Google Introduces Dictation in Google Docs

Google provides us with a variety of services and tools to make our lives easier. One tool in particular, voice dictation, is now available in Google Docs. It’s an easy feature that makes the lives of those using it run a little smoother. Need to get an email sent? How about the notes for your next business meeting? Google Docs voice dictation makes that possible, without you having to really lift too many fingers.

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To get started, you will need to have the latest version of Google Chrome installed and a microphone for your computer. With these tools set up, you’ll head to Google Drive and open a new Google Docs word processing document. You’ll go to the top menu and select Tools, then . A pop-up window will appear with a dark microphone icon in the middle. Once you click on the microphone, it will turn red to signify that it’s recording and you can start to speak.

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It’s okay if you need to think about your words as you’re speaking; Google will wait. When you’ve completed your dictation, click the microphone to turn off the dictation. It is important to note that punctuation needs to be dictated.

An added benefit to voice dictation is that you can edit and format as well. Take the sentence, “I like pie.” To edit or format it, just say “select ‘I like pie’ and follow that with whatever formatting change you need to make. That could include “apply heading” or “apply underline.”

You can also create itemized list by saying “create numbered list” or “create bullet list.” When you need to go to the next item on the list, just say “new line” and say “new line” twice to finish the list. And no fears if you mess up! You can simply say “undo” to change any mistakes.

For transcribers, these features can be a great time saver. Not only that, but it can reduce the amount of effort you have to put in to typing up your latest project. Life made simple by Google. It’s as though Google just provided you with the option of having your own free secretary. For those you who may wonder what all can you type with your voice, Google even made a complete list of commands for your viewing pleasure.

How to Review or Check the Quality of Transcripts

As a business professional, student, teacher, or whatever reason you may have for using a transcription service, you want to know that the service you used has done their job and done it well. You want your work or project to be up to the highest standards.

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With that in mind, did you know that Scribie offers you a simple approach to check and review the quality of your transcripts? It’s a few steps that can be done with the use of a tool that only Scribie offers, their free Integrated Editor.

The Integrated Editor provides a variety of tools at your disposal including a full feature text editor, unified interface, auto-capitalization, auto-correct, text analysis, and variable speed playback, just to name a few. With the editor, you’ll want to analyze your transcript, check for underlines and blanks, and do random spot checks. Let’s get started.

You can analyze your document by simply click ‘Analysis’ at the top of the Integrated Editor. It will underline words that either are not recognized by the editor or words and phrases that are not common. Scan the underlines and play those portions to ensure that things are correct. If you want to analyze any word or phrase further, you can right click on the word for a list of options.

If you see blanks in your transcript it’s due to transcribers not being fully sure what was said in your audio. Easily find those blank spots using the editor by holding down CTRL+B. It’ll play the audio just prior to the blank and you can fill it in with the appropriate word or phrase.

Scribie recommends that you randomly check portions of your transcript instead of going through the entire document. If you find key mistakes in your spot checks, then check the entire paragraph for any further issues. To check a paragraph, click in any part of the paragraph and hold down CTRL+ALT+N.

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By doing these few things, you can ensure that the transcription is all that you need it to be. Scribie strives to provide you with no less than 98% accuracy and by providing this service, we want to show you we take that guarantee seriously.

So start uploading you files on Scribie now!!

Transcription System: Transcription & Reviews

This is a series of posts on our human-powered audio transcription system. The following are links to the previous parts: Overview, Workflow, Certification.

The Transcription & Review subsystem is where the bulk of the work gets done. In transcription the file is played back and typed into something called a raw transcript. This is the first pass transcripts where the incomprehensible parts are marked with blanks. In review this raw transcript is checked against the audio mistakes. Timestamps and speaker tracking is also added during review. The output of both these steps produces a fairly accurate textual representation of the audio file.

In our workflow, we first break up the files into smaller parts. Our certified transcribers — the one’s who have successfully cleared the Transcription Test — can then login to their account and select these part files. Another innovation of our system is that we don’t actually assign files to them. Instead they are asked to choose from the files available. They can preview the file and check the quality before choosing. This creates a competition which in turn ensures that files get done quickly.

