Virtually everyone is familiar with the first statement the American astronaut Neil Armstrong made once he first stepped on the Moon on July 20, 1969: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Considering that “man” is the same as “mankind”, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to say that something was a “small step for mankind” as well as a “giant leap for mankind”. There’s a reason this doesn’t make sense – it’s not what he said. Actually, what Armstrong said was: “That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind.” The difference between what he said and what was heard can be attributed to the audio quality of the time as well as Armstrong’s native central Ohio accent, where “for a” and “for” can sound remarkably similar to non-natives.
Understandably, not all verbal communication is this historically significant, but this does demonstrate the value of high quality transcription services, especially in situations where knowing the correct words is important. Though things have slightly changed over the last half century, contrary to what would be assumed in the age of the Internet, transcription is far more needed and more valuable than ever before.
When it comes to transcription service, we often fail to see the full set of benefits that it can offer a business. Often, when the word itself is used, our minds go directly to the most used application, medical transcription, or to images of dictation and transcription; however, in the New Media Age, where there are numerous platforms for connecting with a global community of associates, supplies, consumers, and stakeholders, it can conceivably be used for transcribing and subtitling videos, webinars, TV and audio programs, legal and court hearings transcripts, transcription services at conferences, seminars, and other meetings, market research and focus groups transcriptions, HR documenting and business reporting.
And when it comes to materials in foreign languages, proper transcription can provide the error-free primary language to assure that a correct translation is achieved.
To most people, transcription seems like easy work, but consider that the average person speaks at a rate of 150 to 170 words per minute, which equals to around 10,000 words per hour, and that we speak 7 times faster than we write, and 4 times faster than we type. Furthermore, consider how challenging the proper sound recognition of very specific and terminology-full content; e.g. scientific, pharmacological, financial, could be. And then the correct rendering of names or sequences of numbers and formulas.
Some are now seeing speech-recognition technology as a replacement for transcription, but, much like the earlier example, it relies too heavily on what it thinks it hears, regardless of the speaking pattern of the user, and is thus prone to mistakes. At the current state of technology, top-notch voice recognition used to transcribe conversational speech over the phone, results in an error rate of around 8%, performing about as twice as bad as humans. This means that 8 words out of 100 are incorrect. And the experiments were all performed in a so-to-say optimal scenario of a good audio quality, clear speaking and easy language, while in reality, transcription – more often than not – is required for source materials of a fairly poor quality.
Unlike the spoken word or any type of speech recognition software, professional transcription services assure that the full message, exactly as it is intended, is being transmitted to the audience.
Take a strategic approach to transcription and partner with EVS Translations. We can help your business create and transcript content that drives growth!