Back to Basics: Why Traditional Transcription Still Matters

By: Verbit Editorial

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Is it easier to learn something by hearing it or reading it? According to a recent study conducted by the National Institute of Health, participants experience similar levels of comprehension regardless of whether they received information in an auditory or written format. However, those who receive the information via text experience higher information retention and recall levels. Traditional transcription is one way to provide this format when sharing information.  

After all, it’s no secret that everyone learns differently, so the best approach is to offer information in multiple formats. Also, as the NIH study indicates, there’s real value in ensuring everyone can access a text version of anything they need to commit to memory. As a result, whenever you share audio or video content, you’ll need to convert it to text to serve as an effective learning supplement. Let’s examine how traditional transcription processes can achieve this and discuss recent breakthroughs in transcription technology that may help streamline the process.  

What is Traditional Transcription? 

Transcription is the process of converting audio to text. You can use any audio or video recording to produce a transcript. Today, it’s common to convert audio to text live during events like seminars, webcasts and more. Several different transcription methods and styles are available to consumers, so it’s important to carefully consider which approach makes the most sense for your project.  

Traditional transcription is a standard process involving an individual listening to audio content and manually writing down everything they hear. Transcriptionists working with recorded audio will often listen through a recording several times to ensure the accuracy of the final transcript. It can be much more challenging for a professional to manually transcribe real-time communications because they pause and rewind. For this reason, only professionally trained transcriptionists can deliver top-tier results when performing traditional transcription. 

two people looking at a computer

Is Traditional Transcription Accurate? 

Professionally trained human transcribers, with ample time to complete their projects, can achieve exceptionally high accuracy rates. This is important because, for a transcript to effectively support the needs of those with disabilities or specific learning needs, it must be highly accurate. Accessibility standards like the ADA clarify that accuracy is key when offering alternative, inclusive engagement opportunities.  

By using human transcribers, traditional verbatim transcription offers highly accurate results. Professional transcriptionists can recognize subtle nuances in tone and inflection and follow and depict conversations with multiple speakers, diverse dialects and more. However, one major factor to remember is that an individual transcriber will likely encounter bandwidth issues. For this reason, traditional transcription isn’t the best option for completing large-scale projects within a limited timeline.  

Traditional Transcription vs. AI Transcription 

Artificial intelligence is now offering a fast and simple way to create transcripts from audio recordings. The technology that powers these automated transcription solutions is the same kind of technology that powers virtual assistants like Siri, Alexa and Google Home. These tools use advanced language models and automatic speech recognition technologies to convert spoken language into text or respond to verbal commands.   

AI is getting smarter and smarter every day. However, AI-powered transcription tools still aren’t quite on par with the accuracy rates of human transcribers. The lack of accuracy is a real problem, as Gallaudet University, the world’s premier university for the Deaf and hard of hearing, explains: 

“These new technologies create different types of caption errors. This is compared with human captioning techniques that have evolved over 40 years. As a result, there has been much consumer frustration. With these new technologies, it is critical to understand how caption errors impact consumers who rely on captioned video.”  

Part of the issue is that AI transcription solutions use computers that rely on specific data to perform. As a result, artificial intelligence often struggles to accurately transcribe audio content, especially with less-than-perfect audio files. For example, AI may fail to accurately transcribe audio recordings that feature:  

  • Multiple speakers 
  • Background noise  
  • Cross-talk  
  • Accents and dialects  
  • Poor audio quality 

Even so, the greatest advantage of working with an AI transcription tool is the potential for increased efficiency. Many AI platforms transcribe audio content in minutes, making it easier to scale accessibility initiatives and other transcription projects. However, because using AI to create transcripts leads to more errors, they often require additional review and editing. Using an unedited AI-produced transcript can prevent some people from having equitable access to the content.  

Woman in glasses working on a computer

Traditional Transcription vs. Digital Transcription 

Thankfully, AI isn’t the only digital option for clients looking for efficient and accurate transcription solutions. Verbit is a digital provider of transcription technology for clients across a wide range of industries. Rather than relying solely on human transcribers or artificial intelligence to complete transcription projects, Verbit’s platform combines traditional transcription techniques with artificial intelligence software. The result is accurate transcripts with short turnaround times.  

When an audio or video recording is uploaded to Verbit’s platform, it will immediately be transcribed by proprietary AI software. Human transcribers then edit and review this initial transcript for accuracy. Once the transcript is complete, the user can download it in a number of transcription formats. The files are compatible with popular media hosting sites, social media platforms and digital devices.  

Verbit’s platform also makes it easy for users to request traditional transcription services for live communications both in person and online. Clients should find real-time solutions like call transcription and seminar transcription for participants who need access to a written transcript. 

Verbit Kicks Traditional Transcription Up a Notch  

Rather than seeking to reinvent the wheel, Verbit’s solutions build upon the strong foundation provided by traditional transcription approaches. By combining traditional transcription processes with artificial intelligence solutions, Verbit provides a more efficient, convenient and effective approach to transcription projects of all shapes and sizes.  

Proactively offering accommodations like written transcription can help support the diverse needs of the individuals in your community and allow for more streamlined, inclusive communications. If you’re interested in learning more about Verbit’s unique approach to transcription, reach out to speak with a member of our team.