Should I Choose Automated Transcription or Human Transcription?

November 1, 2021

Should I Choose Automated Transcription or Human Transcription?

While not always a requirement, transcriptions can be very helpful. It aids researchers, students, professionals, and practically everyone for their projects, dissertations, and studies. Several companies slowly started offering transcription work over decades, leading to the rise of the popularity of transcription services.

Transcribing is more than just hearing and typing what speakers say. Turning audio - especially a difficult recording - into a legible document can be a tedious process. Usually, the success of the business comes from what their clients have to say. If they're pleased, a company can always expect a return customer. Otherwise, there are plenty of ways to win them back.

Accuracy, turnaround, and pricing are the key factors to why clients continue to trust a transcription company. The transcribers working behind the scenes make or break the success of the business. Some rely on manual, human effort, while some companies offer automated transcription software, where the machine does the work through voice-to-text technology.

This begs the question: should you choose automated transcription or human transcription?

Let’s have an in-depth look into the pros and cons of each.

Turnaround and Cost

On-time delivery always leaves a positive impression. It’s undoubtedly important to consider whether a transcription company can deliver within your desired deadline. It also indicates their punctuality, reliability, and most importantly, bang for your buck. Timeliness to deadlines gives you full confidence that the transcription company can meet your demands and the demands of your work where you can put transcriptions into good use.Transcript turnaround and cost go hand-in-hand. The cost to request an accurate transcript can depend on the capabilities of a transcription service, including their processing time. For rapid turnarounds, transcripts will be more expensive than if they're due at a later time. This scheme goes for both automated and traditional transcribing.

Since automated transcripts are machine-generated, they are quicker to accommodate rush requests. Typically, transcription software can deliver in an hour or maybe even less for short files. This puts automated transcription services at a huge advantage. In contrast, human transcription can take one, two, or even five days to transcribe an audio recording.

On the other hand, transcription companies pay each transcriptionist for every work they do. Part of the profit that they receive from their clients go to the transcriptionist. This makes their service a bit pricey. Besides that, the rate of each transcriptionist depends on their skills, experience, and the number of minutes or files that they can accommodate. Thus, the human transcriptionist route is much more suitable who have the luxury of time and prefer to have a transcript with high accuracy.


Ever since the commercialization of speech-to-text, automated transcription services try time and again to vastly improve the accuracy of machine-generated transcripts. However, it’s still a pretty challenging feat to get a very accurate transcript from automated options without utilizing human editors to clean up voice-to-text transcripts.

Difficult recordings that have muffled audio, multiple cross talks, and other unwanted audio issues can lessen the quality of the transcript. As a result, this can lead to client dissatisfaction especially if the documents are important. People who choose automated transcription must be prepared to gamble transcript quality over turnaround and pricing.

In comparison, human transcription has more flexibility in terms of research and contextual understanding of the subject in the recording. This is why most people say that automated transcription still requires the human touch. Human transcriptionists and proofreaders certainly put the quality of the finished product as great to almost perfect. Human transcripts are likely to be put through a series of proofing stages to make sure that the document is error-free.

The Verdict: Human or Automated?

Human and automated transcriptions both have their pros and cons. It’s just a matter of deciding which factors are a worthy trade-off. Is it turnaround? Accuracy? Cost? While most transcription services say that they highly value all of these, it is still necessary to evaluate whether or not they can fulfill your long-term needs and if they’re truly bang for your buck.

For best results, consider using TranscriptionWing to get professional transcripts from expert human transcribers.

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