Will AI Eliminate the Need for Human Transcriptionists?

Transcription is a tedious process because the transcriber has to play and rewind the recording to make sure that everything in the recording was captured. Many businesses need transcription services as text copies of audio and video recordings are easier to share, handle and refer to when needed.

But the advancement in artificial intelligence or AI is threatening human transcription services. Accuracy in voice recognition continues to improve. Many tech giants such as YouTube, Google, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook are just a few of the companies that are introducing new applications regularly, particularly in the area of voice. 


Will AI replace human transcription?

Transcriptionists and translators are worried that AI will replace them, meaning that they will be losing their jobs. It's undeniable that voice recognition and other applications are possible with AI and that it can facilitate many tasks. But human ability is still a big factor to consider.

Depending on the client's needs, the transcription captures everything that is said, including pauses and other utterances. Even with the maturity of AI technology, it is not that advanced to fully understand human speech to the level where AI can capture the same context and meaning in a foreign language.

Tech companies such as Microsoft and Google claim that they have developed an app capable of voice recognition. A machine only needs to recognize and emulate human speech in one language, such as Spanish, even if the machine does not understand the language. In that aspect, machine transcription is applicable.



AI technology poses a challenge to transcription services. But while the challenge is there, you should also acknowledge that there is a challenge to AI as well. There's a big promise regarding AI technology. However, when it comes to language technology, AI technology will have some issues. Human transcriptionist can separate speech from other noises going on in the background. Machines, on the other hand, cannot do that.

Aside from that, there are other challenges for AI when it comes to transcription:

  • Understanding speaker/s accents
  • Understanding style of speech, colloquialisms and slang
  • Multiple speakers
  • Identifying or isolating individual speakers
  • Handling simultaneous speeches of multiple speakers
  • Understanding speech/accent of non-native speakers
  • Understanding irony, sarcasm and other aspects of speech
  • Translation into target languages
  • Understanding pauses and other conversational nuances

Despite these challenges, we can expect AI to continue developing. Advanced technology can make the application correct its shortcoming, just like what AI transcription by Verbit is doing right now.


Is it going to be a competition between technology and humans?

Many think that technology presents a battle between humans and technology. Both of them differ in their weaknesses and strengths. What you need to remember is that AI technology will not replace human transcribers. Instead, AI and humans can work together. AI technology still struggle with complex dialogue, audio quality and other features of human speech that technology cannot handle, but it continues to learn and does not make too many mistakes. If AI can achieve 50% accuracy, then human transcribers can take care of the remaining 50%, to improve the quality of the transcription. It's going to be a win-win situation.

Image: https://pixabay.com/photos/radio-studio-audio-sound-record-4245029/


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