processes in place, which include employing only the best transcribers, using audio enhancement equipment to improve the sound quality of poorly recorded audios and an independent proofreader to check the quality of the transcriber’s work.
- A large team of transcribers to process the transcript quickly, by splitting the audio and sharing the workload amongst them.
- In terms of quality, a non-negotiable, should be a built in proofreading process – which you should generally be able to establish from the website.
- In terms of speed the larger transcription companies will undoubtedly have a number of transcribers, often enabling them to get work done faster than a smaller transcription service provider.
Once you can tick the quality and speed boxes – a good rate is a bonus!
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