Are Automated Transcribing Softwares Good Enough? Not for New York Times

If you are ChristineMcM, a New York Times commentator you probably know a too much about how automatic transcribing software can mess things up for you.

As reported by The Daily Dot, she had something to say about a recent Trump article but had to take a phone call in the middle of her comment. Her automatic transcription software heard and posted the whole conversation.

Yes, you read that right.

This is what it ended up posting.

This might be funny, but this shows the state that we are currently in with respect to automated transcribing.

Transcribing still continues to be mostly done by humans to avoid such gaffes.

Although she later clarified the mistake, it left those close to her and her followers in a state of a fix. Some even suspected that she might be having a neurological episode.

Here is her clarification:

Having understood these problems, Scribie is not looking to go the same route.

Instead, we use technology and AI to help humans transcribe faster and better.

The industry is far away from completely eliminating the human factor in the transcribing chain (unless you can afford such a gaffe).

For the time being the best way to get your file transcribed is a human with cutting-edge technology that enables efficiency and high accuracy.

 

 

 

Good Audio = Lower Prices

How To Get Cheaper Transcriptions

Want to pay less for your transcripts? If you use the following tips and tricks you can improve your audio and pay up to 4x less than what you would pay with bad audio — that could save you hundreds of dollars!

Seems simple, huh? It is… but many people often don’t realize they are recording bad audio. Here are a few quick and easy tips for getting the best quality audio with the least amount of effort.

 

1. Microphone & Recording Device

First off, determine what type of microphone pattern best suits what situation you need to record. If you’re recording a one-on-one interview, you’ll want a mic that has a narrow pickup pattern (unidirectional). If you’re recording a group of people (board meeting, focus group, etc.) you’ll want an omnidirectional mic as it has a larger pickup pattern and will capture all of the speakers. While you always want to be in a quiet environment with any mic, it’s important to note that omnidirectional mics are more susceptible to unwanted background noise so make sure you have a nice and quiet room.  Here are a few microphones and recorders we recommend at Scribie:

  1. Zoom H4n  – Awesome recorder with many recording options $219.99 zoom_h4npro_4_channel_handy_recorder_1464752813000_1253811
  2. Tascam DR 05 –  Best bang for the buck recorder $99.99   
  3.  Shure VP64A Nice mic low-priced and durable  $78.75
  4. Sennheiser MD 46  Great unidirectional mic for high noise environment $199.95
  5. MXL AC-404 Portable USB Conferencing Microphone – Perfect omnidirectional mic for recording groups – $83.99

2. Recording Environment

Ideally, you will need to be in a quiet location free of any ambient noise. This is crucial to capturing excellent audio because background noises such as a coffee shop, bar, or your neighbors’ car door slamming party can make it difficult for transcribers to hear your speakers’ voices. And even though our transcribers are awesome, transcribing audio with a noisy background is no easy feat and can take 3x to 4x longer to ensure our 98% accuracy.

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Picture from reddit user kidbopper

 

 

3. Microphone Positioning

Have the recorder on a stand or at least some type of buffer between it and whatever platform you use. This helps by separating the mic from any vibrations that may cause unwanted sound. If you are using a unidirectional microphone, try and position the mic 6″-12″ inches in front of the subject, with the mic aimed directly at their mouth. If you are using an omnidirectional mic, position the mic in the middle of the group on a stand. Always do a sound check before you begin recording by plugging in a headset and having people talk at normal voice levels.

4. Recording Settings

Recording settings are important, so make sure your recorder is set to record at a proper setting. We recommend setting it to record WAV files at 48kHz 28bit. This setting makes sure you are able to capture the human voice at an optimal level.

 

Don’t have a mic or recording interviews on your iPhone?

No problem, you can still produce great audio. Fstoppers shows how they use the iPhone to grab audio for video interviews and you can use the same methods for your audio interviews as well.

  1. Get the mic as close as possible to the subject.
  2. Use the stock iPhone recording app or download iTalk by Griffin.
  3. Export audio.

