It’s no secret that technology is marching onwards all the time. With this, there have been many improvements for convenience and ease. For example, we now, all of us, use audio and video recording much more often. Want to make training materials for your company? Video seminars are the go-to now. Want to make notes of important meetings? Audio recordings are quick and easy and save time compared to having to write notes. Audio and video files are a common part of life now.
So, where do transcriptions come in?
It’s quite simple – if you have audio and video files, you will almost certainly need a transcription, where the spoken words are turned into written text. This is why audio transcription services offer the ability to have your audio and video files turned into accurate text. This can be super important for a range of reasons.
Most importantly, people with hearing problems cannot access content if the words are only spoken. Providing subtitles, transcripts, or notes can help make these files accessible to all. This is particularly vital with training material or audio notes but can be hugely important in entertainment media and seminars.
It can also be much quicker for people to have access to text logs of meetings and notes. Even if they speak the original language of the audio, it can take far too long for multiple people to listen through audio to find the relevant bits. This can waste your company’s time and energy. It is much more efficient to get the audio transcribed into written words so people can quickly and easily search through the text using search functions to find what they need with minimum difficulty.
Further, transcription is an important first step if you need to have the audio or video translated into a different language. This allows you to get accurate subtitles to bring your content to a wider international audience. This is very useful if you want to avoid re-recording content entirely for these new audiences, which can be very impractical. For example, suppose you have a seminar with experts speaking or entertainment media. In that case, it is almost impossible to recreate it in every language, so getting a transcription and translation is much more practical.
What is the difference between translation and transcription?
Unlike translation, which is a very common thing to come across, transcription is somewhat lesser-known.
Translation means taking the audio in the original language and accurately putting it into a new target language. This is very common with media – for example, a huge surge in popularity of Asian-language dramas in the UK and America has necessitated translating the tv shows into English. In businesses, companies hiring remotely has meant that more training material has to be translated into various languages.
Transcription is the act of taking the spoken word and writing them into text, as discussed above.
In many cases, such as supplying subtitles, the two work together. After all, it would be upsetting to many viewers or trainees if the subtitles on a video were only available in the source language.
Can a machine transcribe my audio?
Another way that technology is moving forward is in the rise of computer programs for language purposes. Various computer programs can detect speech in a video or audio and offer captions or subtitles or supply you with a transcript. However, these programs are not always as advanced as we would hope. Many of these programs are still quite rudimentary and can struggle to transcribe audio accurately.
When do they struggle? Computers often have trouble recognizing accents, particularly of non-native speakers of a language. Suppose you see subtitled with [unintelligible] every other line. In that case, it is probably because a computer program has failed to pick up the words being spoken. The worst part is that a properly trained native-speaking transcriber will probably perfectly understand these words and transcribe them much more accurately than the machine.
Another case where computer transcriptions can struggle is with technical language. There is a surprising amount of specialist language used in some audio, for example, medical seminars, technical training videos, and other specialist media. While computers may manage to pick up most words, they can struggle with some of these complex terms, where a human transcriber can use the audio context to more accurately transcribe it.
There are various reasons why a trained professional transcription service is the better choice for many cases. It is, of course, up to you to decide what type of transcription you need, but hopefully, this post has explained a bit about the art of audio transcriptions.
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