Transcription is in higher demand than ever. Whether it’s journalists, video editors, lawyers or medical practitioners, the need to convert audio or video to text will almost undoubtedly enter the workflow of many different professionals at some point. And if you’re in one of these careers or industries, you might have even had the dreaded task of transcribing audio or video files yourself.
We feel your pain.
The simplest way to define transcription is the process of converting recorded speech into text. If you’ve ever read the words of an actor or the lines of a politician then you’ve read a transcript. There are lots of different ways transcripts are used; and, thankfully, technology offers the fastest, most affordable way to transcribe than ever.
What different kinds of transcription are out there?
The most traditional form of transcription is manual transcription, when humans listen to audio or video files and type the words into a word processing document. Manual transcription services tend to be time consuming but are more accurate than real-time human transcription services, which are extremely difficult to master unless you're an exceptionally swift typist.
Some manual transcribers choose slow the playback speed of the audio or video files so they can type at their own pace. This approach usually produces a more accurate transcript but is still a time drain on long audio and video files.
With the use of special equipment and a shorthand system, a very small number of transcribers can type in real time, although this is a highly specialized skill that takes extensive training and a particularly fast typist – for example, a court reporter. This skill can be used either live or when listening to a recording, although the vast majority of the time it happens live. Accuracy tends to be lower with real-time transcription since there is no time for mistakes to be corrected.
Although manual transcription has been around the longest, it doesn’t mean it’s the ideal solution. We think there’s a better way.
Compared to manual transcription, automated transcription is incredibly fast. Manual transcription usually requires the source recording to be divided into multiple files; these files are then sent to multiple transcribers, who are paid at an hourly or per-page rate to type them. Automated transcription, on the other hand, accomplished all this with a single audio or video file, and in less time, for less money and much more securely.
Using Trint’s automated transcription software is like hiring a computer to listen to and type your audio or video files. The software listens to files and then interprets what's being said with speech-recognition technology. Once a file has been transcribed, the transcript is displayed in a browser for easy searching, editing (if necessary) and exporting.
We’re the first to admit transcription that uses artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t perfect. What you end up with is a first-draft, timecoded transcript that makes editing smooth and fast, and with reasonably clear audio the accuracy tends to be at least 95%. To make the editing process easier, words in the transcript are stitched to the corresponding moment in the audio or video, making it easy to find important moments or locate keywords.
In a recent article, Wired measured the effectiveness of Trint’s automated transcription service. They found that at a price of approximately $0.25 per minute ($15 per hour), our transcription software cost just a quarter of the going rate of most manual transcription services.
But how does it work?
Trint’s digital transcription starts with AI, automated speech recognition and natural language processing. IF those words look like intimidating, highly technical words to you, don’t worry - the concept is actually very simple. The software is very, very good at interpreting all the different sounds that make up human speech; it’s equally good at matching those sounds to the corresponding word in its extensive dictionary in many different languages. Not only this, but the software also teaches itself, so it’s continually learning and improving its accuracy.
Fortunately, advances in speech recognition software have led to the emergence of automated transcription services, like Trint, which save hours of time and cost considerably less than manual speech-to-text services.
Trint’s automated transcription software can be used with multiple types of media, including both audio and video files. Users can even use automatic transcription to transcribe and embed captions to video, thanks to our recent partnership with Adobe and our dedicated plugin for the Adobe Premiere Pro CC video editing suite. The software converts the speech to text and automatically places captions at the correct time on the video, saving editors the hassle of digging out quotes and adding subtitles themselves. Edit decision list (EDL) files can also be imported from Trint transcripts with the Adobe plugin, so splicing together multiple clips of the key moments in a video happens in moments.
Why is transcription important?
Recording accurate transcriptions is an integral part of lots of industries. For media, it's important to record interviews accurately and clearly for reference and quotation; the same goes for law. And filmmakers rely on transcripts for accessibility purposes like captioning, subtitles and translations for foreign language releases.
Given how important it is to get transcriptions right across a variety of industries (even a careless typo could lead to a host of legal problems), it's vital to use the right tools to ensure accuracy. And building the best tools to tackle these common pain points is Trint’s bread and butter.
As we said before, there are a handful of ways to transcribe audio to text. But this process is fragmented, compromises data security, and is a slow and laborious process to say the least.
Combining manual and automated transcription: the ultimate solution for accuracy and speed
Machine learning has some time to go before we start seeing completely error-free transcription, but there are ways users can improve the accuracy of current automated transcription solutions. Plenty of factors can reduce the accuracy of machine-generated transcripts, like background noise and multiple speakers talking over each other. By minimizing these in an audio or video recording, users can greatly increase the accuracy of digital transcription. That’s why before a user transcribes an audio file, Trint displays a brief checklist of things to watch out for – it’s our way of working with you to get the best results possible.
As the number of people who use automated transcription continues to rise, speech-to-text algorithms continue to become more accurate. Machine learning allows computers to learn, fine-tuning their “ears” and transcribing more intelligently as they learn from their mistakes. Although automated transcription accuracy is not 100%, it is getting better every day - and so are Trint’s transcripts.
We’re confident Trint is both the world’s best automated transcription platform and the clear choice above human transcription services. Why not take us for a test drive? Sign up here.