Voice transcription apps are everywhere these days, and they’re getting cheaper. Sometimes, they’re even free. As a result, businesses, healthcare professionals, lawyers, and law enforcement personnel are starting to look into getting one to transcribe their voice recordings instead of transcribing them themselves or outsourcing them to a transcription service provider. Fair enough, because free stuff is always good, right?
Not quite. On paper, it looks like a win-win. But with scrutiny, you might see that the free voice transcription software you’re downloading might come with a price — or several. So, let’s talk about why it’s still a good idea to outsource your transcription to a trusted transcription service provider.
Remember that nothing on the Internet is free. There is a cost for everything here, even if you can’t see it. For the ordinary individual, these costs may not be as high. But for businesses, law enforcement agencies, medical professionals, and lawyers, accuracy is paramount.
Automated Solutions for Audio Transcription Services
Artificial Intelligence is the current king of technological trends. With large-language model chatbots like ChatGPT and Bard taking the world by storm, many industries consider incorporating AI into their workflows. Now, don’t get me wrong, but transcription has had automated speech recognition (ASR) programs since the 50s. However, the recent improvements in AI are pushing the technology forward. Microsoft, Google, and Amazon already have their AI-powered ASR services up, and several transcription companies are also riding the trend, offering their patented ASR services with AI augmentation for different industries that need transcription.
Is it worth it, though?
Automated transcription seems like a good idea on the surface. You could just talk into a phone or a mic, and the program does all the work for you. Or you could send your recordings out to an outsourced partner that uses ASR. But have you used an automated transcription software recently? With the huge leaps in AI development, you’d think that we’d be closer to a completely accurate ASR program.
However, studies into ASR accuracy rates have proven that automatic speech recognition software is having problems breaching the 90% accuracy rate line. According to a recent study published by Statista, the best automated transcription companies could only hit 86% accuracy.
86% might be OK for the occasional recording, but transcription used in business settings requires far more than just 86%. Think about handing in a 1000-word transcription of an earnings call and realizing that it has 140 mistakes. Or entering a verbatim deposition transcript into evidence in court, only to find errors with “there, their, and they’re.” Or the ASR completely flubbing the lines of a speaker with a heavy accent.
Are these are mortifying examples to think about? Sure, maybe you could brush them off or walk away from them unscathed, except for a few scrapes on your dignity. But what if the transcription error resulted in an innocent man getting jailed for a year, which resulted in a defunct business and widespread financial ruin? (Think I’m exaggerating? Search for Carlos Ortega.) Or maybe a medical transcription error resulted in a medical malpractice lawsuit?
Sometimes, the cost of having fast and free or cheap transcription is not worth the potential consequences. Even if you don’t mind a 14% error rate – at best, error-filled transcripts are a pain to deal with. You’d have to have someone proofread and correct all projects, resulting in more time spent on something that should have been done quicker.
Doing Voice Transcription In-House
So, you’ve noticed the problem with ASR software and decided you’d rather have humans work on your transcripts. You shop around for a few transcriptionists and find out that they make $60,000 per year. Then you decide that it’s a bit much for your budget, so you rope in a $37K-a-year office assistant to transcribe audio for you. Even with exceptional skill, that office assistant will not be as fast or as accurate as an experienced transcriptionist. Otherwise, they’d be a transcriptionist. Hiring skilled talent isn’t cheap, and businesses need to be mindful of where they spend their resources to maximize output and profit.
That leaves us with the most affordable and efficient choice for voice transcription: outsourcing to human transcriptionists.
Benefits of Human-Powered Voice and Audio Transcription Outsourcing
Outsourcing is generally considered one of the best ways to keep costs down while maintaining or improving productivity. This is also true for transcription. Here are the proven benefits of outsourcing your transcription needs to human transcribers.
