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Human vs. Machine Transcription: Who Comes Out on Top?

Human vs Machine transcription

Confused over machine versus human transcription? Wondering which is better and why? This short guide might help with your decision.

  1. Speed: If speed is more important to you than accuracy, then automated transcription services are the way to go. There are many software tools that can convert speech into text in record time. A video that is approximately two hours long can take less than 30 minutes to transcribe. But, remember what you lose with this speed is accuracy.
  2. Audio Quality: Machine transcription converts spoken word into written word. It cannot isolate the actual speech which needs transcription from a noisy background. Multiple speakers, all of who may be enthusiastic to make their voice heard, will likely complicate the quality. To even consider using machine transcription for your needs, ensure that your audio has been recorded in a reasonably quiet environment and is free of static, cross-talk and that each speaker is using a microphone or at the very least, speaking very clearly.
  3. Punctuation & Grammar: Most machines do a good job on punctuations, but today’s technology still cannot beat the perfection from a human transcriber. For instance, the machine may interpret a pause to mean the end of a sentence when in essence, the speaker may have simply paused to find the most appropriate words.
  4. Accents: Different dialects have different accents. Software requires a significant amount of training on accents. The more the training, in all likelihood the better the transcript will be. If you have an accented audio, to consider machine-generated transcription, you should be fully aware of the software and the processes used for transcription. This includes how much quality control is used post machine-generated transcripts. Quality control is always done by humans so this added layer will likely add to the cost.

Machine-generated transcription has made progress in leaps and bounds. Yet, it has a long way to go when verbatim transcription is needed, when the audio quality of your project is compromised or when you have a large volume of work with customized requirements. We hope this blog has been helpful with your decision. Should you require transcription services, we hope you will consider us.

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