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How to Decide if You Need Human or Automated Transcription

Rev

Jun 4, 2021

How to Decide if You Need Human or Automated Transcription

RevBlogTranscriptionHow to Decide if You Need Human or Automated Transcription

It goes without saying that having accurate transcriptions is pretty important — but how accurate is accurate enough? Furthermore, how can you determine just how accurate the text transcriptions of your audio files or videos really are?

The industry gold standard is the appropriately-named transcription accuracy rate, which indicates the percentage of errors relative to the world count of a transcript. A rate of 99 percent accuracy, for instance, means there’s a 1 percent error rate within the text. In other words, within a thousand-word transcript, you could expect approximately ten errors. 

When it comes to selecting a service for producing transcriptions, there are essentially two types: a human transcription service and an automated transcription service. Which one you should choose is determined by your specific needs and circumstances.

Automated vs. Human Transcription

Automated Transcription

You’ve likely already encountered programs that utilize automated transcription technology. Apple’s Siri voice commands or YouTube’s automatic captions are just a couple of common examples. 

Automated transcription technology can be produced very quickly and can also be incredibly affordable, making it a good option if you’re on a tight budget or working on a short timeline. Although speech recognition programs are far more accurate now than they were when they were first developed, the software still has difficulty understanding slang and other nuances of spoken language. 

This means that as of today, transcripts produced by artificial intelligence will still invariably be less accurate than human transcription. Ultimately, there’s no absolutely correct choice when deciding whether to use human transcriptionists or an automatic transcription service—it’s more a matter of who your audience is, what your priorities are, and what your workflow looks like.

Most organizations will opt for an artificial intelligence solution if they need the transcript right away, if they’re working with a limited budget, or if they only require a rough draft of the text (e.g. if the transcript will be further reviewed and corrected by someone else within the organization). 

Automated transcription services are also a good option for when the audio is clear and without excessive background noises, and when there are only one or two speakers. Solutions involving speech recognition software are typically used by journalists, students, podcasters and other media professionals, and workers who want to record and transcribe meeting notes.

Rev offers the most accurate automatic transcription model in the world, beating Google, Amazon, and Microsoft and its word error rate is about 14%. That means you can expect about 86% of your transcription to be accurate, on average. If you need higher accuracy rates, you might want to go with human transcription.

Human Transcription

With professional human transcriptionists, you get far more accurate results than you would with an automated service. The reason? Humans simply have a greater capacity for understanding the nuances of speech than artificial intelligence (AI) does. 

For example, people can distinguish between homophones (did the speaker say “two,” “too,” or “to”?) and can also better understand language spoken over heavy background noises. The overall result of using manual transcription services is a better quality transcript.

A human transcription service is the go-to option when accuracy and clarity are paramount. People usually spring for professional human transcriptionists when they don’t have time to review or edit the text, when they need to publish the text immediately, or when they need to pull and attribute quotes from an interview. The types of organizations that often use human transcribers are law firms, market research companies, educational institutions, and video production companies.

Human transcription is also the better option when the audio files feature multiple speakers, if the speakers have heavy accents, or when there are a lot of background noises. As discussed earlier, humans are simply better than automated transcription software at parsing the nuances of spoken language. Consequently, the accuracy rates for human-produced transcripts are substantially higher.

Rev has a network of about 50,000 human transcriptionists and guarantees accuracy rates of 99% on your audio or video transcription files for human services.

Final Thoughts

Regardless of whether you want to go with a human transcription service or an automated transcription service, Rev has great options for both. For instance, the Rev.ai engine, which is used in all Rev.com and Rev.ai automatic transcription products, is the most accurate artificial intelligence speech recognition program available on the market today. Our analysis demonstrated that the Rev.ai engine outperformed similar solutions from Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. 

Rev also has the world’s largest network of professional human transcriptionists available 24/7 to handle any of your transcription needs. As soon as you submit your order, our experts get to work converting your video or audio files to text with at least 99% accuracy, 100 percent guaranteed. Our human transcription services are trusted by some of the top names in the media, education, legal, and marketing fields. 

Whatever your transcription needs are, Rev is able to provide unmatched quality and speed at a truly unbelievable cost. When organizations and individuals alike need the quickest, most reliable transcripts around, they count on us.