Transcription for Closed Captioning – Automated or Manual?

When we talk about closed captioning or subtitling process, one question that immediately comes to our mind is; whether an automated transcription process good enough or do we really need to have human involvement during the process.

transcription for closed captioning automated or manual

As we all know, there are a quite a few software tools and equipment available in the market that can effectively convert speech to text automatically. However, there are limitations for these software tools or equipment when it comes to transcribing different accents and audios with different qualities. For instance, in the US, people of different regions have different styles of speaking. Most of the time, converting speech to text automatically for a television show is challenging because TV shows feature people from different regions and backgrounds who would pronounce English words in completely different styles.

During a study conducted by Google and Harvard University, it was found that over the last century, English as a language has doubled its size and it continues to expand yearly by around 8,500 new words, and now stands at 1,022,000 words. Growing glossary of vocabulary makes automated transcription a challenging process. A lot of new terms and words adding up to the vocabulary make automated tools vulnerable to misinterpret them. Although internet helps software tools and equipment to get updated regularly, there is still some amount of difficulty faced by these automatic transcription tools when it comes to interpretation of growing vocabulary.

Human transcriptionists still have advantages compared to speech recognition tools although manual process is more time consuming and requires more effort by transcriptionists to keep themselves updated with new words and phrases. Voice recognition tools are trained on patterns and styles of specific voices, whereas human transcriptionists have experience listening to and communicating to people with a variety of dialects. New phrases and words get communicated to humans quickly across different regions. The new technologies are undoubtedly making transcription process easy and quick; however, the need to have human intervention to create transcripts for closed captions is still preferred by most of the broadcasters and content owners. Broadcasters and content owners do not want to take chances when it comes to quality of closed captions and are still not ready to rely completely on automated processes. For them having quality closed captions are all the more important as they add value to their content.

Digital Nirvana’s closed captioning process makes use of a hybrid transcription process wherein a quick preliminary transcript is created by an automated process, which is further edited by qualified and highly experienced transcriptionists for error-free delivery. The combination of automation and human intervention make Digital Nirvana’s captioning process quick and foolproof.