Worried About AI Taking Over for Transcriptionists?

May 14, 2023

The fear that AI will replace human transcriptionists is becoming a FAQ (frequently asked question) around here. It's no wonder since you can't be on the Internet without hearing about ChatGPT and all the wonders of AI. I wrote a blog post about it back in February 2021 and what was written then still holds true today. You can read that article here:

6 Reasons AI Can’t Replace Human Transcriptionists

But let's explore where we are today and the implications for us humans in the transcription industry.

AI transcription technology has made significant advancements in recent years, offering fast and accurate transcriptions for various applications. While AI transcription systems can handle many transcription tasks effectively, there are still certain limitations to consider.

AI transcription excels at processing large volumes of audio or video content quickly, making it an efficient tool that experienced transcriptionists may use.  It can provide a foundation for generating initial transcriptions, saving time and effort for human transcriptionists. However, there are challenges that AI transcription systems currently face:

  1. Accuracy: Although AI transcription has improved, it is not flawless. Complex audio, multiple speakers, background noise, or accents can still pose challenges for AI algorithms. Human transcriptionists, with their linguistic expertise and contextual understanding, often produce more accurate transcriptions, especially in specialized domains.
  2. Contextual Comprehension: AI transcription lacks the ability to fully grasp the contextual nuances of language, including sarcasm, idioms, or cultural references. Human transcriptionists, on the other hand, can interpret these elements more effectively, resulting in more accurate and meaningful transcriptions.
  3. Editing and Quality Control: Human transcriptionists are skilled at reviewing and refining transcriptions, ensuring accuracy and consistency. They can identify errors, correct misunderstandings, and adapt to specific client requirements. AI transcription systems still requires human intervention to achieve the desired level of quality.  

Considering these factors, it is unlikely that AI transcription will completely replace human transcriptionists in the foreseeable future. However, AI technology can serve as a valuable tool, increasing efficiency and productivity for human transcriptionists. It may also reduce the time and cost associated with transcription tasks while providing a starting point for further editing and refinement. We have grads who are using it to speed up their work process and, by doing so, are increasing their bottom line in revenue. Not all who have tried it are thrilled with it, but it's a tool to try out if interested. 

But be warned, AI is not a substitute for a trained and qualified transcriptionist. There's so much more to what we do than simply type what we hear. The most challenging aspects of our training focus on English grammar and punctuation. These are the skills that set us apart from AI models and wannabe transcriptionists. An AI-produced transcript that hasn't been edited by a skilled human transcriptionist is pretty useless to our clients. They depend on us for clear and accurate transcripts. 

Conclusion:  The collaboration between AI and human transcriptionists is likely to continue, resulting in improved transcription processes overall.

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