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Thursday 13 August 2020 |
Annette Pike

The transcription industry is evolving and speech-to-text technology is improving all the time.  In some instances the result can be quite good - in some instances.  Online providers offering a cheap automated speech-to-text service also can produce decent results, but again, in some instances.  Differing audio quality, speech patterns and accents all weigh heavily in whether the transcript that is produced is useable or not.  I’m not sure what it is about the Australian accent but often the results can be hilarious!

A transcription service like OutScribe does not utilise speech-to-text technology to produce transcripts.  At this point in time nothing replicates human ears, experience, education and expertise to transcribe.  A person can pick up the nuances, the slang, handle the overtalking and don’t even get me started on the variable audio quality.

I can see that in not too many years the technology will have improved to such an extent that this transcription solution will be a viable option.  But in the meantime it all comes down to the dollar doesn’t it.  What’s your time worth?  Do you have time and expertise to devote to the tedious task of editing and proofing transcripts word-for-word, line-by-line?

As an example, below is an excerpt from a medical report one of our clients received from his neurologist…

“…he is aware that he seasonally for green light shopping all our outside this tends to make the symptoms worse consented to great discomfort involving.”

Even more concerning is … “The following letter has been digitally signed and the author attests to its accuracy on (date provided).” 

This nonsensical medical report seems to have been produced by speech-to-text technology, or possibly even more concerning, by a transcriptionist whose grasp of the English language and/or accent is extremely poor.

Technology is certainly edging closer to producing consistently good results, but for now a good transcriptionist is certainly worth the investment, and yes, it is indeed an investment.  An investment in your research or the smooth running of your practice and your professional reputation, but most definitely in your peace of mind. 


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