A Brief Look at How Transcription Evolved Throughout the Decades
Wednesday, 01 April 2020

 No matter the scenario, transcription has never been a subject to be taken lightly. After all, you have situations where transcription is quite literally a matter of life and death. In the fields of both legal and medical transcriptions, you have situations where the slightest mistake can lead to more than just a slap on the wrist.

 While most transcriptionists can undoubtedly hold their own, the advent of automation has been turning heads. The ability of transcription software to make waves in the industry is perhaps the way of the future - though to learn about the future, it would be best to start from the beginning. Here is just a brief look at how transcription evolved throughout the decades.

The dawn of the cassette tape

Back in the 80s, the transcription industry was still in its infancy. The idea of recording focus groups as well as interviews was already a growing trend, but it involved hauling large reel to reel recorders to get the job done. It was an extremely tedious process that continually made things challenging for anyone who wanted to record useful data.

In this age, a professional transcriber would make use of a typewriter to transcribe the necessary data through portable cassette tapes. While the large recorders were still a trend, the advent of the cassette tape made things much easier, which was what allowed professional transcription to thrive.

The power of Microsoft Office

When the 90s rolled in, personal computers were beginning to pop up in many households all over the world. Microsoft Office was fully implemented in November of 1990, which heralded the next evolution of professional transcription. It does not need to be said how instrumental the program was in making it easier for professional transcribers to craft documents for academic transcription. Audio from cassette tapes began to make the change to audio files, which further boosted the efficiency of a professional transcriber.

The broadband age

During the early 2000s, high-speed Internet was becoming a more common occurrence, which meant that the transfer of data was more efficient than ever before. At this point, you no longer saw the lone transcriber offering their services - you now saw professional agencies spring up from the technological boom. You began to see levels of professional transcription, such as verbatim and intelligent verbatim. It was now possible to boost speed without compromising accuracy.

The present day

In a lot of ways, the advancement of professional transcription remained within the same road of progress during the 2010s all the way to the present day. It was not necessarily about changing the game, but making things more efficient and worthwhile for any potential transcriber. That said, there has been significant advancement in automated transcription through the use of AI software.

While the advent of AI and automated transcription is still in its infancy, it does not change the fact that it could very well send waves throughout the professional transcription industry.
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