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Hi Tom,

  Yes, true that it is always better to have a competent human to work with!

I guess I can say that the Casting Words company has a quality control
process where the audio and subsequent transcript is reviewed for
professionalism and accuracy. I have had good results and while I can't
afford a professional transcript employee/freelancer, I can afford to pay
for the budget transcription on this site...

Best,
Will Swofford

On Wed, Jul 30, 2008 at 5:54 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>wrote:

> A brief look at Amazon mTurk indicates that you'd probably get a pretty low
> skill-level at the task-pay scales listed. However, given global economics,
> perhaps the results are adequate.
>
> -- Tom Fine
>
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "W. C. Swofford" <[log in to unmask]>
> To: <[log in to unmask]>
> Sent: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 10:39 AM
>
> Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Transcription/Close Captioning Software for Oral
> History Recordings
>
>
>  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.
>>
>> www.castingwords.com
>>
>>
>>
>>
>> --
>> will swofford
>>
>> On Jul 30, 2008, at 9:05 AM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>>  wrote:
>>
>>  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]
>>>> http://www.vermontfolklifecenter.org
>>>>
>>>
>>