I direct your attention to the Casting Words website which provides  
transcriptions using the Amazon mTurk program.

I have had good experiences with it. The audio is sent to Casting  
Words and for a flat fee (per minute of recording) they distribute the  
transcription process to thousands of Amazon mTurk participants who  
then transcribe small pieces of the recording. The transcriptions they  
produce are then checked for accuracy by repeating the process.

I would highly recommend this company and the service is both  
professional and affordable.

will swofford

On Jul 30, 2008, at 9:05 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>  

> Here's two cents from someone who has worked with transcriptions of  
> conferences and interviews for two decades now ...
> There is no automated way to accurately transcribe the human  
> conversation yet. Even a human transcriber is usually highly  
> inaccurate (at least at first) unless they were present at the time  
> of recording. We have used a professional court reporter for years  
> to do our conference and interview transcriptions and she is just  
> fine with the 85% or so that is common language and words, but she  
> often mangled the 15% that is colloquial (sp?) or industry-specific  
> or heavily-accented -- but since she is a human she has improved  
> impressively over several years. I've experimented with IBM and  
> Dragon software and even got a friend who used to work at IBM labs  
> to run some material through their most advanced software and the  
> accuracy is worse than our faithful court reporter. By the time you  
> sit and edit all the mistakes and fix the punctuation and grammer,  
> it's taken almost as long as if you just had transcription skills  
> and typed out the whole thing yourself.
> I would suggest, for a large institution, or even a medium-sized one  
> that can get some funding, rather than pour tons of dollars into  
> computers and software, best to find a skilled transcriber like a  
> court reporter looking for part-time extra work. Bring this person  
> to your facility and teach them about what you are doing. Listen to  
> a few tapes with them and let them ask questions about the content,  
> accents, topics, etc. Give them a tryout and see how accurate they  
> are. There will be a point where you find the perfect person. I  
> should also say that we've had good luck working with our court  
> reporter teaching her better punctuation and grammar practices,  
> which she said has made her a hit with the lawyer community and  
> gotten her better gigs from them too. Also, over time, she is more  
> familiar with our industry and is making fewer and fewer howlers  
> with industry-specific language. The last set of trascriptions she  
> did of long on-stage interviews from one of our conferences, the  
> editing time was so much shorter than the first few that we noticed  
> and paid her a bonus for saving us time.
> One man's experiences ...
> -- Tom Fine
> PS -- no reason a professional transcriber couldn't also learn how  
> to enter metadata information to go with the transcription.
> PPS -- in case it's not painfully obvious, I'm saying human ALWAYS  
> beats machine if any sort of skill or nuance is required!  
> Transcribing human conversation is a great example of skill and  
> nuance, more so if the recording quality is not top-notch.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Andy Kolovos" <[log in to unmask] 
> >
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 7:49 AM
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Transcription/Close Captioning Software for  
> Oral History Recordings
>> Markus,
>> Depends on what you mean by "time-stamped".  If you want to  
>> basically do your own "Docsoft-style" thing, you got me.  If you  
>> want to transcribe with a system that will allow you to manually  
>> add accurate time codes into the text, we've been using Start- 
>> Stop.  Express Scribe might do this as well, but our  
>> transcriptionist greatly prefers Start Stop to Express Scribe.   
>> Still, I get the impression that you're trying to do something else  
>> here.
>> The Docsoft system seems interesting, but looks expensive and  
>> proprietary--all the same, I hadn't encountered it before so I  
>> appreciate the reference.
>> Have you posted this to the OHA oral history list?
>> andy
>> Markus Wust wrote:
>>> <div class="moz-text-flowed" style="font-family: -moz-fixed">Dear  
>>> list members,
>>> I am looking into using transcription or close captioning software  
>>> (e.g., Docsoft) to create time-stamped transcripts of oral history  
>>> recordings. Are you, or do you know someone who is using such an  
>>> application for this purpose? If so, what has been your experience?
>>> Thank you,
>>> Markus Wust
>>> Digital Collections and Preservation Librarian
>>> North Carolina State University
>>> </div>
>> -- 
>> Andy Kolovos
>> Archivist/Folklorist
>> Vermont Folklife Center
>> 88 Main Street
>> Middlebury, VT
>> (802) 388-4964 [voice]
>> (802) 388-1844 [fax]