Outsourcing transcription projects allows you to lower labor costs, the biggest expenditure for most companies and agencies. You don’t need to worry about competitive salary packages and benefits. Aside from that, it also allows you to save on infrastructure; your outsourced service provider takes care of the equipment and maintenance costs, allowing you to divert your precious resources to more central aspects of your operation.
Expertise and Accuracy
Finding a good transcription service provider means that you’re getting the services of experienced transcriptionists. The best transcription companies offer services across multiple industries, with some offering language translation services on top of their regular services. This expertise also ensures accuracy, which is the main issue with AI-powered transcription and ASR.
Expert transcribers are familiar with industry-specific terminologies and jargon, allowing them to transcribe dictations faster and more accurately. Furthermore, reputable outsourcing companies have quality control measures in place to ensure highly accurate transcriptions.
Scalability and Flexibility
Scaling in-house teams can be a nightmare, especially when dealing with a non-core but equally important business task like transcription. You might have two transcriptionists on the payroll but only have enough work for one. Or, you might have a ton of recordings to be transcribed but not enough people to do it on time. Outsourcing your voice transcription needs means you can scale up and down based on your current needs. They can handle a large volume of work if required. They’re more flexible, cost-effective, and — provided that you choose a professional transcription company — can ensure high-quality transcripts for audio or video files.
Effective third-party transcription companies can also offer unparalleled customizability. They can handle different audio file formats, make adjustments to the transcript, add things like speaker identification, and other additional services that you can’t get with free automated services.
How To Choose The Best Transcription Services
Now that we’ve covered the benefits of outsourced human transcription, here are the things you need to consider when looking for the best transcription service providers.
Human-powered transcription service providers offer some of the most accurate transcription services available on the internet today. Most ensure 90-95% accuracy, almost 5-10% more than the most accurate ASR.
But if you’re looking for the best of the best, aim higher. Go for companies that offer 99% and more. For accurate transcription, there’s really no substitute for human intelligence.
Time is an essential factor in the transcription industry. Otherwise, companies can just work on simple projects for weeks on end and produce the most accurate transcript ever. However, you don’t have to sacrifice time for accuracy. Reputable transcription service providers offer reasonable turnaround times while maintaining their accuracy guarantees.
One of the most prevalent points against outsourcing any business process is the potential for security and privacy breaches. After all, you’re sending confidential information to your third-party service provider that is essential for them to do their jobs. Voice transcription is no exception here; doctors routinely discuss protected patient details, lawyers dictate privileged information for recording, and businesses often discuss crucial developments and decisions. Your choice of outsourced transcription provider must consider security a priority. Look for companies that offer comprehensive security protocols like the following:
- Detailed Reporting and Tracking
- Individually Defined User Access Levels
- Multi-Factor Authentication and Encryption
- Individual User Names, Passwords, and PINs
- Scaled Network Redundancy
- Virtual Private Network (VPN) Integration
- Dedicated Data Centers
- SSL 256-bit Encryption
- HIPAA and CJIS compliance
If you work in legal and law enforcement, don’t forget to check if your provider is CJIS-compliant. CJIS compliance is a legal requirement for entities handling criminal justice information. It ensures organizations — whether a government agency or a third-party provider — adhere to specific security and privacy standards mandated by CJIS policies. Strict access controls and authentication mechanisms are also implemented to prevent unauthorized individuals from tampering with transcripts. If your business is in the healthcare field, HIPAA-compliant providers are your best bet. HIPAA compliance is similar to CJIS compliance in that they are legal mandates that require entities handling sensitive information to submit to and pass strict security measure requirements.
We Check All the Boxes
At Ditto Transcripts, we offer secure, accurate, and affordable transcription services with fast turnaround times that cover various fields such as business, academic, legal, law enforcement, medical, and more. Our transcriptionists are all 100% human, 100% U.S.-based. We offer pay-as-you-go services and don’t require long-term contracts. Most importantly, we have an accuracy rating of 99% or higher. Contact us today at (720) 287-3710 and learn more about how our voice transcription services deliver outstanding quality results while saving you time and money.