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Pros and Cons of Using a Free Transcription Service to Transcribe a Video

By: Brittany Corners | Published: June 26, 2015

Pros and cons of using a free transcription serviceWhether your business is seeking to transcribe a video for use in market research or to expand your market share into other countries, it is important to examine the pros and cons of using a free service, such as YouTube’s built-in captioning software, to determine whether it is a sensible option for your company’s long term goals.

Pros: Reasons to use a free service to transcribe a video

1. It’s FREE

YouTube and other video sharing platforms offer free transcription software to anyone who wishes to transcribe his or her own videos – no strings attached.

2. It’s quick and easy

Once you’ve uploaded your video to YouTube, you can use the closed-captioning options in the edit menu to create, edit and download a transcription of the audio track.

Cons: Reasons to think twice before using a free service to transcribe a video

1. Unreliable results

Transcription software may be available for free, but there is still a cost attached to it. Be prepared to spend some time and aggravation correcting errors.

While voice recognition software has made great strides in recent years, it is often grossly inaccurate. The software has difficulty handling various dialects, and any mumbling or variations in speech patterns can affect your results. Google claims an accuracy rate of just 80 percent, whereas a reputable transcription service like Transcribe.com can transcribe a video with 98-99 percent accuracy.

2. Limited capabilities

The use of free transcription software is most effective when there is a single speaker who is sitting still, as any extraneous sounds, such as paper shuffling, pencil-tapping or cross-talk from others in the room, can be picked up by sensitive microphones and make it difficult for the software to transcribe correctly.

 

If your business rarely needs to transcribe a video, and you have additional resources available to correct the captions in-house, then using a free service may be a viable option. However, if your company is like most businesses, time is one resource that is always in short supply. Delays in rolling out a new product or service may be the difference between staying ahead of and falling behind market trends; make sure your staff members are devoting their time and talents to the critical tasks you hired them to do and leave specialized skills, like transcription, to the professionals. This way you work smarter – not harder – at staying ahead of the competition.


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