All About AI Transcription: Benefits, Use Cases, and Limitations

Jan 12 2024 VITAC
An open laptop on a desk against a dark backdrop. On the screen is barely visible lines of transcription.

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Over the last several years, artificial intelligence (AI) has emerged as a transformative force, reshaping the way we interact with technology and how we go about our daily routines. Recent research suggests that 64% of business leaders expect ongoing advances in artificial intelligence to boost their productivity and enhance their customer relationships. 

Transcription is one process that stands to be uniquely impacted by recent developments in artificial intelligence. Thanks to ever-evolving language and learning models, transcribing audio to text has never been faster or easier. But are there limitations to these new AI-powered transcription solutions? In this article, we will discuss some of the basics of AI transcription and discuss when it does and does not make sense to take advantage of this exciting new technology.

What is AI Transcription?

First, it’s important to understand the basic definition of transcription. Transcription refers to the process of converting audio to text. Transcripts can be generated from a wide range of media content like movies, television shows, phone calls, podcasts, and more. Experts have long touted the importance of transcription as an accessibility tool for anyone who needs or prefers to engage with information in a written format.

In a traditional transcription process, an individual transcriber would be tasked with listening to a piece of audio and manually transcribing every audio element they hear. This process tends to be very labor intensive, and human transcribers must have a substantial amount of training and experience to produce sufficiently accurate transcripts.

AI transcription has revolutionized the transcription process by eliminating the need for a human transcriber and relying instead on a kind of software known as automatic speech recognition technology or ASR. In an AI transcription process, audio information is input into a digital transcription program where it is interpreted and represented as text by a computer. Automatic speech recognition technology uses language and learning models to correctly interpret human speech and convert specific sounds (or phonemes) as written language.

Professionals across several different industries can benefit from the efficiency associated with AI transcription. When used correctly, transcripts can improve accessibility and boost productivity in the workplace, classroom, and beyond. However, it’s important to understand that not all projects are best served by AI transcription, and there are many situations in which a professional should utilize a human transcriber rather than relying upon a computer program.

A man stands at a desk and works on a computer. A microphone, mouse, and keyboard are on the desk.

Benefits of AI Transcription

Implementing AI transcription in the workplace is a great way to improve the quality of your communications while supporting the diverse needs of modern professionals. Because many AI transcription solutions are fully digital, they can be easily integrated with CRM systems, communication platforms, and other digital spaces.

Transcription solutions may be of particular value to companies with global, hybrid, and remote workforces. Providing transcripts of phone calls, virtual meetings, Zoom calls, and other communications can help to ensure that all employees receive equitable messaging regardless of whether they are engaging in a discussion virtually or in person. Providing accurate transcripts of these communications can also cut back on the need for individual employees to take meticulous meeting notes during a discussion, so everyone can engage more fully in the moment.

AI transcription tools can be used in conjunction with the digital platforms a team already interacts with daily, and final transcripts can often be exported in a wide range of file formats depending on the specific needs of a team member or project. The text of a transcript can easily be converted to other supported formats or pasted into Google Docs, email platforms, and more. Many virtual transcription platforms allow users to export and import files with ease, which further streamlines the transcription process and allows team members to collaborate more effectively. 

Use Cases for AI Transcription

AI transcription tools can be used to support a wide variety of media projects and communication efforts. Here are just a few of the ways professionals across various industries can take advantage of AI-powered transcription solutions:

  • Transcribing lectures and seminars
  • Transcribing interviews for news articles
  • Transcribing podcasts into written notes
  • Transcribing videos to create subtitles and translations
  • Transcribing business meetings and conference calls
  • Transcribing voice memos and recordings for personal use
A man sits in an office. He is wearing headphones and working at a desktop station.

