Top Four Transcription Myths

July 25, 2014 Samantha

There are many myths and legends in history; stories of heroes and heroines, dragon slayers and magical beings. For those of you that thought that transcription was dull – think again, here’s our very own top four transcription myths!

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Transcription is not a myth! I’ve seen it!

Bad Audio Recordings Can Transformed in to Good Audio Recordings

Unfortunately, in the world of transcription, there is no magic that can transform a bad audio recording into a good one (honestly, I’ve tried looking). While sound files can be cleaned up, generally speaking the results are minimal. So recording a high quality interview is very important if you want a high quality final transcript. Badly recorded sound files are costly because first the sound has to be cleaned, then the typist has to spend extra time re-listening to the audio and finally the proofreader will have to go through the whole thing.

Conversations can be Typed in Real Time

The average conversation is 3-6 time faster than a professional transcriptionist can type. In other words, it takes between 3-6 hours to transcribe one hours worth of audio. At present, the only options for a real time transcription are court reporting, stenography and speech recognition. Court reporting and stenography is more expensive than general transcription and speech recognition can result in frequent (and sometimes embarrassing errors).

Speech Recognition Software is as accurate as a Human Transcriptionist

Speech recognition at this time is still a long way off replacing human transcription and this is mainly because it is unable to understand the context of what is being said. Although speech recognition often boasts an accuracy rating of up to 99%, this is based on a clear single speaker dictation, hours of training, and a small vocabulary. In real terms an accuracy rate of 99% is not very high when you consider that is at best the error rate is one word wrong out of every 100 words (meaning shortish transcript of say 12,000 words would contain at very least 120 errors). Also because the errors are not in context, they can at worst change the whole meaning of the transcript and at best – be hilariously funny (as in these BBC Subtitles).

Transcription is Easy

Most people have used a keyboard to type a letter or write and email and found it easy enough. However, being a good transcriptionist is so much more than being able to type. First off, you must be a good listener, able to make sense of complex conversations, capable of distinguishing between several speakers on a multiple speaker audio, a brilliant researcher, an excellent proofreader and have impeccable grammar and punctuation. These are all specific skills that need to be learned and cultivated over time if you want to be a good transcriptionist.

Okay, so our transcription myths aren’t much like the stories of old; but the BBC subtitle link was funny!

If you are interested in our transcription services, translation services, court reporting or video transcription, why not get in touch? We are available seven days a week and are always happy to help – especially during the summer holidays.

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Samantha

Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant.

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