The future of transcription jobs: AI offers threats or opportunities

Updated: Dec 23, 2020

Technology has definitely changed the world from the ground up - from ways people communicate to each other to automating certain work roles like those of transcriptionists. Text-to-speech has been one of the latest innovations that have been getting quite the attention. In fact, there are a number of people that look at this as the future of transcription.

According to a particular research study that was conducted by none other than the international marketing research firm known as Market and Markets, the whole speech industry is actually expected to be worth more than thrice its current standing by the year 2022. Currently, the speech recognition industry is worth about $4 billion and if the estimations are current, the value of the industry would go up to $12 billion in three years.

The accounts of a professional transcriber

A certain report was given by a professional transcriber named Gabriel stating that for a number of years, the transcriber's life has afforded him a middle-class living making all the way up to $40 per hour of transcribing certain corporate earning calls. The industry he was in was reportedly enough to send his son to a private school and even a university.

This was in the early 2000s, but during the previous decade, things started to shift. Audio recordings transitioned to digitalization and broadband spreads. Clients could then easily ship out work to either India or the Philippines. Meanwhile, in Silicon Valley, another competition had emerged.

Certain startups like Rev, which was kind of like the Uber of the transcription world was one people like Gabriel’s worst enemies. Rev has apparently moved the industry forward onto an on-demand gig model. This is also due to Rev’s cheap pricing of just $1/audio minute. This is less than half what most transcription firms have charged in the past.

Due to the gruesome competition, Gabriel’s pay sank further and today, it is reported that Gabriel would earn about $12 per hour on a lucky day. Certain peers of Gabriel are said to make only about $6 for transcriptionist jobs.

The accounts of the Industries innovative minds

According to a particular Jill Kushner Bishop, who currently runs the Multilingual Connections, a known Chicago translation, and transcription firm, the demand has been getting “bigger” across every given area. This is due to audio becoming much easier to capture through the use of portable devices like smartphones. Today, most people just record their meetings on the phone while podcasting, as well as videos, have become a strong part of today’s culture.

Although the information is given through a voice or video recording, there could still be a gap between hearing the information and understanding it. This is why there is a need for transcription. According to Jeffrey Kofman, the founder and CEO of Trint, a particular AI transcription firm, we are all currently in a world that is overwhelmed by spoken words that are recorded and according to him, this just piles up.

Why isn’t the transcription industry becoming tougher?

Theoretically, the whole growth of demand should actually drive up the price of labor. Except, globalization, as well as the gig business model, has also exploded in order to supply a surplus of workers. Just like with Uber, Rev makes transcribing so easy to do that some people can easily do this as a sort of side hustle.

A Rev transcriber shared his experience with WIRED saying that the platform has definitely given a lot of people an opportunity to earn more money in their free time. Just like other gig companies, Rev also seems obsessed with making things really simple for their customers charging an easy flat rate of only $1/minute of audio transcription. However, this does not really work well for the workers getting paid only $4.50/hour.

AI transcription and it's future

Currently, the most popular transcription tools include Google translate and it is a widely known fact that this feature is not entirely accurate. However, other AI transcription tools like Trint have been paving the way for future more accurate transcription AI technologies to come. Currently, Trint is able to transcribe across 31 different languages making it quite useful and more accurate to use compared to Google translate.

The thing that makes transcription quite unique in the development department is that the technology used has to listen and discern certain audio clips before translating them into words. The programming aspect of this AI is absolutely phenomenal and the lack of accuracy could actually be just the lack of data.

However, if this technology becomes more common in the future and transcription, AI technologies like Trint have self-learning AI, the accuracy will then slowly improve over time. Later on, once the AI has been able to discern even the hardest pronunciations known to man, it will be able to transcribe much more accurately.

The advantages of AI transcription

For those using its services, AI transcription eliminates most of the problems experienced in between from having to contact a transcriptionist, exchanging the data, setting the timeline, etc. With AI transcription, even the most complicated transcriptions have now become automated making them faster and more efficient.

Due to the missing human element, AI transcription does not cost as much as a transcriptionist would charge and although this is a sad truth, this is definitely something that is inevitable nowadays. While transcriptionists are struggling to find work, AI transcriptions need only data to be inputted and voila, there goes a transcription.

Using AI transcription also automates the process, cutting out the need for external help and allowing you to work with both a smaller team and a faster timeline. Although AI transcription currently lacks accuracy, the growing AI is slowly improving as more data is being inputted.

Currently, however, the AI technology is not advanced enough to substitute a human being in terms of accuracy and naturality of the transcription. Another filtering roadblock is the thick accents that certain people possess due to the geographical influence in their speech. Although human beings are still dominating professional transcription, AI transcription is slowly catching up! provides professional transcriptionists software and tools to automate their process, speed up their work, and double their income.

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