March 2019 edition of ‘Wordict’ carried an article on Transcription. We thought we should give a ‘booster’ article on the same topic as a few interesting things are happening in this domain.
Technocrats are eyeing any possible language function for automation. Transcription is no exception. Transcriptions basically means ‘speech to text’. It has already reached your smartphones which type as you speak; not only in English, but in Marathi, Malayalam, Hindi, Hebrew, or any language.
Coming to more serious work of professional transcription, there are good software available for automated translation. They work better for English; however its success for Hindi and Indian languages is limited. A lot of editing work needs to go into it.
The use of transcripted material is established in the courts of law, in corporate affairs to seal a deal, In developing books out of speeches of successful coaches and trainers as well as in analysis of police interrogations.
Domestic arguments are transcribed and certified to serve as an evidence. These are times texts, so that the authorities can go to a particular point referring from the document to that time in the recording.
Corporate meetings addressing very complex issues, or even a brainstorming session are usually recorded and transcribed, as the flow of ideas is strong and fast, participants build on each other’s ideas, only phrases are spoken, a lot of spontaneity is expected in brain stroming sessions. In India especially, participants tend to speak in multiple languages. Transcriptions of such meetings bring to paper all that is said and expressed in timed sheets. It helps the seniors then, to organize the thoughts and derive an action plan out of the flow of creative ideas.
The ‘invest-fests’ and trade exhibitions encourage that the deals are sealed at the venue only, on mutual trust and discussion. These meetings, interactions and verbal agreements are often recorded. The transcriptions of such audio / video recordings are very useful in drafting the format agreements and to remember and confirm what was said and committed by both the parties.
Professional speakers and trainers prepare themselves well for very impactful deliveries. They have their scripts ready; however, the effective speakers they are, they do have additions and alterations, responding to the mood and needs of the gathering. They are spontaneous with cases, examples, stories which enhance the presentation. Even the QA session is also as valuable as the main speech. Keeping this in mind, these successful speakers insist for transcription of their speeches to be made. Later on, these transcriptions are very useful in the compilation of the speeches in a book,.
In TranslationPanacea, we do take up all the above kinds of transcription assignments. I would like to share one very extra-ordinary assignment that we completed recently. At an art gallery, a south Indian artist accompanies an Italian Maestro, both talking about the paintings and art in general. Fortunately, the 90 minutes conversation was audio recorded, and later came to us for transcription. There were so many references, abbreviations, nicknames, names of events that one cannot just transcribe word by word. The task was assigned to a well-read transcriber. She took efforts to understand the references, persons and places mentioned in the conversation, and the transcription was as lively as the original conversation.
May be, when we write next about ‘Transcription’, technology may have made a headway in transcribing Indian languages, even recognizing different Indian languages.