Transcribing Services Demystified: Key Considerations when Choosing a Solution

Kat Hounsell

Red cross

Transcribing content by converting spoken words into written text continues to be a vital process in the modern world. According to almost half of business users, accuracy is the top factor when choosing a speech-to-text service. The emphasis on accuracy should come as no surprise, as the goal of transcription is to preserve and share the intended message. Whether for business meetings, academic research or personal needs, professional services like Verbit Go’s, offer cost-effective and efficient ways to turn a host of audio and video content into text.

Partnering with the right transcribing service streamlines the process, unlocking the benefits that high-quality transcripts deliver. Understanding the different options for transcribing content, how they work, and key benefits and limitations can guide you to the best solution for your needs.

An overview of transcribing services

Old typewriter

The art of transcribing has deep-seated roots. In fact, the earliest form of transcribing dates back to ancient Egypt in 3400 BCE when scribes wrote the words of kings and leaders using stone tablets and brushes. Transcribing evolved to pen and paper, then progressed to the manual typewriter and has since developed into sophisticated software solutions. Throughout history, technological advancements introduced new transcription methods.聽

Although transcribing could be considered an ancient skill, in the modern workplace, where audio and video content has grown exponentially, the relevance of transcribing remains strong, and demand continues to increase.

Turning spoken content into text facilitates easier analysis, storage, collaboration and sharing than video and audio files. Therefore, transcribing services support diverse industries, helping professionals work more efficiently, including through medical dictations, legal proceedings, media productions and more.

Common applications for transcribing services

  • Meeting transcription
  • Interview transcription
  • Webinar transcription
  • Call transcription
  • Podcast transcription
  • Seminar or lecture transcription
  • eLearning transcription
  • Dictation

Despite the available types of modern transcription, it is not uncommon to find people taking manual notes in meetings. In fact, many business leaders use in-house resources to transcribe content. On the surface, a manual approach to taking notes can feel cost-effective and easy to implement. However, accurately transcribing content is only possible with training and the skill to write or type quickly. Turning to professional transcription services is usually the most efficient approach.

With so many solutions for transcribing content, it can be challenging to determine the best option. Nevertheless, despite the evolution of transcription methods, the fundamental elements of a ‘good’ transcript have stood the test of time. Namely, accuracy remains the critical factor in determining transcript quality.

The importance of transcribing content accurately

Correcting mistakes with a red pen

When selecting a transcription solution, pay attention to the significance of accuracy. Transcribing errors can have serious consequences, particularly in professional settings. Mistakes can make a transcript challenging to read, confuse your audience or lead to miscommunication. These types of errors can be embarrassing and look unprofessional. In some cases, errors may also fall on the wrong side of regulations and laws. For instance, transcripts need to be at least 99% accurate to meet accessibility requirements for individuals who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Accurate transcribing also captures the original intent and meaning of the spoken word. Variations can exist regarding the level of detail, but all transcripts should preserve the fundamental meaning. For example, Verbit Go offers an Intelligent Verbatim service popular among market research professionals as it summarizes the moderator’s or interviewer’s questions but captures the respondent’s input word for word. The resulting transcript is easy to review but maintains all the essential information.

The trade-off between accuracy, speed and cost often arises when choosing the best service to fulfil transcribing requirements. Although speed is another consideration, any initial time savings will be lost if your transcript contains significant errors that you must later correct. With low-cost services, you may need to use valuable resources to edit the mistakes or end up with a transcript you can’t use. Understanding the available options, the pros and cons and their reliability can help ensure that the transcribing service you select suits your needs.

Automated Transcribing Software

User frustrated by errors

Automated services, also called automatic speech recognition (ASR), use technology to deliver quick turnaround times and scalable solutions. Transcribing software uses artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to convert audio into text automatically.聽

Market leaders using AI for speech recognition, such as Google’s Cloud Speech-to-Text and IBM Watson, are powering some automated services. In addition, some premium services invest in producing advanced algorithms and bespoke dictionaries to improve accuracy when working with industry-specific languages, such as in legal or healthcare settings. It’s essential to identify the features that are important to you so you don’t pay for functionality you won’t use. For example, some brands offer integrations with popular platforms such as Zoom and YouTube, which you may not need.聽

You should also consider the pricing models available. A subscription service could be a good option if you have regular volumes of content to transcribe. However, a pay-as-you-go plan may be better if you’re unsure how often you’ll use the service.

Using automated methods for transcribing can be particularly appealing to users who require a high volume of transcriptions or have low budgets. However, this approach comes with some limitations.

