GoTranscript – Review 2018 – PCMag India

Transcribing audio and video is difficult and tedious. That’s just a fact of life. Fortunately, transcription services such as GoTranscript, can help you out. GoTranscript uses humans (freelancers) to transcribe your files, not an automatic speech recognition (ASR) engine. The service turned out decent results in our testing, with a fairly quick turnaround time. Still, its web interface and tools could use improvements, and extra order options can drive up the cost for transcriptions. For now, we recommend you turn to Editors’ Choice Rev for any files you need to transcribe.

Pricing and Fees

GoTranscript structures its services similarly to Rev and Scribie. The absolute cheapest option costs $0.90 per minute. However, that price is with no timestamps, for files that include only one or two total speakers, and with a return time frame of five days.

Any options you select increase the cost, of course. For example, the price goes up by $0.25 per minute if you specify that you want a full verbatim transcript—which includes speech errors, false starts, and filler words—as opposed to a clean verbatim file that omits those elements.

Timestamping also costs extra: $0.25 for every two minutes or on speaker change and $0.33 for every 30 seconds. Speeding up the delivery to three days costs an extra $0.10 per minute, while a one-day delivery commitment costs another $0.20. A 6-12 hour delivery range costs an extra $1.60. If your recording involves more than two people (including yourself), you need to shell out another quarter per minute as well. Rounding out the list of extras, SRT/SSL captions (the most common type of caption formatting), cost an extra $0.40 and low-quality audio requires you to pay an extra $0.30 per minute.

These fees can drive up the overall cost, especially since some seem like they should be included in the base cost. For example, if I needed GoTranscript to return a three-person recording with timestamps on speaker changes in a day’s time (not an unreasonable or atypical request by any means), the total cost per minute would reach $1.60. New users can try out the service with a free $10 credit.

For comparison, Rev has a base price of $1 per minute with an extra cost of $0.25 for timestamps every 30 seconds, but it returns files in under 12 hours. Scribie’s middle of the road option costs $1.20 per minute with automatic timestamps, though its return window is 36 hours. Trint is one of the few services I’ve reviewed that offers a subscription service; its cheapest option costs $40 a month for three hours’ worth of audio or video uploads. Note, however, that Trint is really only suitable for less complex files, given that it is an automatic service.

Web Dashboard

GoTranscript’s dashboard has improved since I initially reviewed the service and it feels better organized now. Menu items have shifted to the left side of the interface and break down into three main sections: Dashboard, Account, and New Order. There’s also a Help module at the bottom.

The My Orders section of the Dashboard shows all your Transcription, Caption, Subtitle, and Translation orders. Thankfully, GoTranscript added a search bar and a date filter this time around. Still missing, however, are folder, sharing, and renaming options for the files, though you can add private comments if you wish.

In this latest iteration, GoTranscript has added a built-in web editor, which is something nearly every other competitor already offered. To get started with this new feature, click on the Edit button next to an order.

GoTranscript’s web editor is functional, though rudimentary compared to the competition. It does show a scrub bar at the top of screen, with play/pause, volume, rewind/forward, and playback speed buttons, but that’s it. Note also, that neither the volume or progress slider support dragging; you have to click on certain points on the bar to change their position instead. This limitation makes it much difficult to navigate to an exact point in the recording, for example.

GoTranscript

You don’t get any spellcheck or manual timestamp options such as you get with Scribie. Also missing are features similar to Rev’s notes, speaker ID dropdowns (once you define one speaker, you can assign sections to the same person elsewhere), highlights, and strikethrough options. There’s nothing like Otter’s excellent search or keyword parsing either. In fact, GoTranscript’s editor doesn’t even highlight text as you play back audio nor does it support keyboard shortcuts. The lack of keyboard shortcuts is notable, since this makes it more difficult to maintain an editing flow. For example, your pace of work will suffer if you constantly need to reach for the mouse to perform basic functions such as pausing or rewinding the recording. Occasionally, the playback controls disappear completely, but GoTranscript says it is working on an update that will allow users to manually upload files to this interface.

In the Account tab, click on Balance to add credits to your account or view a basic transaction history. You can also visit the Account Settings area to make changes to your notification preferences, preferred currency type, and add other email addresses to the notification list.

I am disappointed by the lack of settings options overall. By comparison, Trint and Rev offer extensive customization options for everything from punctuation to file-output preferences. Sonix even implements robust account permission and sharing options.

