Manual vs Automatic Audio / Video Transcription Services, Which is Better?

As technology grows considerably, manual works can be done at a level via new technologies. The helpfulness of new technologies, including Deep Learning, Artificial Intelligence and ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition), can be a good example when considering the responsibilities of today’s transcriptionists.

When we talk about the transcription or decipher of the video or audio records, there is a discussion about which method we should use? In this blog article, we will try to present you both cons and pros of these two approach: manual vs. automatic transcription services:

Manual Transcription

As it can be derived from its heading,  manual transcription is a process of conversion of spoken words (video records, voice / audio records) into text formats by professional transcribers. It is done manually with almost % 99 accuracy rate. Especially sectors like academics, medical that need high accuracy for their research, they prefer using freelance professional transcribers for their audio records. These professional transcribers are highly skilled and produce accurate transcripts (up to % 99 accuracy) with key knowledge in the field to decipher important information, type and edit quickly. However, nowadays it is really difficult to find and hire people that do transcription manually and it is time consuming.

Automatic Transcription Services

In automatic transcription, we use software to convert audio records to text.  The automatic transcription services rely on ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition). With the help of cutting edge AI technologies, automatic transcription services can now do transcription with a higher accuracy rate. Please check, Figure 1 and Figure 2.

Speech Recognition Word Error Rate 2013-2019
Figure 1 - Speech Recognition Word Error Rate 2013-2019
Figure 2 - Word Error Rate by Provider

ASR machines are trained to continuously get smarter with time, providing increased results each time they’re used.

Manual Transcription and Automatic Transcription Services Comparison



Manual Transcription

Automatic Transcription

How much time does it take per hour

Approximately 6-7 hours

An hour* (30 minutes for uploading +

30 minutes for transcription)

Accuracy rate

Up to % 99

Up to % 90

Cost per hour

75 – 100 dollars

~10 dollars

7 to 10 times lower cost

Online Editor Support



Timestamp and Speaker Recognition


With it can be done via online editor capabilities


 Table 1 – Manual Transcription and Automatic Transcription Comparison



We may say manual transcription is better than automatic transcription in the past 3-4 years in terms of accuracy rate. However, with the development of high technology in the field, the accuracy gap between automatic and manual transcription is almost finished. Now, it is easy to gain high accuracy transcripts from automatic transcription services with some editor work and proofreading.


Here at, we both serve manual and automatic transcription services. To get detailed information about please don’t hesitate to contact us! [email protected]

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