Crowdsourcing the Transcription Process: Scalable Audio Transcription

By: Alex Chrum | Published: July 9, 2012

The normal transcription process can be slow, time-intensive and costly when you tap into your company’s internal resources. Crowdsourcing your audio transcription not only gives you scalability, but it gives you high-quality, accurate text transcripts.

In addition, the creation of microtasks to complete the transcription process of your audio files ensures several things:

  • Higher security and protection of sensitive information
  • Higher accuracy with quick tasks and quality assurance processes

Types of audio transcription suitable for the crowd

Any transcription job, big or small, is tasked to crowd workers with experience in transcribing audio files in a variety of specific areas:

  • Academic transcription
  • Business transcription
  • Legal transcription
  • Media transcription
  • Medical transcription
  • Professional transcription

Benefits of using the crowd for the transcription process

Sensitive data and text files are protected, and the crowdsourcing of the transcription process produces fast, accurate results that are checked through quality assurance to guarantee reliability and accuracy. Sending your audio transcription to the crowd accomplishes several things.

  • It puts text transcripts in your hands faster.
  • It produces clean text files free of filler speech and false starts.
  • It creates a searchable record of audio files.

Whether you seek to utilize the transcription process via crowdsourcing to create text documents of meetings, broadcasts, interviews, mediations, conferences or something else, the crowd puts usable text transcripts back in your hands in an unbeatable amount of time.

How the crowd undertakes the transcription process

Any size transcription job is broken into microtasks for crowd workers to transcribe in segments. Each segment length varies by the type of job and preferences. Segments can be as short as 5 or 10 seconds to preserve the security of sensitive information by not giving any single worker the whole audio file, or each segment can be as long as 5 minutes or more for one worker to transcribe.

Regardless of segment length, each completed transcript is put through rigorous quality assurance by having multiple workers review segments of or complete text transcripts while comparing them to the original audio file(s).

With hundreds of thousands of workers waiting to transcribe and process your audio transcription files, you get results fast. The internal moderation team at CrowdSource works with you to build specifications based on guidelines you provide. Crowd workers follow a general style guide for formatting, and this guide is combined with specifications necessary to complete your audio transcription. The result is tailored and specific documents that fit into your business environment and provide real business value sooner rather than later.


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