Transcription Machine

Speech recognition is a technology that is, in many ways, still in its infancy. There are numerous hardware and software programs that allow our speech to be transcripted into text, and most of them are fairly effective. When most of us think about speech recognition, we think of it in the context of computer programs, which are the most popular method of transcription available. However, the oldest form of speech recording is the transcription machine, which has taken many different forms throughout its history.

Transcription machines became popular with the advent of cassette technology, and they can now be found in offices everywhere, as the ability to record conversations can be extremely useful. They’re also commonly used by students and reporters, who prefer their accuracy to having to take physical notes.
Transcription machines have continued to change with the times. They are still mostly used with cassette tapes, as this is the cheapest way to make them, and the cassette offers a convenient and durable hard copy. However, more transcription machines are being made digitally everyday as technology progresses. Digital recording offers a number of advantages, namely the ability to load easily onto a computer, and thus not needing to replace tapes after the user runs out of space. Moreover, digital recording offers the chance to dramatically improve the interface of transcription machines.

A digital transcription machine makes it much easier to use with a computer. This not only gives the machine unlimited storage space, it also allows transcription machines to be integrated with voice recognition technology. The software for these is still being developed, but there are a few transcription machines that come with the inherent ability to digitally convert speech into text. These are called digital transcribers, and they can be hugely convenient for people who eventually need to transcribe an entire conversation. The ability to do this digitally can remove an enormous amount of work from the transcription process. The text will always need to be checked for errors, but that will take much less time than physically writing it down, even for a fast writer.

There are a few advantages and disadvantages to a transcription machine:

  • Accuracy: No matter how good a note taker a person might be, people can simply speak faster than we can write. And since we are all subject to human error, there will be some mistakes or gaps from hand-written transcription. A machine might suffer from background noise or lack of volume, but it will always record the sound exactly as is.
  • Price: A transcription machine does cost more than pen and pad, and the batteries and cassettes will have to be replaced. However, it’s possible to find transcription machines for less than $30, so the expense isn’t prohibitive. And they’re certainly cheaper than hiring a transcriber.
  • Appearance: For interviews, transcription machines are much easier to use than a notepad, and will free the interviewer to focus completely on the interview. In almost any situation that requires transcribing, a machine is much more convenient from a space perspective.
  • Speed: Naturally, a transcription machine can record quicker than we can write. With a digital transcriber, this advantage is multiplied.

The biggest disadvantage to transcription machines is that they only record audio. For many purposes, like office recordings or print interviews, that’s fine. But as video continues to become a more prevalent way of receiving information, transcribers are also becoming slightly outdated. They continue to be a cheap and convenient way to transcribe, but transcription itself is becoming less essential to distributing information. However, transcription machines continue to develop, and they are still a very important tool for many users.

This Transcription Machine Review is Written/Updated on Feb 19th, 2011 and filed under Consumer Electronics. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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