I’m Alexei, the co-founder and CEO of TranscribeMe, and I wanted to spend this week’s post on discussing something pretty key to what we are doing – the concept of microtasking. I’ve been talking about microtasking with our customers and investors over the last few months, and wanted to share with you the learnings that I had.
What is MicroTasking?
At the core of it, microtasking is about separating a large job into smaller segments that could be processed by different people. Why is this important, particularly in the field of converting audio to text? There are two main reasons – an increase in the speed of processing, and improvement in multi-tasking. Lets cover them one at a time.
1. Increase in processing speed
Imagine a job that takes someone a couple of hours to complete. It could be proof-reading an essay, completing a research piece, drafting a long document or, in our case, transcribing a complex piece of audio into text. Rather than spending two hours with one person working on the entire job, it could be split up into two blocks with an hour worth of work in each, and two separate people could complete each block. This just halved the time it takes to complete the work!
Now lets take it a step further, and instead of two blocks of 1-hour segments, lets split the two hours worth of work into 1-minute long pieces. This is something that can now be taken to 120 people, and the total time required to do the job goes down to just 1 minute. Of course the total effort required is still the same, but for time-critical work, this is a game changer. The ability to parallelize the processing of microtasks is key to delivering lightning-fast turnaround for complex jobs.
2. Improvements in multi-tasking
On the other hand, lets consider a scenario where multiple workers are not available, and a single person has to complete the work by him or herself. The examples of use cases are similar, and here lets focus again on the transcription work, perhaps in a secretarial context. There are often times when the audio isn’t time sensitive, but the secretary doing the transcription has many other small jobs on their plate that all need their attention. Here the second benefit of microtasking comes into play – an improvement in the ability to multi-task. Rather than having to dedicate two hours of time in one uninterrupted block, the transcriber is able to complete series of microtasks during their available downtime, and stop and return to the work at any time. This is an obvious improvement to time management, and helps people prioritize their work while also doing useful microtasks when they are less busy.
MicroTasking at TranscribeMe
In the context of transcription, both these points are very important. There are times when a near real-time turnaround is required from the transcribers, and there are of course times when a job has a longer lead time and can wait. Being able to support both these use cases, in a safe, secure and scalable ways, has been the emphasis of TranscribeMe since we started the company. By microtasking the audio into small bite-sized chunks, we are both supporting the workflow for transcribers wanting to monetize their downtime, and the requirements from our customers for quality transcriptions with a very fast turnaround time on the TranscribeMe WorkHub. All this is made possible by microtasking our work, and the transcription space is just one of the areas where this dramatically revolutionizes the space. What other areas can you think of where microtasking could be a game changer?
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