 

 

 

 

Top Five Recording Apps For iPhone

Looking to record a conversation, interview or business discussion? Forget the age-old voice recorder; rather grab your iPhone. There are loads of cool apps that ensure clarity, so that the final recorded file is easy to understand and transcribe. Here are the industry toppers:

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Voice Recorder: Here is a really simple app that’s easy to understand and works great. What’s more, it also comes for free. It is also passcode protected, just in case you want to make sure your recordings are safe. The app is compatible with iOS 8. Use it to record and store unlimited number of recordings, add them to your favorite list for quick future reference, and for loop function.

Audio Recorder: While this app is also free and simple to use, it is definitely more versatile when compared to the Voice Recorder. Apart from recording your ‘piece’ you can email the file for easy sharing. The app also gives you the freedom to specify the format in which you would want to record or save the file.

Voice Record Pro: This free app takes the recording experience to a whole new level with its impressive import and export functionalities. You can easily access the Google Drive and Dropbox, among many others. What’s more, you could even post your recording as a movie clip on Facebook and YouTube. Cool, isn’t it? Apart from recording, you can attach notes and photos, and keep everything safe with the help of a passcode.

Super Notes: If you are ready to shell out a few dollars for a professional quality recording, here is the perfect app for you. Like most other apps in this category it offers superb recording features and clarity, and is cut out for any situation that you have in mind. What sets it apart is its ability to allow you to add notes and annotations to your recording while you are still at it.

Dictate + Connect (Dictamus): Compared to the other apps in this genre, this one is on the higher end of the price chart. But once you look at the features, you would know why. With this app on your side, you can actually forget all other recording devices. Apart from recording, you can even rewind and overwrite without hampering the audio quality. The app comes complete with instant dictation controls, barcode scanner, easy saving and sharing options, and more.

The world has moved light years ahead of traditional, run-of-the-mill voice recorders. However, before jumping on the digitised bandwagon you must ensure that the app you choose is of top quality. It is also indispensable if you are looking to transcribe the audio files. A good quality file does not only make the job of a transcriptionist easier, it also ensures that the transcription is error-free. That means less back and forth, less wastage of time, and optimum use of resources.

Got a file that you need transcribing? We can help. Contact us today for an accurate and affordable transcription service.

 

What Qualifies As A High Difficulty File?

Explaining High-Difficulty Files

At Scribie, we follow a very straightforward process from ordering a transcription to delivering it. You upload a file, select the desired turnaround time and place the order. Next, our transcribers start working on it while you monitor the progress online.

Once transcribed, the file is quality checked by our dedicated team and delivered to you. The effect? 99% or more accurate transcriptions. While most things remain constant, there is something that keeps on changing in this system — the nature and quality of the audio files.

When it comes to a file that needs to be transcribed, nothing matters more than clarity or sound quality.

In fact, this factor becomes crucial in determining whether a file should be categorized as ‘high difficulty’.

What Is A High Difficulty File?

As you might have guessed, it is a file that is very difficult to transcribe. Maybe the audio is not very clear or maybe there is a lot of background noise, which makes listening in pretty challenging. Here are some common characteristics of high difficulty files.

  • Non-American accents (e.g. British, Australian, Hispanic, Native American, Indian, Asian, African, European etc.)
  • High ambient/line noise (e.g. AC noise, hiss, hum)
  • Noisy background (e.g. if the recording was done in a café)
  • Distant speakers (e.g. if the recorder was kept far away from the speakers, faint voices)
  • Distortions (e.g. clipping, high pitched voices)
  • Disturbances (e.g. typing sounds, audio breaks)
  • Diction (e.g. slurring, rapid speaking, mumbling)
  • Quality (e.g. low sampling rate)
  • Reverberation (most frequently caused by bad room acoustics)
  • Echo (e.g. while recording Skype calls)
  • Inaudible parts

Who Determines If A File Is Highly Difficult?

Your file may sound ‘fine’ to you, but that might not be the case. Since we receive files of varying quality and content, the audio quality of your file is judged by numerous transcribers in our system. The difficulty level then becomes is a relative concept. We believe our transcribers have a better perspective and are in a more informed position to understand the difficulty level of a particular file and hence they are the ones who decide if your file should be categorized as a high difficulty file. We found this is the best solution for ruling out any possibility of subjectivity.

How Does It Affect The Rates?

