Are Free Transcription Services Worth It?

The Ultimate Guide to Utilizing
Automated Transcription Services in Various Industries

The Ultimate Guide to Utilizing Automated Transcription Services in Various Industries

Transcriptions have come a long way from simple note-taking to services that offer voice-to-text transcripts. More and more people find themselves in need of transcribing at some point in their lives, whether it’s an important interview for a research study, a video that needs captions, meetings, lectures, and more. However, doing it yourself is tedious and can take too much time, so most opt for getting assistance from various transcription services. An example would be online automated transcriptions.



Fortunately, for people who are looking into getting their audio or video recordings transcribed, a lot of online automated audio to text transcription services offer free trials and free transcription services. But are free transcriptions really worth the try?

To answer this question, we dive into how automated transcriptions came to be, how audio-to-text transcripts have evolved over the years, and how various industries can benefit from it.

 

What Are Automated Transcriptions?

Automated or machine-generated transcriptions are written conversions of audio or video recordings created by using automatic audio-to-text software. It utilizes voice or speech recognition software to convert recordings into text. These recordings can be interviews, speeches, depositions, meetings, and the like, which means that it can be used in various industries.

What Are Automated Transcriptions
There are multiple advantages to this kind of transcription. First, it’s cheaper and in some cases, free. It also helps with project productivity and efficiency as the turnaround time of an automated transcription solution is a lot faster than what a regular human transcriptionist can do. Anyone who has experience in transcribing knows that the process can be time-consuming and inefficient at times. Automated transcription eliminates this problem since it has the capability to transcribe your audio into text in real-time – delivering your transcript almost instantaneously.

Other notable advantages are:
  • It benefits individuals who prefer editing their transcriptions on their own.
  • There are numerous available online audio-to-text converters available to choose from.
  • There’s the option of automatically including timestamps in transcripts.
  • It is a great starting point to optionally use an editing service to clean up automated transcripts.
On the other hand, automated transcriptions have some disadvantages when various factors come to play. These include background noises, speakers overlapping with each other, and fast speakers with accents. Each of these can decrease the accuracy of the transcription. Lack of recording clarity and low volume in an audio file makes it more difficult for a machine to decipher as well. Aside from these outside factors, the technology is yet to be perfected to match the human prowess. In such cases, acquiring the help of a professional human transcriber to clean-up your transcripts would be advantageous especially if you’re looking for accuracy in a transcript that contains important information.

History of Transcription Technology

Before recording devices existed, transcriptionists had to manually write down spoken words during an on-going event. They would attend speeches, lectures, and presentations, then convert their notes into typewritten documents through a typewriter. This mode of transcribing lasted for a while before it got replaced with the use of audio recording devices.

History of Transcription Technology
Cassette players were one of the first notable devices used for transcribing. A typist would listen to the recording using a headset and then attentively type the words as they go along. However, the main drawback was having to constantly rewind the recording which made the process take a really long time. On average, an hour of recording would take 5-7 hours to complete for an experienced transcriber, and more than half a day for an inexperienced one. Moreover, it was difficult to go back to a specific part of the recording if they missed some words – they would have to listen from the very beginning.

After the first typewriter was invented in 1808, came the computer, which ultimately made transcription much easier in the 1940s and 1950s – it enabled transcribers to simultaneously listen to the recording and transcribe it into text using a specially tailored software. Then when the internet became an important asset to businesses in 1990, transcribers were enabled to upload and download files online. In turn, the transcription industry rapidly grew.   Technology has continuously improved over the years and speech recognition development flourished thanks to machine learning. Converting audio to text automatically through software is now a possibility – and it is still being improved while machine-learning algorithms learn better from vast amounts of data. This amazing coupling of the use of technology gave birth to automated transcripts. Although current speech technology capabilities are still miles away from the accuracy level of human transcriptions, it definitely has helped a lot of individuals and organizations in multiple industries by transcribing audio files in just minutes, unlike manual transcription that would otherwise usually take many hours.

Benefits of Free Transcriptions in Various Industries

There are lots of online audio-to-text converters that can produce free audio transcriptions. These could be of great use to numerous industries as it makes knowledge transfer easier. Moreover, since it directly converts the speech into text, every minute detail is included.

