The Transcription Pros

AI vs. Human: Why manual transcription is here to stay

audio transcriptionIt’s 2018.

Alexa has mastered dad jokes and the all-new Barbie has decided to take on the role of a child’s chief confidant quite seriously.

Speech recognition technology is no doubt evolving at a dizzying pace and the AI vs. human battle is raging pretty hard. So is it time for professional transcribers to hang up their hat?

Apparently not.

This WIRED article reckons automated transcription is at least twice as inaccurate as those produced by humans – that is, the inaccuracy rate of automated transcription is in double digits:

“If you put all the systems together—IBM and Google and Microsoft and all the best combined—amazingly the error rate will be around 8 percent.”…..” This is not as good as humans,” says Xuedong Huang, a senior scientist and speech recognition specialist at Microsoft.

So what makes manual transcription better and the preferred choice for doctors, lawyers, and organizational leaders? Let’s find out.

Accuracy rate

Faster – yes. Cheaper, maybe. But better? We doubt it. Speech recognition technology is a double-edged sword when it comes to long-form transcription. What makes manual transcription better is the level of accuracy in the transcripts produced – most experienced and professional transcribers effortlessly deliver 99% accurate transcripts, no questions asked.

Automated transcription, on the other hand, is at least twice as inaccurate as an inexperienced transcriber, with accuracy levels in their mid-’80s. Essentially, when you rely on automated transcription 100%, anticipate further human intervention to finalize the project to share a quality deliverable with your client.

So in the transcription AI vs. human battle, humans definitely win this one by a large margin.

True to the clip: Word omission issues

Automated transcription software can produce transcripts with a 12% error margin when you feed in a clean audio script.

Guess what happens when an audio clip is less than perfect – omissions galore. Automated transcription fails to remain true to your voice or video clip and ruthlessly skips words, phrases, and sentences to produce a transcript that is heavily compromised on the following significant factors: clarity and quality.

A high-quality audio/video clip is hard to produce unless you’re recording in an exceptionally stable environment. Even professional transcribers need a moment to fish things out from the background noise or overlapping speech in a clip, often relying on context and subject matter expertise to accurately transcribe audio.

Oh, and let’s talk about accents and dialects.

It’s no secret that voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant falter when it comes to ESL accents and derivative dialects, no matter how fluently the speaker is in English. So how do you think the transcript quality will be if you’re a lawyer transcribing the interview of your ESL witness?

Subject matter expertise

Ever had a find and replace nightmare on a word processing software? Maddening right? If only machines could place things better in context…

Highly specialized transcription jobs like legal or medical call for proficiency and experience in the respective fields. No matter how much you fine-tune machine learning, the contextual nuances of a particular subject in a clip can only be understood and improved by human transcribers who know their stuff. Unless you’re happy to deal with gross subject matter gaps in your transcripts produced by speech recognition software, you’ve already joined us to root for manual transcription at this point.

Editing and proofreading

According to a study, automated transcription “lacks certain critical capabilities” and is only good for “providing first-pass transcripts, with silences, for further manual editing.” This means that when you’re opting for automated transcription; your end-to-end transcription requirements are not met.

Essentially, after you receive your (quality-compromised) transcript produced by a speech recognition software, you either have to spend valuable time and energy to edit and proofread your transcript or reach out to yet another vendor to polish the transcript.

What makes manual transcription better, in this case, is that reliable transcription providers ensure that your transcript is not only true to the clip but also meticulously edited and proofread to avoid additional investment at your end.


Some automated transcription software claims to transcribe or clip for a fraction of the cost of traditional transcription methods. However, cheaper isn’t always better – especially since transcription software would be doing the fraction of the work of a professional transcriber. Reliable transcription providers will be happy to share a custom quote for your specific requirements and you’ll not have to worry about additional investments.

 The Wrap

Automated transcription is always praised with a catch – that is, it can be an affordable option only with the right type of audio or that it’s a good starting point to speed up the manual transcription process. But is it reliable enough to fly solo? The numbers don’t lie.

Sure, choosing a reliable transcription provider can take a while – you need to research extensively, ask the right questions, or maybe even opt for a trial before you zero in and partner up. However, once you’ve found the right fit, you don’t need to navigate the ifs and buts of overall accuracy that’s unceremoniously attached to automated transcription. This is the ultimate win in the AI vs. human battle with respect to long-form transcription.

