What is Transcription Software?
Transcription software converts audio or video input into text output. Audio input can come from all types of recorded conversations, including interviews, video recordings with audio, voice memos, etc. The main benefit that transcription tools and services provide is the amount of time and manual effort users can save.
These types of tools can be used for both business and personal use. For example, individuals can use this software to transform recorded voice memos or dictation into usable text, or extract written insights from a recorded interview. Businesses can also use these tools to transcribe interviews, focus groups discussion, or panel discussions.
Another prominent business use case for transcription software is to record and transcribe sales and customer service calls. These recordings and transcripts can then be used to provide insights about the conversation and coach sales or customer service reps to help improve their performance. Some Sales Enablement software like Chorus.ai and Gong.io provide call/meeting transcription as a feature within their larger platform. Web and Video Conferencing tools may also offer online meeting recording and transcription.
Types of Transcription Tools
While all transcription software performs the same function, there are a few different types of tools and services to be aware of.
There are automatic transcription services where the user uploads a file and it is automatically transcribed using automatic speech recognition (ASR). Certain features like speaker identification and adding timestamps into the transcript may cost extra, depending on the tool. Some ASR software uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities, a form of artificial intelligence technology. However, other ASR services are more basic and they may have a lower cost than more complex tools.
Some ASR transcription tools require humans to check the quality of the transcription before it’s sent back to the customer. There are also high-touch transcription services where all of the transcribing is done by a human.
Along with differences in transcription methodology, there are also differences in terms of the scope of the software or service. On the one hand, transcription software point-solutions primarily offer transcription capabilities and provide few other features (if any). On the other hand, there are other types of tools (e.g. sales enablement or video conferencing) that primarily perform a different function and offer transcription capabilities on the side.
Transcription Software Features
All transcription software has the ability to intake audio and/or video and convert it to text output. However, some tools do this via file uploads whereas others can perform real-time transcription for online meetings and calls. More high-touch tools may rely solely on human audio-to-text processing.
Most tools also offer speaker identification and time stamping, though these may have an additional cost.
More advanced tools and services may provide the following features:
Transcript summaries and key points
File sharing and collaboration
Bulk file importing and exporting
Exporting in multiple file formats (HTML, Word, PDF, etc.)
Integrations with other business tools
However, keep in mind that certain transcription software or service providers prioritize the accuracy and speed of the transcription over having a wide range of features. For example, some tools promise a one-day turnaround time or have human workers manually transcribe the audio/video file to guarantee accuracy.
Transcription Software Comparison
Before investing in either a transcription tool or other type of software that performs audio to text transcription, consider the following factors.
Scope of the product: is your organization looking for a tool or service primarily to transcribe meetings, interviews, conversations, etc? Or are you looking for a meeting recording, analytics, and transcription platform that can help train your sales or customer service reps and? Depending on your use case, one of these types of tools may be better suited for your business.
Price: are you looking for a relatively cheap transcription product or service and don’t require additional features? Or do you need a transcription solution that offers additional capabilities, like speaker identification and bulk file uploads, and can guarantee accuracy? More basic tools will cost less and more complex tools or services that rely exclusively on human-based text processing will be more expensive.
Speed and accuracy: how much do you care about the speed and accuracy of the transcription? Make sure to research what turnaround time different transcription tools and services offer. Some tools provide multiple options, such as a 24-hour, 48-hour, and 72-hour transcription processing times. Tools that rely on human effort will likely be a little more accurate than those that are mostly or completely automated.
Transcription Software Pricing
There are a few common pricing models transcription tools and service providers use. Some services charge a fee per file to be transcribed, which usually varies based on the size of the file, number of minutes in the recording, and percentage accuracy guaranteed. Prices can vary from $0.10 per minute up to $2 per minute for higher accuracy levels.
Some providers also offer faster transcription turnaround times, which typically cost more than the standard processing time. For example, if 4-day turnaround time costs $1 per minute, a 24-hour turnaround time may cost a few dollars more per minute. Tools or services that use this one-off pricing model are ideal for users that occasionally need to transcribe audio or video files.
Other transcription tools designed for more frequent use have a subscription-based pricing model. These products/services usually charge per user per month, and may provide an allotted number of minutes per month. Prices can range from $5 per user per month up to $25 per user per month, depending on the range of features included.