There are multiple ways different kinds of industries can benefit from transcriptions. Here’s how:

1

Research

Research may mean multiple things; whether it’s individual research, academic, or market research. Depending on what type of research it is, transcriptions can be utilized in a variety of ways.

Generally, research required a lot of documentation which might lead to the researcher feeling overwhelmed. Not only does a researcher have to facilitate interviews and research with limited resources, but there’s also the task of having to jot down notes to make sure that no insight is left out. In this situation, automated transcripts can decrease a researcher’s workload by eliminating the need for note-taking during an interview. The only thing a researcher would need is to record the interviews and presentations and have them transcribed. This makes it a lot easier to review and compile all notes and references.
Benefits in Research Free Transcriptions
2

Education

Students deal with multiple lectures, discussions, and lessons on a daily basis that it may be tough to take note of everything. It can also serve as a distraction which can lead to lack of focus causing the student to miss out on important details and have difficulty understanding certain concepts. Instead of rushing to write down what the professor is saying, students can record discussions and rely on audio-to-text converters for notes. Students also have to deal with their thesis or dissertation studies. It’s important to have reliable sources in order to get accurate information. Writing a thesis is by no means easy and may involve the use of different research methods. It may purely rely on interviews and surveys, or on more complex methods like content analysis. They may even have to analyze hours of video content which could take a long time to manually transcribe. This can burden students as it’ll take longer to move on to discussion and analysis. Utilizing audio-to-text transcriptions can resolve this particular problem since it aids in pinpointing the key insights efficiently, saving time and advancing the study.

Benefits in Education Free Transcriptions
3

Journalism

As a journalist, information gathering plays a vital part in article writing. Not only does it involve speaking with different experts and witnesses, but you also have to note all the details about the event such as the time, location, the people involved, and what exactly transpired. Writing down the key points in interviews as well as the details altogether can jumble up your notes and make it harder to find the necessary key points. As an alternative, it’s more efficient to use automated transcriptions by recording and converting it to text afterwards. It helps speed up the process of writing without having to sacrifice accuracy.
Benefits in Journalism Free Transcriptions
4

Audio & Video Production

Production firms typically produce audio and video outputs that may need video captions or subtitles in order to reach a wider audience or support people with disabilities. In addition, the law requires that all media accessed by the public must include captions in order to meet the rights of the disabled. These firms usually have these files transcribed in order to make the integration of text to video captions easier.

Benefits in Subtitles Free Transcriptions
5

Corporate

Many businesses prefer recording every meeting and conference they have so they can go back anytime and review what was discussed in the past. However, listening to these recordings can be time-consuming. As a solution, the audio files can be transcribed through audio-to-text converters so the participants can simply go over the document as a brief refresher on what transpired in the previous meeting.

Benefits in Corporate Free Transcriptions

Uses of Hybrid Transcription Services

While automated transcripts have greatly improved over the years, the technology is still behind the skills of professional transcribers. Unlike human transcriptionists, the software has difficulty differentiating accents and dialects from one another as well as recognizing speech differences in terms of enunciation and pronunciation. However, we can’t deny its great advantages which is why, as a solution, many individuals go to hybrid transcription services so their transcripts can be fixed and cleaned-up by experienced human transcriptionists.

Industries like medicine, government, and law can also benefit from free transcriptions. However, since these fields usually deal with complicated, sensitive, and private information, solely relying on automated transcripts may put their profession at risk. This is where hybrid transcriptions come into play. These organizations can turn to proofing services to polish their transcriptions to avoid future conflicts.

Should You Use A Free Transcription Service?

Automated transcriptions definitely have their advantages when it comes to speed, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. Due to modern technology, audio to text converters are now more accurate than before and continue to improve as time goes by. As a result, more and more industries are starting to rely on it to save time and money.

However, it still has a long way to go before it becomes 100% error-free, so until then, relying on transcription cleanup services is the way to go if you’re aiming for high accuracy when transcribing files with complicated terms and important information.

Should You Use a Free Transcription Service

So there you have it, the pros and cons of free transcription services. With FreeTranscriptions 300 free minute offering, it might be worth it to give it a try to come to your own conclusions.