Human Transcription vs. Machine: Which Do You Rely on for Transcription?

August 16, 2021
• Last Update:
July 16, 2022
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Human Transcription vs. Machine: Which Do You Rely on for Transcription?

In your search for getting high-quality transcriptions, you’ve probably become torn between human transcription services and transcription software. Which one is better? The truth is, it’s not a clear-cut answer. Human transcriptionists have the edge in many ways, just as transcription software has some interesting benefits. It all boils down to your needs. 

The best way to know what you need is by answering questions to get a clear picture. Here are some questions to help you decide whether to go with human or software transcription.

1. What kind of transcription do you need?

Using automated transcription software is fairly simple: upload the file, and you’ll get a verbatim transcription.

Human transcriptionist services can transcribe verbatim as well, but they can also make transcriptions with accurate timestamps, exclude filler words, false starts, and other forms of unnecessary speech.

Transcription software is great if you’re only looking for a straightforward verbatim transcription. On the other hand, human transcriptionists can give you a transcript that contains only what you need.

2. How accurate do you want the transcription to be?

Transcription software can easily transcribe clear speech in an audio file. It can do a great job if there’s a single speaker, but artificial intelligence usually struggles figuring out who said what in audio with two or more speakers. Other challenges include:

  • Heavy accents
  • Crosstalk
  • Background noises
  • Unintelligible speech

Human transcriptionists are trained to deal with those challenges in audio and videos. They can work through unclear speech and try to find the most accurate words to match what each speaker said. Multiple speakers are also not a problem for them; they can easily make out every voice and associate it with the right utterances.

If you don’t mind having inaccuracies in your transcript, machine generated transcriptions should be enough for your needs. Otherwise, human transcriptionists are the supreme choice for accurate transcriptions. This is especially when you need to gather vital information for research. 

3. When do you need the complete transcript?

Full transcripts come in a snap with speech-to-text software. The downside is that the resulting transcript can contain errors.

Human transcriptionists are fast, but they also take their time with transcripts. Accuracy is also one of their main objectives, and they’ll make sure to deliver an error-free transcript as soon as possible.

In the end, it depends on when you need the full transcript. If you’re really short on time and need a transcript right away, use an automated transcription solution. Just remember that machine transcripts usually have errors. 

But if there’s no rush, human transcriptionists are the way to go. The wait will be worth it because you’ll have a transcript that’s accurate to the letter. In fact, you can avail rush human transcription services like TranscriptionWing which can fully transcribe your audio in as little as 4 hours.

4. Do you have any specifications for your transcription?

Transcription software usually has a fixed format for transcripts, which may be different for every program. You have to edit the resulting transcript yourself if you want to see your specifications on your transcription.

Human transcriptionists can implement your specifications right away as they transcribe your audio. This includes unique formatting, special templates, and labelling speakers. More experienced transcriptionists can even give you language options for the same transcription. Just say the word and they’ll be glad to work with your specifications.

You may prefer automated transcription services if you just need a transcript without any specifications. But if you do have specifics for your transcript, you’re much better off with human transcriptionists. Not only are they highly flexible to your needs; they can communicate with you to know exactly what you need for your transcriptions.

Whatever you choose, transcriptions are very helpful especially when you’re a researcher, content creator, or podcaster. If you decide to get human transcripts, be sure to use a reliable transcription service provider for best results.

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