The ordering process is pretty simple. Just select or upload an audio file and choose the options you need. GoTranscript keeps a running total of the cost in a module to the right. The only other step is to pick a payment method. You perform the exact same set of steps to order a transcript from GoTranscript’s mobile apps (more on that later).

Transcription Process

As previously mentioned, GoTranscript is a human-based transcription service. As such, it follows a similar process to others in the category. First, it divides files into sections and freelancers transcribe these sections separately. It adds timestamps and speaker details during the next step. After, GoTranscript merges the individual sections and checks for any inconsistencies between them. The final step is an additional proofreading pass.

GoTranscript

GoTranscript uses 2,048-bit SSL encryption to protect your files and operates under strict NDA policies (it can either provide one or sign one you supply). Further, it gives you the option to delete files at will from your dashboard and removes all traces of the data from your assigned transcriptionists’ computers. GoTranscript says it evaluates its 20,000 employees, the majority of which are based in the UK or US, on a regular basis.

Accuracy Testing

To test the accuracy of the transcription services, I upload the same 16-minute recording to each one. The original recording of a three-person conference call comes from an Olympus VN-722PC dedicated voice recorder. It’s not an easy recording to transcribe, but all the voices are clearly audible and there are few, if any, instances of overlapping voices.

GoTranscript finished the transcript process in just under three hours, which is within its promised turnaround time of one day. Rev only required around an hour for the same task. All of the automated transcription services completed the task in the range of three to four minutes.

Instead of comparing the entirety of each transcript, I choose three paragraphs, one from each speaker on the call. For each snippet of the transcription, I mark an error wherever there is a missing or an extra word. I calculate the overall error rate by dividing the total number of mistakes into the total number of words across the combined sections (in this case, 201 words).

The sample for section A is a short introductory section. Section B is slightly longer and uses more complex vocabulary. Section C is even lengthier and contains some technical language.

GoTranscript produced decent results (it had an error rate of 10 percent), but its transcript had the most errors out of any human-based service I tested. Though this did not meet its promise of 98 percent, my definition of accuracy is no doubt different than GoTranscript’s. It’s still a decent showing either way. On the other hand, Rev turned in better results, with an error rate of just three percent and Scribie turned in a final copy with six percent errors according to my system. Most of the automatic services produced near-unusable results, with the exception of Otter, which had a comparatively low error rate of 17 percent. Take a look at the full chart below for the complete breakdown.

Complex Accuracy Test

I retested all the automatic services, including Scribie, with a simpler two-person, in-person recording and calculated the error rate, in the same manner, using two samples, instead of three. Automatic services fare better with this task, but they still aren’t perfect. Scribie actually fell to the bottom of the pack with an error rate of 27 percent, though this was not too far off from Trint’s 14 percent or Temi’s 20 percent. The full results of the second test appear below.

Simple Transcript Test

Mobile Experience

GoTranscript’s mobile app (available for Android and iOS devices), functions as a digital recorder, an audio library, and a repository for all your GoTranscript orders. Navigation is a bit confusing because there are icons in the upper right corner that are redundant with items in the hidden right-hand menu. Also, there’s no search bar, which could be an issue if you use its services extensively.

GoTranscript

Both the audio and transcript sections are fairly basic. If you tap on an audio file you recorded with the app, you can play it, edit its name, or add it to your favorites, as well as uploading it to your Dropbox account. You also have the option to delete or order a transcript of the file. There’s no way to import an existing audio recording, which is disappointing. After you hit the transcribe button, you proceed through the same options you would on the web. From the Transcriptions library section, you can either download the Word or PDF version of the file or add it to your favorites if it’s one you need to revisit.

Otter, Rev, Temi, and Trint also offer mobile apps. Those work in much the same way; you can record audio and submit the files for transcription. However, most let you view completed transcripts directly within the app. Otter goes one step further by letting you edit transcripts directly from a mobile device.

A Decent Option

Transcription services can save you a ton of time and frustration if you work with a lot of audio or video files. You should primarily base your decision on a service’s overall accuracy, since this will save you from having to spend valuable time correcting mistakes. Although GoTranscript produced usable results, it was not the most accurate in our tests. Its web editor and dashboard are not nearly as robust as those of top competitors, either. Rev, our Editors’ Choice for the category, is cheaper, more accurate, and more enjoyable to use. For simpler transcriptions suitable for automatic services, we recommend Otter.

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