Forensic Transcription

IT’S HIDDEN IN THE DETAILS

Forensic transcription doesn’t refer to scientific work in a crime lab, but instead describes our analytical, detail-oriented approach to each client’s project. It is our approach, and our clients’ understanding, that we will pay attention to the minutiae of each and every project we receive: audio, video, handwritten, or any other type of content that we’re given by every client. 

At the Audio Transcription Center, we’ve spent the better part of our 56 years in business investigating changing technologies to always improve upon how best to transcribe our clients’ recordings and materials. But our methods have always stuck true to our beginnings: harnessing the power of human ingenuity and critical thinking first and foremost. 

It is through this forensic approach by our all-human team that we’re able to understand that each project has its own set of exciting challenges, and requires a level of attention to detail that artificial intelligence and other services just don’t provide. 

At the Audio Transcription Center, nothing about our intelligence is artificial.

Accents, Artificial Intelligence and Humans.

Accents. There are an estimated 30 accents that span the landscape of the United States. Tell me, if we as humans have a hard enough time parsing out the dropped “Rs” in words from a Bostonian (please note we’re a bunch of Bostonians here at ATC), how is Artificial Intelligence (AI) ready and able to do so? It isn’t!

There’s a reason we continue to be used as a human test-case against AI.

Is the adaptability of artificial intelligence’s deep learning modules able to discern all of these accents, colloquialisms, and dialects the same as the adaptability of a human team of transcriptionists? We think not. Who better to transcribe that Bostonian than fellow Bostonians? Who better to comprehend the words and colloquialisms from recordings of oral histories from folks in New Orleans (for instance) than people from New Orleans? We’ve been custom-matching client content to every human transcriptionist for 55 years, and we’ll keep doing so. We guarantee it!

Lastly, I know when I talk to the AI of my phone asking it one question or another, inevitably, it gets something wrong every time. And mind you, I’m somehow one of those Bostonians who no one ever believes is actually a Bostonian. Yet, it still has a hard time understanding me. Go figure.

At the Audio Transcription Center, nothing about our intelligence is artificial!

Client Spotlight – July 2020

Since our founding in 1966, oral history interviews and archival recordings have been a main focus of our transcription service. Each time we partner with an organization it is always amazing to learn the ins and outs of each project. It is with great pleasure that we share these two fascinating projects that we proudly transcribed.

Lynda Kachurek, Head of Rare Books & Special Collections at the Boatwright Memorial Library at the University of Richmond shared these comments with us about two of her projects.

This two-part oral history with Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker and his wife, Theresa Ann Edwards Walker, was conducted by the University of Richmond in 2016 and is believed to be the last interview Dr. Walker recorded before his passing in 2018. The excellent transcription completed by the Audio Transcription Center assists with accessibility online, as well as allowing greater subject analysis and research access for the material.

The Birmingham Tapes are a set of 10 mass meetings that span the duration of Project C, the SCLC’s (Southern Christian Leadership Conference) work during the 1963 Birmingham Campaign. They are believed to be the only publicly available recordings of these meetings, presenting a significant and unique perspective on the detailed planning and management of the Birmingham Campaign. The transcriptions done by the Audio Transcription Center not only assist with accessibility but they allow for a deeper research potential, greater subject analysis, and wider availability to these materials.