Human Transcription vs Automatic Transcription: Which is better?Aug 30, 2022, Sukanya Pant
Transcription or transcribing is the process of converting an audio or visual file into a written document. It requires a thorough understanding of the linguistic, contextual and emotional overtones of the audio or visual file, which is key to providing a correct transcription. Proper transcription also depends on multiple factors, including but not limited to background noise, overlapping speech, improper pronunciation, dialects, accents, improper equipment etc.
The process also involves different types of transcription.
- Verbatim Transcription provides a word-for-word transcription of the preferred file and is an exact replica including laughs, pauses, exclamations and expressions.
- Non-Verbatim transcription allows omitting unnecessary details and allows the transcriber freedom as long as the integrity of the message is protected.
As the name suggests, is done by real human beings, who listen to an audio or video and convert it into text format using their own knowledge and skill. Human transcribers put in personal time and effort in a bid to provide authentic and genuine transcription services.
- Accuracy and understanding of jargon, dialects and heavily accented speech is something that human transcribers would not struggle through as opposed to automated ones. They can also decipher background noise and distinguish among emotions and tone portrayed.
- Human transcribers also differentiate between multiple speakers and produce an accurate distinction. They can also decipher background noise and distinguish among emotions and tone portrayed.
- Human transcription done diligently provides an almost error-free transcription process, thus cutting down on the effort required to proofread and edit at a later stage.
However, human transcription has its fair share of disadvantages as well.
- Since it requires time and intensive effort, human transcribers require adequate compensation. Human transcribers are a more expensive prospect.
- Human transcription is also more time-consuming since, unlike machines, human beings require proper rest and recuperation.
Automatic or Machine Transcription
Machine Transcription is done solely by automatic services. They use machines to feed in an audio file and provide an almost instant transcription through computer software.
- Low time and fast results are the biggest advantages of machine transcription, and it takes way less time than transcription done by humans.
- Because of the limited effort required, it is also a much more affordable option for transcription services.
Automatic transcription also has considerable demerits, however.
- The use of technology makes for a sometimes-inaccurate depiction of the audio. Computer technology limits its ability to accurately assess the document for human behaviours.
- If you want a rough draft or only specific quotes, automatic transcription can prove to be very useful. It allows you to get a basic outline of the transcribed text, and you can personalise and edit it yourself at a later time.
Human transcription is generally opted for by those who require a finished transcription. This means they do not have the time to re-edit a document. Human transcribers are opted for when one needs correct, efficient transcription, which they will not have to review again. This form of transcription is also opted for when the audio features multiple speakers since human transcribers can distinguish between them.
Law firms, video production companies, market research companies, and educational institutes are some industries that choose human transcription. Automatic transcription is preferred when time is of the essence.
Since automatic transcription does not require a long time to complete, they are opted for by those who want either a small portion of the transcript or require a rough draft that they wish to change themselves. These could include students, podcasters or journalists and other media professionals etc.
Both human and automatic transcriptions have their lists of pros and cons. Thus, the question changes from “which is better”, to “which is more suited to your needs?” Human transcription has a specific function and also has a few drawbacks, and so is the case with machine transcription. Depending on the overall accuracy of the transcription service you want, an informed choice should be made considering every aspect. The user should recognize their needs, and after due diligence, choose a transcription service that provides a better outcome for them. Both human and automatic transcription are efficient ways of transcribing content and save you precious time and unnecessary effort.
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