The pros and cons of services that transcribe automatically

Automated transcription services are fast and may appear cost-effective, especially for large volumes of audio. However, they may not always capture nuances or context, leading to potential errors or misinterpretations. You can lose the initial efficiency gains from even the best transcription software if you end up spending time and effort correcting transcript errors.聽

The accuracy levels may vary by service and audio quality. Typically, transcribing software works best on good-quality audio, with a single person speaking clearly and no background noise. In these cases, the accuracy levels may support those using transcripts for personal or internal reference purposes. For those using transcription as an accessibility solution and anyone publishing their transcripts, human or hybrid services offering 99%+ accuracy, such as Verbit Go, are a better option.聽

Transcribing services with the human touch

Although the software available for automatically transcribing speech to text is constantly improving, the accuracy levels often fall short of the needs of business leaders. That’s where human and hybrid services come in.

Human transcription services use trained professionals to transcribe audio manually. These individuals bring an understanding of context, culture, and nuance, ensuring high accuracy, even in complex or specialized recordings. Human transcriptionists use their expertise to adjust to different accents, dialects and jargon.聽

Hybrid services combine the speed of AI with the precision of transcribers to produce a more accurate transcript than software alone can deliver. Hybrid services use software to create a first draft, which professionals edit manually. Experts can correct errors for mistakes such as spelling and contextual understanding.

Improved accuracy is one of the key advantages of using human and hybrid services over automated software. Additionally, professional transcribing services, like Verbit Go’s, capture subtleties and details that machines might miss. Human and hybrid services provide more of a personal touch, higher degrees of customization and customer support.聽

Once you’ve identified your transcription needs, you can start to draw comparisons between providers to find the most suitable solution.

How to choose the right transcription service

When selecting a transcription service, several factors come into play.聽

Accuracy

Accuracy is vital to ensure a transcript reflects the meaning and messaging of your original content. The reliability of accuracy can vary between services, and the quality of your audio can also impact results. For most professional settings and accessibility purposes, you should look for solutions with at least 99% accuracy.

Cost

The price of services varies depending on the volumes of content, the quality, accuracy and turnaround times. Different pricing models are also available, including free options, pay-as-you-go services and subscription packages. Understanding the cost structure and any hidden fees is essential to ensure you get the best value for money.聽

Turnaround times

Turnaround time can be crucial, especially for time-sensitive projects. You’ll need real-time transcription to transcribe live events, but if you are transcribing a meeting, you might be able to wait a week. However, speed shouldn’t compromise accuracy. A balance between quick delivery and reliable transcription is vital. Extending the turnaround time can also save costs if you don’t need the transcript urgently.

Security

The content business leaders need to transcribe often contains sensitive, confidential or personal information. The security of a solution must be a priority for transcription in a professional setting.聽

Add-on features may also play a role in your decision. Additional functionality can enhance efficiency, improve user experience and streamline workflows.聽

Integrations

Services offer different levels of integrations with popular software and platforms like Zoom or Google Drive. Integrations can help transcription seamlessly fit into your existing workflows. However, you should check compatibility issues with your current devices and software and ensure you only pay for the functionality you use.

Industry-specific requirements

Some services specialize in supporting specific industries. These services can help provide greater accuracy for industry jargon or technical terminology or help you adhere to regulations. For example, in healthcare, you may need HIPAA-certified transcribers.

Customization options

Many services provide optional extras which tailor the transcript to your requirements. Verbit Go offers a range of turnaround times and options such as speaker identification, timestamps, US English and more to ensure you get the transcript you need when you need it. In addition, you can also choose from various solutions, including meeting minutes, verbatim transcription and captions to suit your content.

Language support

Offering content in multiple languages can help support a global workforce and customer base. Some services include options for transcription in multiple languages or the ability to translate a transcript from one language to another.

If you still need to figure out the best solution to transcribe your content, user reviews can shed light on real-world performance. Testimonials and other feedback from trusted resources can provide valuable insights into a service’s strengths and limitations, helping potential users make an informed decision. 聽聽

Transcribe accurately with a professional transcription partner聽聽

Transcribing services offer immense value in converting spoken words into text. While automated solutions and human-assisted services each have their merits, the best service ultimately depends on your needs and preferences.聽

Transcribing content in a professional setting can boost the productivity of working with audio and video content, improve communication quality, and support the diverse needs of employees and customers. However, business leaders will only experience these benefits when the transcripts are highly accurate.聽

Verbit Go offers secure human transcription with 99% accuracy and guaranteed turnaround times, ideal for a range of business purposes. Get started with an instant online quote today.