Speech Recognition

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Data Quality Assurance Wrangles Noisy Data Spurring Innovative Breakthroughs

Data Quality Assurance Wrangles Noisy Data Spurring Innovative Breakthroughs


From Speech to Text, Artificial Intelligence, to Text Mining–Data is ubiquitous and growing at an unprecedented rate, mathematically, upwards and onwards exponentially, without an apparent limitation. Contrary to popular understanding that data is just a concept discovered in our recent technological era, the history of humankind’s relationship with data stems back millennia. Data is simply about the concept of acquiring, understanding, and synthesizing information, in both measurable (i.e., numerical) and unmeasurable forms (e.g., observational). The measurable is digital or mathematical in nature because it can be manipulated or quantified.  Undoubtedly, data has become the new currency for economies and corporations worldwide; it has also become the backbone of innovative breakthroughs in nearly every discipline and industry. Data drives strategy, discovery, and forecasting.

Before the digital frontier, mainframes, and programmable cards, information gathering through observation made its way to becoming numerical data by only the human eye, a writing utensil or knotted strings to the Quipu, and later, paper–or in Archimedes’ style and time (circa 2nd century BC), sand grains, mathematical formulas, and scaled mechanical models. In all, numerical data was not easily obtained or just inconceivable.

In today’s world, with an expanding Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem, our constant state of being connected online with a multitude of devices from our wrists, computers, to our smart auto vehicles, digital data is accumulating without bound. However, the facilitators and makers of digital data, such as a software program, wearable, mobile device, mobile app, GPS-enabled device and more, does not do so perfectly. Generated digital data exist in streams including lots of questionable data and errors based on unintended inputs and systemic mistakes. For example, from video to recording, speech is a complex expression of spoken words and sound and may differ from one individual to another. A person may change speech several times–if not more–during a lifetime based on meeting new people of new geographical regions, differing dialects, new environments, adaptation, physical attributes, age, learning, and so on–all affecting and changing speech. Simultaneously, accompanying ambient sound is also highly complex and constantly changes. Not considering the hardware and microphone, speech recording devices capture audible sound and all its intricacies. However, to understand patterns–analytically, computationally or mathematically–speech and sound are often converted into measurable form resulting in meaningful and meaningless information.

From model design to purpose, if the objective is to analyze speech patterns, distracting sounds, conversion errors from when speech and sound were digitized, to unclear sound or inaudible speech that should be removed–this is what we call noisy data.  Not to be confused with outliers, noisy data increases analytical error, because it is not necessarily discernable or understandable by either human beings or the machines processing it.

Dealing with noisy data is the lever to any desired breakthrough; the better the data, the more accurate data models are, and the more insights can be revealed. How is noise dealt with? Beyond data cleaning and preparation, the right data quality assurance (QA) reviews and filters data systemically based on key parameters and purpose; it’s an ongoing exercise that requires human expertise alongside machine power. Athreon’s QA models are methodical and diligent. With data increasingly growing and noisy data increasing in direct proportion–if not more–the path to successful academic studies, scientific breakthroughs, insurance case audio processing, law enforcement case interview transcription, healthcare, medical data, intelligent models, and analytics, is data quality assurance wrangling noisy data.

Learn how Athreon can help you in your speech to text and quality assurance needs. Diminish the error margins. Contact Us Today!

Automated Transcription Services – What should you consider?

Automated Transcription Services – What should you consider?

Automated speech to text transcription services are starting to gain more attention. They offer rapid turnaround time at a low cost. This can be attractive to clients that have audio or video files that need to be transcribed. When you don’t have the time or expertise to type the recordings yourself, an automated transcription service seems like a logical solution. But what should you consider before you upload your files through a web portal for transcription?

Transcription Data Security

If your recordings contain sensitive patient data, criminal justice information or confidential research, it’s imperative to take time to vet the speech to text transcription company. For instance, have they taken into account HIPAA, CJIS, and GDPR? Are they willing to sign a Business Associate Agreement? Do their transcriptionists undergo background checks? Who will have access to your data? Will it be encrypted in transit and while at rest? If the transcription company doesn’t have qualified answers to these questions, proceed with caution. Data mishandling and security incidents could put you and other stakeholders at risk.