Have questions about your transcription project? Talk to the awesome humans at iScribed!

A career in transcription: Are there clear benefits?

audio transcriptionConsider that a rhetorical question.

If you have strong communication skills, are detail oriented, and have a specialized technical degree such as law or medicine, a career in transcription can be rewarding for you. Now, if you have all of those but lack the technical degree, transcription can still be great for you because businesses all over the world are integrating transcription into their workflow to streamline in-house processes.

And why not? Transcriptions and captions are proving to be great content marketing tools that businesses are scrambling to leverage!

But first, ask yourself these three questions

A highly technical task such as transcription calls for professionals who aim for precision and keep on pushing the boundaries of their previous performance. So, before you set off to build your career in transcription, ask yourself these three simple questions.

How fast can I type?

We speak about 150 to 170 words per minute, and it takes approximately 4 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of audio. You must be thinking: wait, that’s not much! But this also means that an audio clip of 30 minutes will take 120 minutes to be accurately transcribed. Your typing speed is an essential skill to bank on, in this case, to close tasks faster while maintaining quality.

How attentive am I?

This may seem basic, but think again – if you’re transcribing a doctor’s notes or a witness interview, an error in the transcript caused by lack of attention can set off a chain of events with unwelcome consequences. Plus, it’s much easier to transcribe clear audio recorded in a stable environment, but handling background noise, multiple speakers, or thick accents and producing a transcript with 99% accuracy? Not for the easily distracted.

Can I keep a secret?

As a transcriber, you’ll come across confidential information such as proprietary data of a business, case files of a law firm, or a patient’s data from their doctor’s observations pretty much every day. Now, confidentiality breach is a prominent red flag in any profession, but more so in transcription. So, a reliable transcription provider ensures all employees (whether full time or freelance) sign an NDA before getting on board. If you’re comfortable with the idea and think you can uphold the industry ethics, your transcription career will definitely flourish.

Clear benefits of a career in transcription

Increasing demand for qualified workers

Specialized transcription jobs such as legal or medical transcription require both subject matter expertise and technical skills to produce high-quality transcripts. So, if you have a background in medicine or law, a career in transcription can be a great way to leverage your learning.

Lack the technical background but eager to learn, have great attention to detail, and never miss a deadline? General transcription is also growing as a profitable niche.

Flexible working hours

Need more family time or planning to study for another degree? The transcription industry employs a large number of freelancers who are happy about the flexibility their job provides. You can choose your working hours and opt to work remotely or in an office setting as a part-time or full-time transcriber. Agencies will be glad to sign you up on a contract basis with regular work so that you can hone your skills at your own pace while making good money.

Love to learn?

If you believe that life should be all about imbibing as much knowledge as possible, transcription is the perfect industry for you. You’ll learn how to work with modern technology, various software packages, supercharge your research skills, as well as learn the intricacies (for example, nifty shortcuts) of various common applications (such as word processors) to boost your productivity.

Great for those who love a challenge

Doing the same thing day in and day out can lead to dwindling interest at work. However, when you’re opting to be a transcriber, get ready for diversity (even if you’re in a specific niche such as legal transcription) as well as challenges.

Transcription isn’t only about typing everything you hear on an audio clip as fast as you can. A career in transcription means you’ll need to flex your brain muscles quite a bit by testing your analytical skills, polishing your language skills, and upgrading your research skills.

Great payoff

If you’re working multiple jobs and need to supplement your income, you can easily earn about $1000 as a part-time transcriber. On average, transcribers earn about $15-$20 per hour, depending on the level of expertise. Pay is much higher in specialized niches such as legal and medical transcription, so you may consider getting certified if you want to grow your transcription career.

Final Thoughts

A career in transcription is extremely rewarding for dynamic individuals who look for variety and challenges in their day to day work. Not to mention, you get to choose your schedule, work remotely, part time or full time depending on your availability. And the best part? You’re constantly learning new skills, imbibing new information, and upgrading your existing skills as a transcriber.

Looking for a rewarding career in transcription? At iScribed, we’re always on the lookout for dedicated professionals of all levels of expertise – hop on board!

