Can Your Video Transcription Service Handle Difficult Content?

August 24, 2015 BY EMILY GRIFFIN
Updated: January 4, 2018

If you produce videos that discuss complex subjects like biology, chemistry, law, finance, calculus, philosophy, or medicine, you’ll need a closed captioning vendor that delivers accurate captions regardless. This is a common challenge faced by colleges and universities that produce lecture capture recordings or other eLearning videos.

While clearly-spoken, common English speech can be successfully transcribed using speech-to-text technology or a non-native English speaker, more challenging content becomes prone to errors. In this case, you need a video transcription service that can provide near-perfect captions even for the most complex subjects.

What Makes Audio or Video Difficult to Transcribe?

Any of the following factors increases the difficulty of a transcription project:

  • Multiple speakers
  • Overlapping dialogue
  • Interruptions and stutters
  • Speaker with thick accent
  • Speaker with poor articulation
  • Poor audio quality
  • Background music
  • Background noise
  • Mention of proper names or brand names
  • Technical terminology

Can You Include a Glossary of Terms?

Check to see if your captioning vendor offers the ability to upload a glossary or cheatsheet with correct spellings for proper names or industry terms. You should also be able to include the full names of speakers so they are accurately identified in speaker IDs. This will help your transcriptionist accurately caption your content.

The ability to upload glossaries is a good indicator that your transcription service understands the reality of the captioning process, and it shows how much they value accuracy.

Does Your Transcription Service Have Domain Expertise?

Transcriptionists need to exercise their discretion when transcribing challenging content. Faced with obscure terms, they must have existing knowledge of the video’s topic, make intelligent inferences, or perform research on their own. This step in the transcription process has the most room for human error.

The best defense against errors is diversification. Ideally, your transcription service employs transcriptionists with expertise in many different domains, such as mathematics, religion, software technology, medicine, and finance.

Assigning difficult content to transcriptionists who are most familiar with the subject invariably produces the best results.

Can You Edit Transcripts?

In case there are still errors in your transcripts (after all, a guarantee of 99% accuracy still isn’t entirely flawless), you should check to see what the editing process is like through your vendor.

Do they provide an editing interface where you can make changes yourself?

Can such edits only be made by a single administrator, or can individual professors or contributors make changes, too?

And once edits are made, will they propagate to all output files without needing to reprocess?

These are all questions you should ask your transcription service provider before hiring them.

For more information on questions you should ask when choosing a video transcription vendor, download our free whitepaper.

Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

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