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Transcription Services: Manual or Automatic

Transcription: Manual or Automatic

Over the last decade or so, technology has allowed the world of transcription to evolve beyond just the human transcriber. Clients are now able to select whether they would like their transcriptions automated or done manually by a person. The differences between the two may not be instantly recognizable, but at Capital Captions we work hard in this industry to make sure our work is always up-to-scratch and taken on by well trained humans. Once you start delving into the world of automated transcription the differences become very clear, both in terms of advantages and disadvantages. 

At its heart, the transcription process simply involves turning oral dialogue into written text, usually in formats such as a MS Word document or a PDF. Many companies today consider using automated software for their transcriptions, but the disadvantages of this approach can be highly disturbing. Below we will highlight some of the advantages and disadvantages of transcription services: manual or automatic. 

Transcription: Manual or Automatic

Manual Transcription


  • Accuracy: Highly trained transcriptionists have equally high accuracy levels
  • Mistakes and errors: Human intelligence means mistakes are eliminated first hand so fewer proofs will be required 
  • Differentiating speakers: Transcriptions produced manually have the advantage of allowing speaker identification.  


  • Turnarounds: Human transcription can take longer than automated transcription. Time spent in delivery can be justified, however, by less amendments being required subsequently. 
  • Upfront Costs: The cost of professional transcription is typically higher than that of automated transcription services. However, professional transcription services usually include one round of amendments so can work out cheaper in the long run. 

Automatic Transcription 


  • Price: By far the biggest advantage to automated transcripts has to be price. The cost of automated transcription is generally lower than manual transcription but this often does not take into account transcript styles, turnaround times and audio length. 
  • Urgent transcriptions: Automated transcription services can be good for urgent transcriptions where time takes precedence over quality. 


  • Accents and dialects: While voice recognition software can typically handle well articulated speakers. However, automated software in general does not deal well with different accents and dialects.
  • Omissions of words: While manual transcriptions do have ‘inaudible’ words that a person simply cannot make out, automated software struggles with over-speaking. Instead of guessing or highlighting omissions, transcripts may actually come effectively incomplete. 

So there you have, all in all, manual transcription has many more benefits with very few of the drawbacks you get with automation. At Capital Captions, we never use automated services for transcription, We work with highly skilled, reliable and analytical transcriptionists for our projects.

See our list of transcription services or contact us to request your free quote today. 

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At Capital Captions, we take pride in our flexible, tailor-made approach to subtitling, closed captioning, video translation and video transcription services. We offer professional, reliable, cost effective services to clients across the globe.

  • Walsham Road, Kent, United Kingdom ME5 9HX
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