Transcription, or speech to text, is in higher demand than ever. Whether it’s journalists, video editors, lawyers or medical practitioners, the need to convert audio or video to text will almost undoubtedly enter the workflow of many different professionals at some point. And if you’re in one of these careers or industries, you might have even had the dreaded task of converting audio or video files to text yourself.
We feel your pain.
The simplest way to define this process is converting recorded speech into text. If you’ve ever read the words of an actor or the lines of a politician then you’ve read a transcript. There are lots of different ways transcripts are used; and, thankfully, technology offers the fastest, most affordable way to convert speech to text than ever.
What different kinds of speech to text are out there?
The most traditional way of converting speech to text is manual transcription, when humans listen to audio or video files and type the words into a word processing document. Manual typing services tend to be time consuming but are more accurate than real-time human typing services, which are extremely difficult to master unless you're an exceptionally swift typist.
Some manual typists choose slow the playback speed of the audio or video files so they can type at their own pace. This approach usually produces a more accurate transcript but is still a time drain on long audio and video files.
With the use of special equipment and a shorthand system, a very small number of people can type in real time, although this is a highly specialized skill that takes extensive training and a particularly fast typist – for example, a court reporter. This skill can be used either live or when listening to a recording, although the vast majority of the time it happens live. Accuracy tends to be lower when it's done in real time since there is no time for mistakes to be corrected.
Although manual typing has been around the longest, it doesn’t mean it’s the ideal solution. We think there’s a better way.
Compared to manually typing, automated transcription is incredibly fast. Manually converting speech to text usually requires the source recording to be divided into multiple files; these files are then sent to multiple people, who are paid at an hourly or per-page rate to type them. Automated transcription, on the other hand, accomplished all this with a single audio or video file, and in less time, for less money and much more securely.
Using Trint’s automated speech to text platform is like hiring a computer to listen to and type your audio or video files. The software listens to files and then interprets what's being said with speech-recognition technology. Once a file has been converted to text, the document is displayed in a browser for easy searching, editing (if necessary) and exporting.
We’re the first to admit artificial intelligence (A.I.) isn’t perfect. What you end up with is a first-draft, timecoded transcript that makes editing smooth and fast, and with reasonably clear audio the accuracy tends to be at least 95%. To make the editing process easier, words in the Trint Editor are stitched to the corresponding moment in the audio or video, making it easy to find important moments or locate keywords.
But how does it work?
Trint’s digital speech-to-text platform starts with A.I., automated speech recognition and natural language processing. If those words look like intimidating, highly technical words to you, don’t worry - the concept is actually very simple. The software is very, very good at interpreting all the different sounds that make up human speech; it’s equally good at matching those sounds to the corresponding word in its extensive dictionary in many different languages. Not only this, but the software also teaches itself, so it’s continually learning and improving its accuracy.
Fortunately, advances in speech recognition software have led to the emergence of A.I.-powered services, like Trint, which save hours of time and cost considerably less than manual speech-to-text services.
Trint’s automated transcription software can be used with multiple types of media, including both audio and video files. Users can even use Trint to create captions for video, thanks to our recent partnership with Adobe and our dedicated plugin for the Adobe Premiere Pro video editing suite. The software converts the spoken word to text and automatically places captions at the correct time on the video, saving editors the hassle of digging out quotes and adding subtitles themselves. Edit decision list (EDL) files can also be imported from Trints with the Adobe plugin, so splicing together multiple clips of the key moments in a video happens in moments.
Why is transcription important?
Recording clear audio is an integral part of lots of industries. For media, it's important to record interviews accurately and clearly for reference and quotation; the same goes for law. And filmmakers rely on transcripts for accessibility purposes like captioning, subtitles and translations for foreign language releases.
Given how important it is to get data right across a variety of industries (even a careless typo could lead to a host of legal problems), it's vital to use the right tools to ensure accuracy. And building the best tools to tackle these common pain points is Trint’s bread and butter.
As we said before, there are a handful of ways to convert audio and video to text. But this process is fragmented, compromises data security, and is a slow and laborious process to say the least.
Combining manual and automated transcription: the ultimate solution for accuracy and speed
Machine learning has some time to go before we start seeing completely error-free Trints, but there are ways users can improve the accuracy of current automated solutions. Plenty of factors can reduce the accuracy of machine-generated speech to text technology, like background noise and multiple speakers talking over each other. By minimizing these in an audio or video recording, users can greatly increase the accuracy of digital platforms like Trint. That’s why before a user converts an audio file to text, Trint displays a brief checklist of things to watch out for – it’s our way of working with you to get the best results possible.
As the number of people who use Trint continues to rise, speech-to-text algorithms continue to become more accurate. Machine learning allows computers to learn, fine-tuning their “ears” and working more intelligently as they learn from their mistakes. Although A.I. speech to text technology is not 100%, it's getting better every day - and so is Trint.
We’re confident Trint is both the world’s best automated speech to text platform and the clear choice above human typing services. Why not take us for a test drive? Sign up here.