Tag: Human Transcription
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.
Continue reading “Computer transcription misleads even as it impresses”
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?
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!
Nobody likes being replaced by a computer, or a robot, and we are no exception. Our short answer to that question is this: “we are more accurate and more versatile than the software available today.”
Still don’t believe us? Well, we’re going to introduce you to our competition.
Speech recognition has been around since 1952: that early device could recognize single spoken digits. (We, on the other hand, have been around since 1966, and were able to recognize whole spoken sentences immediately.)
The next large leap forward came in 1982: Dragon Software, who still release speech recognition software today, released software for industrial use. By 1985, that software had a vocabulary of 1,000 words – spoken one at a time. (That is comparable to a four-year-old child. We don’t recommend having a four-year-old, even a precocious one, transcribe your audio.)
Dragon itself even admits this today: “Most of us develop the ability to recognize speech when we’re very young. We’re already experts at speech recognition by the age of three or so.” Our college-educated transcriptionists had vocabularies in the 17,000-word (and up) range. Even in 1985. And they still do.
By 1993, a computer could recognize over 20,000 spoken words, which put it on a par with human beings. Except for the accuracy, which was only 10% in 1993. By 1995, the error rate had dropped to 50%, which is quite a leap in a short time. (Our transcriptionists test at 98% accuracy.)
We know, we know…
“That was back then. How about now?”
We’re glad you asked.
There are a lot of data points up there, so let me highlight the important features:
- Take a look at the error rates (WER means Word Error Rate) for Conversational Speech (in red) and Meeting Speech (in pink). They aren’t even close to what human beings can deliver.
- That 2% to 4% range is human error. As in, the accuracy rate you would get from our human beings. And we aim for even lower than that.
- The only tests that match up with human accuracy are air travel planning kiosk tests (bright green). Also known as “People Who Speak Very Deliberately and Slowly in Airports.”
- Very few people speak deliberately and slowly in real life.
- The error rate for broadcast news readers (blue), ie: people who are very well-paid to speak clearly, is around 10%.
A 98% accuracy rate means you will spend much less time reviewing your audio, correcting errors and inaccuracies, and much more time growing your business.
The bottom line is this: computers are getting smaller, and more powerful, all the time. They can do many things better than human beings can.
But not, as you can see, transcription. And looking at the graph, they won’t catch up anytime soon.
Your audio wasn’t recorded in a lab, it was recorded in the real world, where we live. We transcribe conversations and meetings every day, from all over the world. Not to mention webcasts, dictation, presentations, and conferences.
Again, Dragon says it themselves: “People can filter out noise fairly easily, which lets us talk to each other almost anywhere. We have conversations in busy train stations, across the dance floor, and in crowded restaurants. It would be very dull if we had to sit in a quiet room every time we wanted to talk to each other! Unlike people, computers need help separating speech sounds from other sounds.”
We like computers, and we think we can co-exist. So, by all means, speak your destination into your cell phone’s GPS, or say “tech support” to speak to technical support. Those are two versions of speech-recognition software that many of us use almost every day.
But if your audio is any more complicated than that, call us. We’re versatile, we’re accurate, and if you pour us enough coffee, we won’t crash.
We have run full tests on the entire Dragon experience, from opening the box all the way to the proof of the pudding, which is in the crust… er, the transcript. We will publish those results on or before February 17, so keep an eye on your inbox and this blog for the results!
But it’s not just the difference in technology that separates the Audio Transcription Center from the transcription services of yore (mother’s days). It’s our attitude towards the business and our firm belief that we are only as good as the people we employ.
We strive to be more than just an office where an army of anonymous typists sit and click out transcripts day after day in stuffy cubicles.
Sure, we have a large staff (100 plus!) who all can type a minimum of 75 WPM, and who seem to work tirelessly at our 15 workstations, 24/7/365. And, okay, there might be some cubicle-esque work areas here… but that’s where the similarities end.
A PLACE FOR BRAINIACS
But what we continually take pride in is that all of our staff members have so much more to offer than just speed, accuracy, and efficiency. They’re brainiacs, to be honest. At any given time, we employ some of the best and brightest transcriptionists with degrees ranging from BAs, to JD, to PhDs. To use a classic Sandy-ism, “Since when do Boston’s PhDs have to give up eating?”
Not only do our transcriptionists come to us well-educated (and usually hungry), they also come from a myriad of social and ethnic backgrounds with knowledge sets ranging from science and tech, to popular culture, to art history, to finance, to law, and more.
Working with this large and diverse pool of knowledge and talent allows us to custom match transcription projects to just the right person (or people) for the job.
Add that all together with our ability to handle pretty much any audio file, our streamlined work flow and digital workstations, and that’s what gives us the confidence to offer:
- Incredibly fast (like blazing) project turnaround
- 100% Quality Guarantee (or your money back)
- Rush service at no extra charge (ever!)
WHAT ARE YOU, LIKE SUPERHEROES OR SOMETHING?
Well, when it comes to transcription at least. And we certainly think we’d all look pretty sharp in capes…