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Last updated: November 18, 2022

The evolution of speech to text technology has been fascinating. From struggling to understand even the most basic utterances to being highly competent voice-powered assistants on our phones, speech to text has become a staple in daily life. In fact, speech to text services have become popular with content creators, researchers, and other people needing transcripts for their projects.

If you’ve been thinking about using speech to text services, here are some tips you need to hear to make the most out of this technology.

What is a speech to text service?

A speech to text service is an automated service that converts any uploaded audio files into text form. Using artificial intelligence and training data, speech to text technology skims through the audio and attempts to transcribe what is said into a streamlined format. The resulting product is a transcript that includes features such as speaker identification and timestamps for better context.

It’s also known as an automated transcription service and tends to be an alternative option to human transcription services. The main differences between the two services are:

  • Turnaround time – Automated transcription services can generate transcripts faster, while human transcription services can finish a transcript within 4 hours.
  • Accuracy – Human transcription services usually have the edge in accuracy, as current speech to text technology is still limited when it comes to complex audio.
  • Flexibility – A speech to text service delivers full verbatim transcriptions, while human transcription services provide you with options such as full verbatim, smart verbatim, or non-verbatim transcriptions.

To better understand the difference, consider trying a human transcription service like TranscriptionWing.

Tips On How to Make the Most Out of a Speech to Text Service

With how fast speech to text technology produces transcripts, it’s easy to see it as a “drag-and-drop-and-forget” tool. In reality, there are ways to realize the maximum potential of speech to text for your research or personal project.

Here are some tips to make the most out of speech to text services:

Utilize format specifications

Many services are capable of offering flexibility in the formatting of the resulting transcripts. For instance, you can modify the following:

  • Speaker labeling – Enable, disable, or modify identification for some speakers for privacy purposes
  • Timestamps – Specify the timestamp format to include milliseconds or be limited only to minutes and seconds
  • Indentation – Choose between an indented or paragraph format for the transcript lines

Make sure to review the offerings of each service so you can plan accordingly.

Use clear audio recordings

As much as speech to text technology has evolved, it still falls short when faced with:

  • Unclear audio
  • Complex audio
  • Thick accents

No matter what service you use, you should always send the highest possible quality audio recordings for best results.

Utilize human editors

Sometimes, you’ll have audio recordings that current speech to text technology can never fully and accurately transcribe. If you’re in this situation, there’s still hope: some speech to text services offer proofing done by human editors.

Proofing services may come with a small fee, but if accuracy is an important factor for you, it’s a price worth paying.

Use a speech to text service as a last resort

While speech to text technology has advanced to the point of being identical in quality to human transcriptions, it’s usually best to keep it as a last resort. For instance, you may have an urgent need to caption your videos right away using a transcript.

In such scenarios, speech to text may be a lifesaver thanks to their ability to do rush transcriptions on the fly. However, you’ll sacrifice some degree of quality due to the limitations of the technology. With that said, some human transcription services offer rush turnaround for as short as 4 hours for any urgently needed transcripts.

Alternative: Use a human transcription service

Speech to text technology will continue to develop over time, but for now, the technology has yet to achieve the same adaptability as the human ear. If you’ve already decided on using a speech to text service for your transcripts, that’s great! However, keep in mind that accuracy and flexibility are still distinctive advantages of human transcription. Professional transcribers can listen to your specifications and deliver transcripts in a highly-tailored format for your needs.

Try it: transcription services like TranscriptionWing can do transcriptions for various industries, meeting minutes, and even translations of transcripts.