If you are an existing customer you know that Scribie charges a flat rate for all files. BUT the high difficult ones are an exception. As of January 2016, we have implemented new policies that ask for additional charges for high difficulty files. Since high difficulty files require more time and effort from the transcribers, it is only fair that we compensate them accordingly for it. Plus, the additional pay is the motivation that the transcribers get to ensure that quality is not compromised. Generally, the extra charge varies between $0.50/ minute and $2.00/ minute.  We always inform the customer in case a file is found to be of a high difficulty level. The customer also has the liberty to cancel the order in case he is not willing to pay the extra charge and get a full refund.

We do our best to give you quality transcription within your deadline, even if it’s a highly ‘difficult’ file, and we ensure that the transcription matches the highest standard of accuracy.

Start uploading today.

 

Why Do We Still Need Humans For Transcribing Speech

siri errorsSo, how is Siri doing on your iPhone. Would you happily replace her with your secretary?

Personally, I won’t, because there are just too many ‘misses’ and ‘trouble spots’ that I wouldn’t want in my business.

The case is almost the same when you count upon software to transcribe your audio files instead of their ‘time-consuming’ human counterparts. Unfortunately, despite several attempts, science has not yet come up with a software solution that would act like Aladdin’s magic lamp. And from what it seems, the genie isn’t coming out any time soon. Why? The reasons are many.

The English language can be very tricky and hence very difficult to master especially when the learner in question is a transcription-software. Homophones pose a problem that most software find impossible to overcome. For instance, will it be sale or sail, no or know, fair, or fare? The list continues. Unlike us humans who are blest with critical analyzing skills, software cannot comprehend the difference. Plus, making these finer differentiations may be very difficult without a context, which might not appear until further into the conversation.
The problem aggravates when the software needs to transcribe an interview or a dialogue involving many speakers. It is easy to guess why. Each of us has a unique style of speaking. This speech distinction becomes far complex as this personal style of speaking is influenced and shaped heavily by our geographical location, our culture, and our upbringing, to name a few. It is impossible to ‘teach’ so accurate a speech recognition to any software.

Audio quality is yet another issue. And a very important one. Any speech recognition and transcription software would need a clear piece of audio. Anyone in the transcription business would know that an impeccable audio file is a rare phenomenon.

Talking about the accuracy rate of a human transcriptionist versus a software-driven one, Xuedong Huang, a senior scientist at Microsoft says, “If you have people transcribe conversational speech over the telephone, the error rate is around 4 percent. If you put all the systems together—IBM and Google and Microsoft and all the best combined—amazingly the error rate will be around 8 percent.”

Now the real question is, would you settle for something that is twice as bad as humans? We know the answer. That is why we offer transcription service that is among the best in the industry. Start uploading your files now!

 

How Does Scribie Ensure Best Quality Transcription At A Lower Cost

There are many transcription services out there, all clamoring for your attention and money. Not all transcription services, however, are created equal.

Some may charge you a certain standard fee, but then add on fees for additional services. Some may not provide you with the best quality for your money.

Scribie offers you the best quality, 98% guarantee, at a price that doesn’t increase because you want your file as a Word document or because there are multiple speakers in your file. Scribie wants to give you the best quality you can get without breaking the bank.

You may be asking yourself how exactly is this done. For starters, Scribie’s platform is 100% online and service is provided by a large group of qualified freelance transcribers. This means no building or maintenance cost that most businesses have to cover. The freelance transcribers work via crowdsourcing and the work is quality checked by a highly efficient quality control team.call-center-1015274_640And if for any reason, you are not satisfied with the quality of your transcription, Scribie also offers a free re-review.

Now when it comes to pricing, those of you who have audio files that are of a high difficulty to transcribe may have to face some additional charges. This is only due to the fact that it requires more time and effort on the part of transcribers.

These include things like speakers with accents or files with noisy backgrounds, which are not picked by our transcribers as a first choice. These files then get stuck and the only way to get these files done is by giving more incentive to the transcribers.

But even with these additional costs, Scribie has found a way to help. Scribie has recently increased the delivery limit to 4 hours and at the same time, additional charges have been reduced to only $1.oo per minute of audio.

If your file has good audio quality, then you easily benefit from the new lower rates. If you want to save some money and ensure that your file is of good audio quality, check out a recent post on just how to do it.

Scribie strives to give you the best for the least amount of money. We want to give you service and quality that makes it seem as if you did it yourself; service that is up to your standards.