Here’s why your healthcare establishment needs accurate medical transcripts from a reliable provider

medical transcriptionDo you think accurate medical transcripts for your healthcare establishment is a passive investment?

Think again. Medical transcription is one of the fastest growing technical requirements in the healthcare domain with a steady CAGR of 5.6% between 2012 and 2019.

I think we all agree that health care is one industry that banks on reliable data for all business as usual activities. This makes medical transcriptionists highly sought after professionals as they’re central in providing this accurate data to patients and healthcare professionals.

Let’s break down why high-quality medical transcripts from a reliable provider should not be an afterthought in your healthcare establishment.

Accurate medical transcripts for HIPAA compliance

HIPAA or the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 was seminal in popularizing medical transcription as we know it today. HIPAA is a federal statute that made substantial changes to health care laws and was primarily enacted to help workers continue their health insurance benefits when they change jobs. Moreover, this Act has also become an overarching authority on letting patients have greater control over their medical records and the privacy of these documents.

Now, how does HIPAA impact healthcare establishments like yours?

HIPAA standardized the protocols of record keeping, which can be beneficial to you as a medical care provider in ensuring proper treatment of patients as well as serve as comprehensive records to back up insurance claims.

Improved access to reliable medical records

Verified technical documents are always more reliable than verbal communication where there are high chances of incorrect information being passed on. Doctors and primary healthcare professionals always need access to accurate medical records of a patient to swiftly asses a patient’s current condition and customize the treatment according to their medical history. This is especially important because certain drugs cannot be administered to patients with specific allergies or other pre-existing medical conditions, and failure to mention these at the time of diagnosis can render treatment ineffective.

With high-quality medical transcripts, physicians and nurses can quickly access vetted and verified medical records of a patient and proceed with treatment without undue deliberation and speculation.

More collaborative and accurate treatment of patients

It would be an ideal scenario if a patient is diagnosed with a singular medical condition that can be diagnosed and treated by one medical professional. However, our complex anatomy defies such utopian binaries and in most critical cases, a team of medical professionals needs to brainstorm for the best possible treatment route.

An accurate medical transcript is a comprehensive account of everything a team of physicians observes and diagnose. Doctors can record day to observations and send it over for transcription. These transcripts can then be accessed by authorized specialists to diagnose other medical conditions a patient may suffer from.

An error-free transcript is seminal in such cases as any misinterpretation can be fatal for the patient, and a reliable transcription provider can meet these requirements consistently with a reasonable turnaround time.

Reliable records for insurance claims

Accurate medical transcripts are no doubt valuable records for any healthcare establishment. As we discussed, high-quality medical transcripts help doctors expedite care and treatment for a patient. But did you know that medical transcripts serve as reliable records for insurance claims as well?

Essentially, these records are mandatory when you need to claim the expenses for the medical care provided to a patient. Accurate transcripts also ensure consistency in data and can act as an important buffer in case a malpractice suit is filed against your healthcare organization or a particular physician employed by you.

Why you need a reliable transcription provider for your medical transcripts

Medical transcripts for healthcare establishments need to tick a number of boxes to be considered reliable records for use and compliance. Here’s how a reliable transcription provider can be an asset to you.


Accuracy is the most important factor that characterizes high-quality medical transcripts. A professional transcription company employs only experienced subject matter experts with the right technical skills to ensure that the accuracy level of medical transcripts is not compromised. Most reliable transcription providers also integrate a robust quality check step in the transcription process to root out chances of any errors.


HIPAA compliance standards call for secure maintenance of patients’ health records and any breach of information can lead to legal action or monetary penalty. A professional transcription provider upholds the ethics of the industry and can ensure end-to-end security throughout the process.

Rule out additional investment

Many healthcare organizations opt for an in-house transcription team to take care of day to day documentation of patients’ records. However, this requires a significant amount of investment in terms of buying professional equipment and hiring trained staff for the seamless integration of transcription into the workflow of your organization. Moreover, your in-house staff may often face the challenge of keeping up with the volume of audio clips to be transcribed within a short time, which can inevitably compromise the quality of the transcripts.

In such cases, outsourcing your medical transcription to a professional transcription company can streamline your workflow and save you both time and money in the long term.


