In our previous post, we argued that Big Brands should have a preference for working with specialists, and that market research firms should keep this in mind while choosing their preferred suppliers.
Due to the highly fragmented nature of the transcription industry, there are thousands of small to medium sized businesses that are not able to serve the needs of big brands. They face the following key challenges – limited workload capacity, slow turnaround times, limited ability to deal with linguistic diversity, and lack of confidentiality due to IT infrastructure.
In the past five years, the transcription industry has been transformed. With the rise of speech processing technologies, micro-tasking, and cloud computing – smart and scalability companies are able to serve the requirements laid down by Big Brands: accuracy, confidentiality, and speed.
Let’s revisit the four key challenges we identified in the previous post and understand the impact the new technologies have on them.
1. Capacity: Micro-tasking is about separating a large job into smaller segments that are processed by different people. These people could be anywhere. In the context of transcription, the amount of educated, skilled and trained workforce now looking for work online means that there are practically no limitations to capacity. Transcriptionists are in fact a global workforce. However, to be able to utilize this group efficiently to build capacity, businesses need a specialized technology infrastructure which allows them to virtually manage efficiently – a capability usually out of bounds for most non-specialist transcription companies.
2. Turnaround time: Transcription is a time and labor-intensive activity. For an individual transcriber working on a 60 minute audio file, it would usually take between 3-4 hours to complete the transcription. However, if we could split the 60 minute worth of work into 1-minute long pieces, and send it to 60 transcribers, the total time required to complete the job would come down drastically. The ability to process many micro-tasks in parallel is revolutionary to delivering fast turnaround times for complex audio.
3. Dealing with Diversity: Big Brands are present across the globe with customized product lines in each market. Although English is considered as the de facto international business language, everyone, from Dallas, Texas to Paris, France, has an accent and local dialect. So a professional transcriber based in USA might not be able to understand and accurately convert focus groups happening in Singapore. Alternatively, specialist transcription companies that recruit and retain their own global workforce from all geographical regions have the ability to transcribe audio recordings in virtually all accents. The key here is to connect the right customers to the right transcribers. This is possible for two types of companies: very large, very expensive ones, or ones which have access to on-demand global workforce.
4. Confidentiality and IT Infrastructure: Confidentiality of research data is critical for all brands. Manual, traditional transcription service providers are by their very nature exposing a large amount of data to individuals who can consume enough of it to be dangerous. Best-in-Class companies do two things differently. First, they store data on secured servers maintained by leading technology companies like Amazon and Microsoft. Second, at TranscribeMe, we go a step further and segment a single audio file into many chunks only few seconds long, making sure that no one transcriber listens to more than 10% of the audio, and that none of that audio is continuous. The result is an unprecedented level of data security.
Considering the technological solutions discussed above, it is clear that with the transcription industry is moving forward to produce better results, in shorter turnaround times while maintaining superior confidentiality.
What are the takeaways?
- The transcription industry is going through a fundamental change – one powered by changing IT infrastructure and speech algorithms, global workforce trends.
- A new level of service is now possible – one which costs less, but produces more accurate and secure data than ever before.
- Big Brands should work with market research firms to engage with specialist transcription partners that the diversity and scalability to support their projects worldwide.
We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below. Alternatively, if you enjoyed reading this post, feel free to share it with your networks by sharing on twitter, facebook or linkedin using the buttons above.
Written by Chirag Ahuja & Bethanie Maples Krogstad.