With speech-to-text transcription, what are you really saving?
[Patrick Emond contributed to this post]
Last week, IBM trumpeted their latest achievement in automated speech-to-text: a record-low error rate of 5.5 percent. But always, especially with regard to saving money on transcription, you have to read the fine print.
Tamar Carroll researches the questions of what motivates community activists to do what they do…
What comes to mind when you picture a transcription service? Since 1966, ATC has adjusted with the times by continuously learning from our experiences. We always hire the best and most diverse team of transcription know-it-alls!
No voice recognition software here, just awesome people!
Oy, the paperwork, the legalese, the “CYA” that’s now REQUIRED when running a transcription service…or any type of service, it seems. It’s truly never-ending, and we spend hours upon hours reviewing agreements of all kinds with major institutions while they perform risk assessments of ATC’s downtown Boston office space. Our founder, owner, and president Sandy’s favorite is showing off his circa 1940s Brownie box camera that sits perched on a high shelf in his office impersonating part of our state-of-the-art video security system. He was thrilled the day one of the younger risk assessment people actually thought it WAS part of the security system. What’s the reason for all of this, you may ask? It’s the “confidentiality conundrum” that truly isn’t a conundrum…a confidentiality agreement is a no-brainer. So…does a confidentiality agreement automatically guarantee confidentiality?
Thanksgiving is around the proverbial corner, and this holiday is typically a wonderful opportunity for friends and families to reconnect. People being together offers a perfect time for stories to be passed around the holiday table along with helpings of stuffing and mashed potatoes. The potential for these stories to be handed and passed from generation to generation is at a peak while everyone is together. What better way to collect, share, and save these stories from potentially being forgotten than by recording, archiving, and transcribing them for posterity?
We believe that StoryCorps’s The National Day of Listening is the perfect excuse to talk, listen, record, and transcribe.
We live in a special time when we’re not just able to orally pass stories down the line, but we’re also able ensure their archival longevity through the recording and transcribing of these personal and oral histories.
Take the time to find a quiet space, and set up your digital recorder. Test the device to make sure you are recording properly. Then, hit the record button and listen to and record the story. It’s that simple, and it will be a gift to read and listen to for generations. This year, StoryCorps suggests honoring a veteran, and offers suggested conversation starters right on their website.
Don’t lose out on your family history and question yourself after it is too late. We speak from our own missed opportunities.
Wishing you a peaceful Thanksgiving, and the opportunity to listen to, record and transcribe a new story never heard before.
In full disclosure, the Audio Transcription Center has partnered with StoryCorps on transcription of their audio recordings for their published books, Listening is an Act of Love, All There Is, and Mom , that we are humbled and proud to have participated in.
What do you do with people who have a keen sense of hearing, ridiculously fast fingers, one hell of an accurate mind, but prefer not to interact with the public?
What do you do with people who prefer to interact with words and ideas instead?
What do you do with people who prefer a job that offers near instant gratification?
What do you do with people who prefer producing high quality transcripts out of a poor audio recording?
What do you do with people who prefer leaving their work at the office?
What do you do with people who get their jollies by beating unrealistic deadlines?
Since 1966 we’ve found a home for these anomalies of the working world, and we’ve been able to build our highly educatedand culturally diverse team of transcriptionistsfrom this truly amazing group of oddballs.
Give the Audio Transcription Center a try, and see the difference it makes in the accuracy of your transcripts and the speed of your work flow. (As well as helping to bring down the unemployment rate…)
Beating unreasonable deadlines since 1966!
Never a charge for RUSH service!
As the Director of the Audio Transcription Center, I am routinely in meetings with Sandy Poritzky, the owner who started this firm in 1966. Over the course of my 5 years with the firm, I have listened numerous times to Sandy’s arguments for time-coding transcripts and had many an argument about the topic.
“Michael, my boy,” he’ll say, “why don’t we have time-coding as a standard for all client transcripts?” “Sandy, the challenge with time-coding is that there is no standard,” I’ll tell him, and then we’ll get into a debate for the next 35 minutes about time-coding.
In the ensuing battles in his office, Sandy, in his inimitable fashion argued that we need to come up with a standard for time-coding that would be included in all client transcripts. On the counterpoint, in my inimitable fashion, I argued that every client’s needs are so different that there can not be any standard inclusion of time-coding in transcripts.
To be fair, Sandy’s belief is that time-coding should be a standard offering in transcripts, and he understands that every client has very different needs in how time-coding should be included and used in transcription.
Five years later, the battles still linger on, but we now have a conversation with clients about their specific transcription requirements and how time-coding can be a major time-saver in reviewing and editing your transcripts in the long run.
Quite basically, time-coding is beneficial for clients on a few different levels. One way is for clients to be able to sync up their transcripts with their audio/video files, so that visitors to an online oral history project may synchronously watch the video recording and read the transcript.
For instance, have a look at the website of the Kentuckiana Digital Library, which offers their video footage with a synced transcript. As Doug Boyd, Director of the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History at the University of Kentucky Libraries writes in his article, “Achieving the Promise of Oral History in a Digital Age”, published in Donald Ritchie’s The Oxford Handbook of Oral History [Oxford University Press, 2011], “By embedding time-code into the transcript, we enabled time correlation between the transcript and the audio or video, yielding an integrated final product where the components work together…Additionally, we created a customized software solution to more easily (albeit still manually) embed time-code markers into the transcript. The decision was made to embed these markers at one-minute intervals throughout the transcript. The five-minute interval proved to be, still, too much text to scan while trying to determine the specific location of the information being sought in the audio file.”
We also work with numerous production companies that are sending in their video footage prior to editing. These clients actually have us time-coding their transcripts at even shorter intervals, so they can easily and efficiently edit sound bites by reviewing their newly time-coded transcripts.
Additionally, if a client sends in an audio file with with poor quality audio, and we are unable to transcribe a word that is said, we’ll put (inaudible) in place of the unknown word. Time-coding these portions becomes an added feature to help a client easily locate the “inaudible” content in their audio, and review to see if they are able to replace the “inaudible” content with the word that was said.
So in the end, there is no standard need for our clients in how time-codes should be inserted in transcripts, but there certainly is reason to find the time-code formatting that will make reviewing, editing, reading, and watching your content that much simpler.