Human and Machine Transcription – Pros and Cons

Human and Machine Transcription Pros and Cons

There are many different types of transcription services available. However, some guarantee you more accurate results than others. Audio and video files can be transcribed into text by both humans and machines, and both services have their own pros and cons that should be considered when you are looking into having anything transcribed.

Machine Transcription Service

Machine Transcription Service

A machine transcription service is a name given to a machine that uses software to transcribe both audio and video files into text. This process is a lot quicker and cheaper than using a human transcription service, but cutting the time and cost could also cut the level of accuracy you receive. Due to the automated service, it makes it the ideal service to use if you require large quantities of audio to be transcribed in bulk.

The software the machine is installed with removes any need for human training which is obviously required when employing human transcribers. This could also mean the level of accuracy is not as high as opposed to using a fully trained human transcriber. It might be a good idea to bear in mind that if you decide to use a machine transcription service you might have to check the end result, using up your own time despite the decision to use a machine service to make the business process quicker.

Cons of Machine Transcription Services

Cons of Machine Transcription

There are a number of factors that can affect the level of accuracy you get with a machine transcription service. If the quality of the audio or video file you are wanting to be transcribed is low the machine might face issues with transcribing it. Humans have the ability to work with lower quality audios, and can also go back and listen multiple times to assure they have transcribed the speech correctly.

Background noise is one factor that can cause issues with machine transcription services. This is due to the fact that the software is unable to separate the speech it is transcribing from the background noise. This causes the machine to transcribe the background noise as well. Human transcription services would not face this issue as they are able to separate the background noise from the people talking.

Machine transcription services also face issues when it comes to homonyms. A homonym is a word that is spoken the same way but is spelled differently and is used in a different context. For example, write and right are said the same way but have two different meanings. A machine transcription service may not pick this up whereas humans have been trained to know to look out for these. Accents are another thing that machine transcription services often struggle with. Unless they are specifically programmed to understand accents if someone pronounces a word slightly differently the machine transcriber may spell that word incorrectly.

In some cases, people want conversations between individuals transcribed. Machines can often struggle with noticing a change in the voice resulting in the transcribed text being laid out as if there was only one person talking, not as a conversation. Lastly, Machine transcription services transcribe everything they hear within the audio, this means that coughs, repeated words, stutters, and words such as ‘umm’ may be included in the transcribed text, whereas a human would pick up on these and not include them.

Pros Of Human Transcription Services

Pros of Human Transcription

There are numerous reasons why a human transcription service is going to give you a more accurate result than a machine. The first being most humans go through training to be hired by a transcription company, this results in a guarantee that your audio file is going to be transcribed grammatically correct and completely accurate. Humans also have the ability to be able to pick up on slang which machines are not familiar with.

Humans also are able to put in punctuation as and when it is needed, whereas a machine transcription service might not pick up on all cases where punctuation is required. For example, commas might not be placed for appropriate pauses causing the text to read incorrectly. This is also where the fact that humans have emotional intelligence can come in handy.

Cons Of Human Transcription Services

The main cons of using a human transcription service are the time and the money it takes to get your audio or video file transcribed. Whereas a machine can listen to the speech once and transcribe it the first time around, a human will most likely have to listen to it more than once to give you a more accurate result. This obviously results in more time being spent, meaning these companies are able to charge you more for the service.

As well as the time it takes for humans to be able to transcribe the file, it also requires time before this to train them to do the job to the highest standard. This stage is skipped in machine transcription due to the fact the software the machines have is already programmed to be able to do this.

To Summarise

Receiving the most accurate result is really important for industries such as legal, medical, and everyday business service, for this a human transcriber is going to be the best and safest option for you. It is still recommended to research these human transcription companies as some use offshore services which can cause privacy and accuracy issues. However, if they are solely based in the UK there is no reason as to why you should not get the most accurate results.