Speech to Text Accuracy

When you’re a reporter facing a tight deadline or a university with a large transcription project, uploading your video or audio files for processing through an automated speech recognition engine can seem like a great solution on the surface. But what about the output? How accurate will the final transcript be? Transcripts produced by human typists are often upwards of 99% accurate. However, automated speech recognition technology can’t match this level of accuracy. Although speech recognition technology has improved over the years, it still leaves much to be desired. For example, speech engines make contextual errors that human transcriptionists are professionally trained to avoid.

Transcript Editing Time

 If you decide to use an automated speech to text transcription company, and you receive back 25 or 100 or 1000 pages of material, will you have the time to review every line of text carefully? Will you realistically be able to spend the hours necessary to compare the computer-generated text against the original audio file? Depending on how busy you are, this may not be realistic. When using an automated transcription service, it’s essential to factor in additional time to review the transcripts because speech engines are prone to making errors.

While it’s natural to want things rapidly, inexpensively, and of excellent quality, automated transcription companies are unable to deliver on all three objectives. And, if security is a consideration for your data, using an automated transcription service may be too risky. You can undoubtedly get your documents quickly and at a bargain price with an automated transcription service, but you will still need to budget extra time to review the transcripts carefully to ensure accuracy. After all, if you depend on quality transcripts to inform your decision making, inaccurate data can lead to adverse outcomes.

About Athreon Transcription

Athreon’s speech to text transcription services combine advanced speech recognition technology with the expertise of professional human editors. Our hybrid approach to speech to text conversion and our stringent security and quality standards ensure that transcripts are produced quickly, accurately, and securely. For more information about Athreon’s transcription services, contact us at 800.935.0973.



The Benefits and Challenges of Speech Recognition

The Benefits and Challenges of Speech Recognition


Any company or individual seeking the most effective method for document creation has considered using speech recognition software.

Yet speech recognition software, like any other product, has limitations. With the help of the right type of service, it is possible to reap the benefits that this software offers while also ensuring textual accuracy.

Why Invest in Speech Recognition Tools?

Whether a client invests in their own speech recognition software for in-house use or turns to a third party that provides it, there are significant benefits to using this type of service. Those benefits may include:

  • It’s faster. Since most people speak faster than they write, speech recognition software provides a simple way to get words into a document without having to be delayed in the process. This speed is what makes many people seek out its use. Typing, on the other hand, can slow down the communication process.
  • It is fairly accurate. Although it should always be proofread, speech recognition software can result in a document more or less free of errors. In addition, newer programs tend to be well designed and can offer reliable results for some applications.
  • It allows for hands-free work. When working with a client or completing a task, the use of speech recognition tools facilitates easy note taking, use of other materials, and professional eye contact. Each of these activities is limited when someone has to type information into a computer behind a screen.

While these benefits are compelling, there are also some limitations that users have to take into consideration as well.

The Challenges Speech Recognition Provides

As with any automated tool, there are limits to how well a product like this can work. Consider these typical concerns when using speech recognition tools.

  • Accuracy is always imperfect. “More or less accurate” is not perfectly accurate. This is a very important factor to consider when choosing tools, especially for medical or legal needs. In these cases, accuracy is paramount. A client’s professional reputation hangs in part on how well they present themselves in writing.
  • The software cannot understand complexities of jargon or phrasing. Every business sector has its own vocabulary and idioms, and if these are not part of standard English, the tool may not be successful in translating them to written format.
  • Some voices don’t come across well. Speech recognition software may not be able to transliterate the words of those who speak quickly, run words together or have an accent. It also drops in accuracy when more than one speaker is present and being recorded.

There Are Solutions

Knowledgeable clients can combine the use of a professional transcription service such as Athreon with the use of speech recognition tools, to achieve the very best outcome for their documents. The use of speech recognition software can speed up the initial work, while a professional transcriptionist can handle accuracy concerns as well as overall details of the project.

Most jobs today require a combination of resources. At Athreon, we offer a sophisticated hybrid blend of Automated Speech Recognition technology supported by qualified medical, legal, and business transcriptionists, empowering every project to achieve true success.