 

How Can A Good Quality Audio File Reduce Your Cost Of Transcription

When it comes to recording your audio that you’ll later want transcribed, you want to make sure it’s a good quality. We’ve discussed the benefits of this, but now we’ll talk about some steps you can take to ensure your audio is of good quality.

Ambient Noise

One of the first things you’ll want to consider even before you start recording is where. You’ll want to choose a spot that doesn’t have too much, if any, background noise. You’ll want to find a room that’s quiet and has little to no ambient noise. If you can’t find a good spot, make sure you and any guests you may have, speak slower and enunciate.

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Recording Device

You may be wondering if you should use your old digital or tape recorder or possibly your smartphone. If you have a smartphone, use it. Smartphones have great microphones on them that can outperform that of your old tape or digital recorder. If you are using your smartphone for your interview, session, etc. you’ll want to find a recording application. Most phones come equipped with a pre-installed recording app or you can search your app store for an app that fits your needs.

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External Speakers

Now, if you opt to use your laptop instead, it’s best to utilize external speakers instead of those in your laptop. The same goes for recording calls on Skype or Google Hangouts. An external speaker will reproduce a better sound quality and thus a better sound recording. You’ll want to keep your recorder as close to the speaker as you possibly can. Also, if using your laptop, you’ll also want to consider an external microphone. Make sure to position it in a way that it doesn’t produce too much interference or too much rubbing from movement. You’ll want to keep the microphone close to you or whoever is speaking, but not so close that your mouth is rubbing against it.

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Once you’ve got all of your software and hardware issues settled, you’ll want to do a sound check to make sure that everything is coming in clear and get all problems fixed before your recording session.

Noisy Background

It is advisable that if you are recording in a cafe or any noisy place, to reserve the first 30 seconds for the noise. And then after the recording you can use Audacity tool to clean up the file by selecting the first 30 seconds as a noise profile. Refer our blog about how to clean your audio files using Audacity.

If you are planning on typing during the recording, you’ll want to put the recorder on a book. This will help to absorb the typing sounds instead of them being recorded.

As always, Scribie wants to help you in any way we can. By taking these simple steps while recording you can save a lot on the cost and it is also a great incentive for people who are working on the transcripts of these files.

Don’t forget Scribie when it’s time to transcribe your audio or video file. You’ll find Scribie have great transcription rates to fit any budget.

 

Why Is Transcription Important For Online Tutorials And E- Learning

Online Learning & Transcription

As the world is waking up to the immense possibilities of e-learning and online tutorials, transcription is witnessing a surge in popularity. This is largely due to the flexibility that transcription offers, which in turn facilitates the learning process. But why exactly are students banking on transcriptions while learning through online tutorials? Here are a few reasons:digital-learning

1. Easy comprehension

Having a transcript right in front of the eye helps students understand better while listening to an audio. The process engages a multi-sensory tutorial method, which is efficient especially in explaining complex subjects.

2. Great for students learning English as a second language

Many students from across the world are turning to the Internet to get a grip on the English language. Transcription in such cases has proven to be an effective learning aid. It lets the students, who are obviously not too familiar with the language, understand the words more clearly. Transcripts also help students keep up with the various accents of teachers and professors, which is not too uncommon among people hailing from the different parts of the world.

3. Helps students stay focused

Bite-sized information, including shorter videos enhanced with transcribed copies, is always more desirable when explaining concepts. Students find the highlighted texts in transcripts effective in holding their attention than the video alone would be able to.

4. Effective for students with poor Internet connectivity

Low Internet bandwidth is an issue that many students face. This is common with online learning as students hail from various corners of the world where Internet connectivity is not always available at the desired speed. It also allows the students the ability to read ahead even when the video is slow to load.

5.  Multiple usages

Apart from being used as subtitles to a video, transcriptions can be used in their own accord. In other words, depending upon their format, students can download and print transcribed documents and use them as study material.

There is little doubt that transcription is an important aspect of the e-learning process. But, it is not the students alone who benefit from it. Even the e-learning providers can help their online business by using the transcribed files to enhance their on-page SEO. This is applicable for all the material that they make available online. In case you are looking for assistance with your transcription, we can help. Start uploading files today and enjoy flawless transcription service delivered within budget and time.

