Transcription goes all the way back to the Egyptian pharaohs. In fact, a scribe (sesh) in еhe Egyptian court was a prized position that garnered much privilege for the lucky people awarded the job. The historic scribe is in fact the modern day transcriptionist. Instead of taking ink to papyrus, today’s scribe takes audio file to keyboard to convey to text the words spoken – not by a pharaoh, but by a law enforcement officer, a medical professional or one of the other numerous occupations which employ the transcription tool today. It’s a professional tool that is becoming increasingly sophisticated, and at the same time, easier to use and access.
Simply put, transcription is the text output of a live or recorded speech. Not necessarily like the Martin Luther, I have a dream speech. Speech dictated today may be a simple instructional sentence or it may be a recording of a meeting or any other type of spoken content. As the ways of recording speech become more accessible, more people are willing to use the medium to save time and make learning or business, or life even, more efficient.
It isn’t just the ways of recording which have become simplified, although they have indeed become simplified! Just imagine, today a person can take any smartphone, speak into it and that speech is converted to text either through computer technology or through human computing. While the methods for recording will give fairly consistent value across the board, it is the conversion to text, or the method that text is converted, which determines the overall value and quality of the text or transcription.
Sadly, to date that quality has been poor. So poor San in fact that despite the many advantages of transcription, usage of transcription services has been relatively static since the time of the pharaohs. So why with the tremendous advances in voice recognition and computer technology, is the quality of the transcript still so poor?
That was the question TranscribeMe asked and, having the resources, the intellectual firepower, and some great new technology, that is the problem they set out to solve. To understand how TransribeMe succeeds it is helpful to understand TranscribeMe where traditional transcription methods failed.
The Technology of Transcription
Linguistic nuance, differing accentuation and multiple speakers are issues that have caused significant problems for transcription software specialists in the past. TranscribeMe have successfully created a technology that is so finely tuned to individual speech patterns that it can distinguish between multiple speakers within a single conversation.
This is a major breakthrough on the user/dictation side of transcription. This finely tuned technology overcomes the first hurdle of software that can decipher linguistic nuance but it is only the first step to achieving accurate text transcription.
Using a Crowd for Transcription
Using human crowds as computers to provide services is a relatively new concept that is developing at an alarming rate of knots. That is because as we see the technological hurdles that cannot yet be overcome with code or hardware we realize more profoundly the ability of a large force of pooled people resources. People resources that, using modern communications, can be brought together like never before.
Because crowd sourcing is a new game there is a great movement afoot to fully grasp the power of the crowd and how it might be harnessed to complement technology and provide services over a broad range of fields. The modern crowd of transcribers may well be significant enough to enjoy the esteem and favor once afforded to the highly prized educated scribes of Ancient Egypt.