Limitations of AI Transcription

Artificial intelligence can do remarkable things, and its transcription capabilities are only expected to expand over time. Currently, however, AI transcription technology is not without its limitations. Computers perform best under heavily controlled conditions. Subsequently, AI transcription tools often struggle to accurately represent speech if a recording:

  • Features low-quality audio
  • Includes multiple speakers
  • Contains a substantial amount of overlapping speech
  • Includes speakers with diverse accents or dialects
  • Contains a lot of background noise

All these variables can substantially impact AI’s ability to interpret and represent the audio of a recording and result in a final transcript containing a substantial number of errors. In order to support modern accessibility requirements, written transcripts must achieve exceptionally high rates of accuracy. Failing to accurately represent the information contained in an audio or video recording would make it difficult for community members with certain disabilities and learning needs to engage fully and equally.

For this reason, it is highly recommended that any professional seeking to use transcription as an accessibility tool opts for a solution that does not rely on artificial intelligence alone. VITAC offers comprehensive transcription support that combines both AI transcription and manual transcription to produce highly accurate final transcripts that don’t compromise on efficiency or cost-effectiveness. Users can easily upload a recording to VITAC’s platform where it will be transcribed by AI, edited by human professionals, and made available for download in a variety of popular file formats. 

VITAC vs. Other Transcription Services

Many popular speech-to-text platforms on the market rely solely upon artificial intelligence to complete transcription projects. Google, Azure, IBM, and Dragon Professional all offer speech-to-text products professionals can use to boost efficiency and streamline communication. However, these AI-powered solutions can all be encumbered by some of the variables we outlined above and fail to achieve the accuracy rates dictated by today’s accessibility standards.

VITAC’s process stands apart from that of other transcription services in that our transcription approach combines the speed and efficiency of artificial intelligence with the diligence and accuracy of professionally trained human transcribers. Our platform integrates seamlessly with popular media hosting and communication platforms, which makes it fast and easy for professionals to incorporate transcription into their everyday routines. In comparison to other popular digital transcription solutions, VITAC consistently delivers more reliable, accurate and compliant final transcripts.

VITAC offers transcription options for pre-recorded content as well as live communications, so professionals across all industries can share information with their community members more effectively across the board. Live transcription is a great way to make Zoom meetings, conference calls and webinars more accessible, engaging, and inclusive while simultaneously producing highly accurate records of critical business communications.

A padlock sits atop a keyboard. The scene is bathed in a strange green and red lighting.

Privacy and Security Considerations

In addition to considering the relative accuracy rates of different transcription solutions, it is important for professionals to bear in mind their particular privacy and security needs. Many industries demand high-level security protocols, and not all AI-powered transcription solutions are up to the task. Prior to utilizing any transcription service, it is important for users to carefully research, read, and review all listed policies pertaining to data handling, storage, and user consent. Data security may be of particular concern to professionals working in the medical, legal, or financial fields, but all professionals should maintain an awareness of how their sensitive data is being handled by their chosen software solutions.

VITAC recognizes the critical need for enhanced security and protective measures when working with potentially sensitive data and personal information. As a result, our experienced technology and security staff actively:

  • Maintains high-level security applications, environments, and practices
  • Implements prioritized security enhancements
  • Creates and audits annual employee security awareness training
  • Collaborates with industry specialists to assess and implement recommendations that serve our clients and community

Trust the Experts

The benefits and diverse applications of AI transcription technology are far-reaching and have the potential to revolutionize how we engage with information and communicate with one another. Transcription solutions are a great tool for ensuring all community members receive more equitable, effective messaging and can help support the unique needs of modern professionals and consumers alike. With future developments, AI transcription technology has the potential to make transcription solutions more readily available to the global population.

That being said, it’s important to consider the limitations of this burgeoning technology when trying to select the right transcription tool for specific projects or populations. While AI transcription tools offer a high level of convenience, they may not be appropriate for all use cases. If you are looking for an easy-to-use transcription solution that delivers on efficiency, accuracy, and data security, VITAC’s platform might offer the full-spectrum support you need. If you’d like to learn more about VITAC’s user-friendly transcription options or need more information about what sets us apart from other AI-powered transcription platforms, reach out today to speak to a member of our team.