For performance monitoring we use a five point grading system; A+/Excellent to D/Poor. The files are graded after the review. Another small innovation of our system is the Diff Preview which shows the changes made during the review. It helps the reviewer to assess the quality of the raw transcript and grade accordingly. Based on the grades a Transcriber can be promoted to a Reviewer. There is a disputes and arbitration system in place too to investigate unfair grading.

Another innovative aspect of our system is it ensures a file is worked on by multiple transcribers and reviewers. The average for a 1 hour file is 15-20. More eyes and more ears on the file does wonders for the transcript quality. During Proofreading all the inconsistencies caused by this methodology are corrected. We will talk about more about Proofreading in the next part fo the series.

Till then if you want a high quality transcript of your audio file which has been checked multiple times by different people, then check out our transcription service today.

The next part of the series is available here.

Transcription System: Workflow

This is a series on Scribie.com’s audio transcription system. The first part which provides an overview is here

Our workflow consists of five steps.

File Splitting -> Transcription -> Review -> Proofreading -> Delivery

We start by splitting the file into smaller parts. The file is split at the 6 minute boundary which produces one or more files of duration 6 minutes or shorter. This is the first little innovation of our transcription process. File splitting breaks down the work into smaller manageable chunks. It helps in many ways. The file can be worked on parallelly by number of transcribers. A huge amount of effort is not wasted if one part has to be re-done. Additionally, we can track the progress precisely.

Transcription is the typing part. On an average it takes around 15-20 minutes to transcribe a 6 minute file. For a lot of our transcribers–who are mostly home-based freelancers–this is not a huge investment of time. Therefore splitting increases the likely hood that the file will be transcribed quickly. In fact on an average it takes around 1 to 1.5 hours to complete the transcription part of a one hour file!

The accuracy of the transcript is very low at this stage; typically around 50 to 80%. Therefore we do a review. The transcript is checked against the audio and all mistakes are corrected. Time-coding and speaker tracking is also added at this stage. Review usually takes 5 to 8 minutes of effort. But it takes longer for all the parts to get reviewed because we have fewer reviewers than transcribers. This is by design since we promote only our best transcribers to reviewers. The review drastically improves the accuracy.

Once all parts are transcribed and reviewed, we can combine them together and prepare the final transcript. However one more round of review is required here. That’s because, since different parts are worked on by different people, there are bound to be inconsistencies. Proofreading is done by a one person who goes through all the parts together and corrects them. The proofreader is an employee of CGBiz LLC (our company). They are the best of the best we have. We train them and pay them a monthly salary rather than an hourly rate.

The transcript is almost done now. However things might not be perfect even now. The proofreader can make mistakes, some more research may be required for certain terms, etc. So before the delivery we do some random checks. We try to gauge whether the quality is indeed at the level we want it to be. We also use keyword analysis (tf-idf to be precise) to identify out-of-context terms and inconsistencies. We review it again if we are not happy with it. Over time we have found that a small percentage of files require re-review; around 2%. Those are generally the most difficult of files.

Once we are satisfied that the transcript is perfect, as best as it can be, we deliver the file. The file is converted into MS Word, Adobe PDF, OpenOffice Text and plain text formats and we notify the customer that the transcript is available for download.

All of the above happens in 1 day and is managed by our transcription system. We charge only $0.99 per minute of the audio for it. So if you want to get a high quality transcript quickly, please do try out our transcription service today.

The next part of the series talks about the Certification Subsystem.

CallGraph: Stereo vs Mono Recording

CallGraph Skype Recorder records by default in stereo mode which means that your voice and other participant(s) voice are on different tracks in the file. While playing back you will hear your voice on one side of the speaker while your caller/callee’s voice on the other side. To force CallGraph to record in a single track change the channels to mono from Configuration -> Recording tab (how-to). This change will affect all subsequent calls recorded with CallGraph. For older one’s, you can convert them to mono using an audio editor (eg. Audacity).

The stereo mode is useful if you’re recording podcasts since you can edit each track separately. Having voices on separate track makes it easier by an order of magnitude. It also helps with the transcription of audio file and we recommend that you record in stereo mode if you plan to get it transcribed.

Sometimes due to misconfiguration of the PC’s playback settings, only one track is audible during playback and it appears that CallGraph is recording only one side of the call, even though Skype connection has been authorized. A quick fix is to set the recording mode to mono.