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Speech transcription, does anyone use it productively?

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Mark Raudonis
Speech transcription, does anyone use it productively?
on Sep 19, 2009 at 11:57:13 pm

Let me just say that I'm an optimist, and I REALLY wish this feature worked better than it does. Unfortunately, I've just spent the last few hours coming to the conclusion that it's not quite ready for primetime.

We shoot thousands of hours of interviews a year, and if this feature worked even close to what's promised, I'd be the first in line with a big check to buy multiple seats. For now, that check stays in my pocket.

My negative experience with Transcription Feature in SB started when I had to go through many hoops just to get a plain old Sony EX-1 XDCAM HD files into readable form. Then, even at the highest setting it couldn't even come close to generating text that made sense. Let me add that this was with clean, pro quality audio, recorded in a quiet room, with no other distractions. The interviewee was speaking English with no obvious accent or impairment. You'd think that with this best case scenario the that Sound Booth would be close to 80 %. Nah. Closer to 40%. At that rate it's quicker (and definitely less frustrating) to just transcribe it manually.

Not willing to give up on this feature yet, I thought I'd just clean up the mistakes. Well, I found the ability to "clean up" the transcript very awkward, especially when more than just one word was inaccurate. Finally, to cap off my frustration, there is no easy way to export the text into a word processing program to clean it up on the outside. I know that I should be able to "right click" and get "copy all" and then paste it into a text editor, but for some reason, that just wouldn't work on my program. Individual words yes. The entire page. No way. I even sent it to Premiere to see if I could "copy all" there. No go. The only other way to get the "transcription" out of this program is via XML, but I didn't want to miss dinner parsing obscure commands and reformatting all the text.

In summary, I think this "transcription" feature is light years ahead of anything else available on Avid or FCP. Unfortunately, this glimpse at the future of editing is like going to the car show and seeing all of those "future concept models" on display. Look close enough and you'll see that there's no engine under the hood, the doors are held closed with tape, and the sexy spokesmodel is just there to distract you from asking any questions.

I'd love to have someone speak up and tell me I'm doing something wrong and the transcription feature works flawlessly. Until then, the numerous transcription companies that we employ can relax knowing that we'll be using them for some time to come.

Mark Raudonis





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Elias Huch
Re: Speech transcription, does anyone use it productively?
on Jul 14, 2010 at 7:45:15 pm

Mark,
I wish I could do as you've asked, but I'm afraid I'm getting the same results. If anyone knows of a way or another software that'll work, please speak up. I need it!

Elias Huch
Motion Graphics Designer
Reelvizion Productions


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