Machines versus People: Can Voice Recognition Software and Transcriptionists Co-exist?

Voice recognition software has steadily improved over the last few years. It can be a great tool for single voice dictation, a convenience for those who want to have their hands free to multitask, and a lifeline for those unable to type or who have decreased mobility.

Yet, even the best systems don’t replace the need for human beings. Training the software to your specific voice, formatting commands, customizing and updating vocabulary databases, and proofing documents generated from the voice recognition software all require human interaction. And in many business contexts, experienced and proficient transcriptionists are still the best solution for achieving the highest quality transcript possible.

Accents and dialects, multiple voices, rates of speech, speech homonyms, and sound quality can significantly decrease the accuracy rate of voice recognition software. For a skilled transcriptionist transcribing directly from an audio file, these factors can be challenging but not necessarily disastrous. And while technology continues to improve, context and language nuances are still the forte of people.

Voice recognition software has earned a place in our culture and lives, but it isn’t perfect. Human beings are still the piece that makes it work. And in many situations, skilled transcriptionists are still the best solution for a project. For best results, consider not only the options, but also the impacting factors when choosing a method of transcription.