The Role of Cybersecurity in Speech-to-Text Services

The Role of Cybersecurity in Speech-to-Text Services


In today’s innovative, technology-driven world, it has become both a measure of convenience and, in many cases, a necessity to store and transmit secure data electronically. With the transition to digital systems for data storage and communication, a concern arises regarding vulnerability – is our data truly secure?

By definition, cybersecurity involves the measures of protection against unauthorized use of electronic data. At Athreon, we know that cybersecurity means much more to our clients: it means entrusting us with the data and information that are pivotal to your company’s success and reputation in your industry.

 A large component of our work with clients involves the transmission and transcription of information that would otherwise not be publicly accessible. In many cases, laws regarding confidentially – like HIPAA and CJIS compliancy – are in effect and require a secure method of transmitting sensitive information. Cybersecurity in speech-to-text transcription involves a multitude of moving parts that necessitate a company like Athreon, who has researched and integrated stringent methods and protocols to protect your data.

At Athreon, cybersecurity is the driving force behind the secure practices, like data encryption, that we utilize for all our clients. Many clients that we work with, including law enforcement agencies and health care facilities, depend on our ability to perform high-quality speech-to-text services while guaranteeing confidentiality and the secure transmission of their data.

In addition to data encryption, we have taken additional steps to ensure the highest level of security for all of our speech-to text services. This includes: secure physical access to all of our facilities that require several levels of identity verification, authenticated access and privileges, and a comprehensive auditing process that we deploy for every individual who has access to data or voice information.

Today, we are proud to offer high-quality speech to-text services that are not only accurate and reliable, but also incorporate some of the most current and innovative security measures available. To learn more about our security measures and how they can be applied to your speech-to-text transcription needs, please contact us online or give us a call at 800-935-0973.

Outsourcing Transcription Services Can Streamline Operations

Outsourcing Transcription Services Can Streamline Operations

Organizations in industries such as healthcarelaw enforcement and legaleducation and media are discovering the many benefits of outsourcing their transcription needs to third-party transcription service providers. Technological advancements such as digital recording and voice recognition have made outsourcing transcription projects easier than ever while helping companies streamline their costs.

At first glance, it might appear that outsourcing would actually increase rather than reduce transcription costs. But in reality, there are a number of ways in which outsourcing can make a business or practice much more cost-effective while also providing the high-quality speech to text services you demand.

Pay for Services Only When You Need Them

If you only use transcription services sporadically, it probably doesn’t make financial sense to have an in-house employee or staff handle these duties. When you weigh the costs of paying employee salaries and benefits versus paying for outsourced transcription services on an as-needed basis, you might find the latter option is actually less costly in the long run.

However, even if you need transcription service on a frequent basis, a top-quality transcription service provider can still help you reduce your costs. Consider that a professional transcription provider with proven quality assurance procedures in place can significantly reduce speech to text errors. All too often, these errors can lead to expensive mistakes in the form of lost business or costly litigation.

Comparing Transcription Service Rates

An important factor when considering a transcription service is the transcription rate. Typical transcription rates are by the character, line, page or minute. A per-character or per-line transcription rate tends to be more cost-effective for most buyers. Per-minute rates are generally recommended only if you need to know what the exact cost of the project will be before it is transcribed. If you’re considering a per-page transcription rate, be sure to ask about the company’s polices regarding factors such as spacing — single versus double spacing, for instance — margin widths and font size, as these will have a direct impact on total page count.

The Cheapest Isn’t Necessarily the Best

That old saying “you get what you pay for” definitely applies to the transcription business. A low transcription rate can also equate to poor quality. In addition to evaluating transcription rates, take a close look at the quality procedures and polices implemented by the transcription service company. The best service providers offer a stringent multi-level quality assurance process to keep the number of errors to a minimum. They also offer some sort of error correction policy: Many will correct mistakes found by clients in completed documents at no additional charge.

Contact Athreon to Learn More About the Benefits of Transcription Outsourcing

Athreon has been providing high-quality, cost-effective transcription services for over a quarter centuryContact us today to learn more about the factors to consider when selecting a transcription services provider for your organization.