Are Transcription Apps Effective for Transcribing Lectures?

by | Published on Oct 20, 2015 | Lecture Transcription

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Transcribing LecturesDictation transcription apps are mobile applications that can transform spoken words into documents automatically. Students can use such apps to transcribe lectures and save them for later use. They can also send them via e-mail or copy and paste to another application. If students find it difficult to type their notes during lectures, they can rely upon this application and stay more focused on the lectures. However, there is still concern regarding whether such apps are really beneficial for accurate lecture transcription. This is mainly because of the echoes and other noises in a lecture hall type environment and their impact on recording. There are other limitations as well. Let’s take a look into this.

Of course, noises can reduce the quality of recording and cause mistakes in lecture transcripts. However, you may still find the following limitations, if you are recording the lectures in a quiet environment.

  • You Need to Train Your App – In order to recognize the words correctly, your app must first learn the communication style and accent of the speaker. This is challenging in the case of a lecture (as the lecturer is the speaker) and extremely difficult in a noisy environment. If you don’t train the app, it won’t understand rushed language, homophones (for example, rise and rice) and foreign accents and finally you may end up with inaccurate transcripts.
  • Wrong Punctuation with Documents – The speaker may need to punctuate documents by speaking the name of the punctuation mark in the case of certain apps. This is tedious as well as awkward during lectures. Sometimes, you may find punctuations at odd places.
  • Difficulty to Recognize Complicated Words – If the lecturers use a particularly rare or technical phrase during the lecture, it may be difficult for the app to identify it. The app will require the speaker to spell out those phrases.

Though there are apps available with intelligent speech recognition that support grammar correction as well as on-screen editing with suggestions for corrections, it may not still guarantee complete accuracy.

Why Transcription Services Prove to be a Better Choice

If you are relying upon transcription services, you can save a lot of time and improve accuracy. Human transcribers recognize words much better than a program or application and quickly ensure whether they get it right. Transcription companies providing the service of skilled and experienced transcriptionists can help you to overcome the challenges of communication styles and accents and create more accurate transcripts. Transcriptionists knowledgeable in the use of punctuations can properly insert punctuations at the sentence endings or within the sentence when possible. Since most transcriptionists are trained in particular fields, there will be no difficulty to identify rare or technical phrases.

To put it in a nutshell, students can use these apps if they have enough time to correct the mistakes and they are just using lecture notes as an introduction to a topic. In the case of prestigious lectures from renowned lecturers and/or if you are using lecture notes for research work, it is better to rely upon transcription services rather than dictation transcription apps.

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