 

BITC (Burnt In Time Code) In Video Transcription

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If you are in the editing industry, you probably already know about Burn-in Time Code or BITC. For the uninitiated, this is the time code that you can actually see on a video. The next time you watch the extra features in, say, a recorded TV show, take a closer look. You will see a group of rolling numbers right at the bottom. That’s BITC for you.

So, what exactly is BITC?

Like we said, it is a time-code that’s superimposed on a video. This means, it is not a part of the original video, but is burn onto the picture frame. You can even remove it later on. You don’t usually use BITC on the master tape. It is rather used on copies of the original material on a non-broadcast format.

How is BITC different from regular timecodes on a transcript?

That’s a good thing to ask because this is the part that confuses many people. To begin with, BITC is strictly video. A regular timecode, on the other hand, is the timestamp that you find on your transcribed file. This refers to the running time of an audio before every paragraph. For instance, if you see something like [00:10:12] on your transcribed file, this means the time stamp was made exactly 10 minutes 12 seconds into the audio fie. Scribie offers this as a default service and guarantees an accuracy of +/- 1 second.

But, why do we need BITC?

Ask anyone working on the post-production phase of a video project, and he will tell you the many advantages of BITC. Think of a situation when many people are working on the same project. How do you communicate about a particular point of the video? Maybe do a lot of back and forth until you arrive at the desired moment you wanted to work on? Introduce BITC and your problem is solved. Simply refer to the time stamp on your video for easy reference and for saving time.

If you need BITC in your video transcription project, we can help you. Scribie now offers the service at an additional charge of $0.50 per minute. Contact us today!

 

How To Record Good Quality Audio To Ensure Accurate Transcripts

RodeRec_main_640Nobody wants the words ‘inaudible’ interspersing the final transcribed script. Unfortunately, you will get a lot of it if the audio quality is not good enough. The good news is, this is easily preventable if you can ensure a good quality audio file. How? That’s pretty simple too! The first step is to have the desired result in mind and work towards it. The rest will follow. Here are some quick tips to help you on your way:

Face to face interview

While virtual calls are fast routing out this system from the good old world, by no chance is a face to face recording extinct. Here are a few things you need to keep in mind the next time you go for it:

Take care of the background noise: Yes, complete soundproofing is not possible. However, keep the background noise to the minimum. This includes anything from a noisy air conditioner to a creaky chair. Even your location matters. For instance, is there a school or a playground just beside your recording room? In short, you need to take a complete stock of the situation before you begin.

Prepare the participants: One of the best ideas is to let the participants know what is expected. Tell them to speak slowly but clearly. Ask them to refrain from shuffling papers or talking among themselves. If someone starts coughing, sneezing or laughing, ask the others to wait for it to pass. Introduce each participant at the beginning of the interview.

Look where you place the microphone: If your interview involves many people, place the microphone at equal distant from all of them. Moving it around is not a good idea as it will introduce a deafening sound, which will drown your words. Choose an external recorder over a built-in option for better sound quality. Using a limiter-equipped recorder is a good idea. It limits the level at which a sound is recorded. This means, any sudden outburst, such as laughter or a loud horn, won’t be recorded.

Virtual interview

Recording a conversation over the phone or a computer is all the rage now, and for obvious reasons. In order to make the most of the flexibility that this arrangement provides, you need to ensure that the quality of the recording is top-class. The basic things such as a quiet environment and clear voice are mandatory here as well. Here are the added ones:

Use your smartphone: A smartphone’s in-built recorder is generally of a good quality and works great. You can even count upon the various free and paid recording apps for the purpose. However, some apps work in specific geographical locations only. Make sure your area is covered by the app, before you plan to use it.

External Recorder: If recording is done through external recorder for a call through computer, then ensure the computer speakers are of best quality as well as the sensitivity of the recorder is good since recorder usually catches 2-3 notches lower than what we can actually hear during calls.

Use Skype: Opting for Skype is a good choice. Pair it up with a high-performing microphone and you will get a recording that’s almost as good as a studio.

Third party conference call: There are many third party con-call services that you can utilize to record the call. You can use Scribie’s teleconferencing option for a great quality audio file that will be automatically recorded and transcribed

Contact Scribie today for the best quality audio transcription. Upload your file here.