Get accurate medical transcripts with the iScribed guarantee

At iScribed, we understand how accuracy and improved access to high-quality medical transcripts can help your healthcare establishment thrive. We provide HIPAA compliant medical transcripts to facilitate reliable record keeping and ensure complete security at every step of the transcription process.

Ready to talk about your next project? Reach out to us today!

How can your firm benefit from outsourcing legal transcription to a reliable provider?

Transcription is a seminal part of the workflow of any law firm. But while your attorneys zip around from meetings to hearings, do they really have the time to cross check transcripts created in-house for accuracy?

Moreover, it requires significant investment of time and resources to set up a flawless transcription process in-house, not to mention the average turnaround time when only a couple of paralegals are handling transcripts for all the attorneys. Besides, don’t you want to leverage the real skills of your interns and paralegals and have them contribute productively to the case building process?

If you nodded along, it may be time for you to consider outsourcing your legal transcription requirements to a reliable transcription provider.

So, let’s look at how outsourcing legal transcription to a professional transcription company can benefit your law firm in the long term.

Create an organized ready reckoner and digital index

Accurate document creation and indexing is an important part of the workflow of any business. A professional transcription company understands how important daily documentation is to a thriving legal practice and is ready to provide transcribed files in different formats and with a reasonable turnaround time. This ensures that your in-house staff has improved access to critical, decision-making case files and field notes without your support team having to work overtime at a short notice.

Get specialists and professionals to work on your files

It’s highly unlikely that you’ll ask an inexperienced intern to transcribe a critical interview, deposition, or case file. Plus, an experienced paralegal may be more valuable if they’re involved in the case building process – so what do you do?

Outsourcing your legal transcription works wonders in such situations. A professional transcription company hires experienced specialists who can apply their industry as well as technical, subject-matter knowledge to produce accurate legal transcripts in a shorter time. Lastly, a robust quality assurance process is the backbone of any reliable transcription provider, which rules out chances of errors in your transcripts that may jeopardize a case.

You’re looking at huge savings

Overhead costs are a huge factor that law firms need to consider to remain competitive, increase revenue, and concentrate on providing the best possible services to a client. These costs include everything from the rent for your office space to administrative salaries and go a long way time impact the profitability of your firm, especially when clients are also looking to cut back and economize in most situations.

In such cases, implementing a flawless and fully-functioning in-house transcription workflow will take a significant amount of investment both monetarily and in training time. You’ll need to test various software as well as get attorneys, paralegals, and interns acquainted with the process. Plus, training a new intern for this workflow is a recurring investment of time you can’t possibly avoid if you plan to set up an in-house transcription team.

Outsourced legal transcription is a great option for you in such a scenario. Once you establish a timeline, guideline, and process in collaboration with your transcription partner, this part of your business will run like a well-oiled machine, saving you significant time and money over time.

Increase the productivity of your attorneys

When your attorneys are not busy correcting flaws in the transcripts produced by junior paralegals and interns, they can be more attentive during client interviews and spend more time building a rock solid case.

Besides, dictating or sending a recording for transcription is much easier than reflecting on the numerous meetings, poring over (sometimes illegible) notes taken in a hurry, and typing everything out. Instead, they can upload a recording and send them over to your transcription partner, rush over to another witness interview, and receive the transcribed files once they get back.

A professional transcription company ensures secure storage and transfer of your files while allowing the flexibility of access from anywhere so that your attorneys have no trouble accessing files on the go or if working from home. Essentially, streamlining your transcription process through outsourced transcription can help your attorneys concentrate on the more crucial aspects of a case and bill for the core services your law firm strives to provide.

More time and space to grow your business

When your attorneys are fully immersed in the core functions of your law firm and not distracted by small ancillary tasks that add up and eat away at their precious billable hours, you can concentrate on growing your business. This means you can eventually take up more clients and chalk up the profit margin of your business.

Final Thoughts

Now, your expectations for a streamlined transcription process may fall through if you don’t partner up with the right company. So, choose a transcription provider for outsourcing your legal transcription, try to get as much clarity as you can on the pricing, workflow, turnaround time, and security measures.

At iScribed, we’ve been helping lawyers close cases faster with our high-quality transcripts and would be happy to answer all your questions.

Ready to reap the benefits of outsourced legal transcription? Reach out to us today.