AI Transcription – Sent From Heaven Or A Tool From Hell?

In a world where new technological advances are happening every single day, it’s no surprise that every single industry in the world has had to change. And ours is no exception. Speech recognition technology has improved considerably in the last few years, and it’s now at a stage that many businesses are starting to use it for their transcription work. But what we want to ask you today is, is it time to embrace automated transcription, or is manual transcription still the best option for your business?

What is AI Transcription?

Transcription is the process of taking an audio or video file and converting it into the written word. AI transcription is doing the same thing, but rather than human beings listening and writing down what they hear, it’s done using voice and speech recognition technology. This software is trained with high-quality data, and when more data is entered, it gains more experience and builds a better algorithm.

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This is not necessarily a new thing. Some of the biggest software companies in the world have been working on voice-to-text software for years, with Google, Microsoft and IBM all battling for the top space in the market. But despite all of this work and years of investment, their AI transcription software has only been able to achieve 88% accuracy at best. Which brings us on to…

The Problem With AI Transcription

In theory AI transcription sounds like a great idea. It takes the onus away from people to listen to recordings and write it down, and in theory it should be quicker and more accurate too. But sadly, that’s not the case. In fact, here are just some of the downsides to AI automation:

  • AI doesn’t recognise language context, which means there will be a lot of basic errors in the text, and it likely won’t be fit for purpose.
  • It also struggles to detect if there are different speakers and when the speech switches between people, especially if it’s a fast-paced discussion with more than 2 people.
  • The software can easily mix up the names of people and places, making its reliability questionable.
  • Any words that aren’t in English can be difficult for the software to spell out correctly, so they are often incorrect. This can be as simple as a few wrong letters, to coming out completely garbled, meaning your transcription will be inaccurate.

So what do you get at the end? Yes, you get a transcript, but it will be one that’s rambling, nonsensical and riddled with errors that will need to be proofread before use. This reduces any time saving benefits you would get by outsourcing transcription, and makes more work for you.

Why We Prefer Humans

Yes, AI transcription services can be useful, and they do have their place, but for the most part, the best way to transcribe your audio and video files is still to have a human being involved. Manual transcription will convert your audio files into the most comprehensible and legible text format, ready to use right away. This provides you with high-quality transcriptions that are error-free, well formatted and compliant. A few of the other benefits of using human transcription services include:

  • Being able to ignore background noise and ensure it doesn’t make it into the final transcript.
  • Handling and understanding regional accents and dialect, or non-UK accents, without errors.
  • Being able to identify any number of different speakers in a recording.
  • We can adapt to different templates and follow any specific guidelines, so your transcripts are unique.
  • If you want a verbatim transcript, AI won’t be able to cope with it. Human transcribers can include laughter and other noises where AI can’t even recognise it.

In short, human transcribers can do a lot of things that AI software just isn’t sophisticated enough to handle yet. True, it is a more expensive option than using software, but the end result is a far better quality of transcription that you can be confident is correct and ready to use. At McGowan Transcriptions, we will always prefer using human transcribers over AI solutions, because while we’re a big fan of technology, this is one area computers just haven’t caught up with yet. We’ve been transcribing since 1993, so you can be sure we have the experience, expertise, and technology to provide you with the most accurate transcriptions possible for your business. If you would like to know more, please just get in touch with the team today.