Whether you’re planning to record a phone interview, Zoom meeting, or a public lecture, you may want a transcript of the words spoken. Why? The process of taking handwritten (or typed) notes detracts from your attention on the speaker and only captures key ideas, not every word. If you want complete documentation of an audio moment, transcription is the way to go. But, which type of translation service is best?
Freelance Translators Vs Automated Translation Services
Turning audio into a text script can easily be achieved by a human freelance translator or an automated translation service using computer-generated intelligence, often referred to as AI, or artificial intelligence.
Going this route means sending your audio file off to a human who will listen to the conversation and type in the exact words they hear. The result is a transcript of every word that could be heard on the audio recording. This option creates the most accurate translation of interviews, speeches, and conversations.
Automated Translations Services
If you choose to work with an automated translation app, or AI service, a computer with an extensive vocabulary and audio recognition skills will listen to the recording and identify the words spoken. This is then converted into a text document. This option yields the most accurate results when the speaker(s) clearly articulate their words, speak at a slow pace, and use everyday language.
Which Type of Translation Service is Best?
Thinking about your needs for the transcript before ordering it will help you decide which route to go. Here are some key differences between ordering transcripts generated by a freelance translator and an automated service.
Benefits of Transcripts Created by Freelance Translators
If you’re looking for the best quality possible—accuracy, legibility, completeness—working with a human to translate your audio file is the top option. Here’s why.
- Better language recognition. Human ears are listening and deciphering each word, which leads to increased accuracy of the text overall.
- Diversity awareness. If the speaker has an accent, a transcriptionist who is familiar with the nuances of the tone can be hired for a more accurate translation.
- Use of reasoning skills. A human translator can decipher between multiple speakers with ease, and label each speaker in the transcript.
- Specialized word recognition. If the speaker uses technical language (medical terms, industry lingo), a translator with expertise in that area can be hired.
- Improved grammar and structure. Since a human is reviewing the audio, the transcript will have proper use of punctuation, paragraph formatting, and spelling. Think of this perk as a light copyedit!
- Correct word selection. A human transcriptionist will understand the broader context of the words used, creating a more accurate translation. For example, if the audio recording is of a lecture about aquatic life in the ocean, the transcriptionist will be able to easily decipher between the use of “see” and “sea” when typing the translation, even though the two words sound the same.
Benefits of Transcripts Created by Automated Services
If you’re in a hurry, using a translation app downloaded on your smartphone or bookmarked on your PC makes sense. Here’s what you can expect if you choose an AI transcription.
- Fast service. Audio files are often converted into text in half the time of the recording. So, an hour-long conversation could be ready to review in as little as 30 minutes. If you’re in a time crunch, this option could save your project.
- Basic notes. If you simply need to retain the gist of the conversation, an AI transcript is detailed enough for your needs. A few missed words or inaccuracies aren’t a big deal if you’re skimming the transcription as you would hand-written notes.
- An idea log. If you need a way to keep your to-do list updated and write down fleeting thoughts, an automated system can capture those short snippets. You can later expand on the ideas or transfer the content to a calendar or planner.
When You Want the Best, Choose a Freelance Translator
If you have both options available to you, choosing a professional human translator to review the audio file and create a direct text translation will yield the most accurate, detailed, and organized representation of the conversation. This is preferred for anyone pulling data or comments from the audio. This might include reporters writing articles with direct quotes from the speakers, students crafting research reports, or professionals gleaning information to include in a white paper.