Transcription – what our clients say
Writing compelling minutes or converting speeches into reliable texts is no easy task. The speech-to-text technologies available on the market today can be of great help, but they do not include the post-processing by professional linguists offered by the Translation Centre, which launched its comprehensive transcription service last year. We have asked some of our clients to share their first impressions with us.
‘We are very happy to be able to make use of this service’, said Thierry Fontenelle, Head of the Linguistic Services Division at the European Investment Bank (EIB). His organisation recently asked the Centre to transcribe a highly confidential 5-hour meeting that could not be handled in-house. He explained that ‘the fact that the CdT uses automatic speech recognition technology to speed up the transcription process, together with human intervention and revision to correct the inevitable mistakes (…), allowed [his division] to provide colleagues with what they needed within a reasonable time frame’.
As Thierry Fontenelle explains, the added value of the Centre’s transcription service is the post-processing phase carried out by its professional linguists. When they review the raw transcripts, they not only edit the texts, but also add crucial information like speaker identification, and correct acronyms and names that the system could not detect.
The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA), which is based in Vienna, has also used the Centre’s transcription service. ‘We were looking for a solution to transcribe the Director’s recorded speeches into texts to be published online’, said Nicole Romain, Head of the Communications and Events Unit, explaining that this had been done in house but was not an effective solution.
Nicole Romain stressed that the transcription solution offered by the Centre was seamless, unlike other solutions available on the market. ‘Existing solutions are either web-based subscription services which pose procurement challenges or are software-based which need to be approved by our IT team’, they pointed out. There had been some initial concerns about the use of cloud-based technologies, so the EIB asked the Centre to provide them with a data protection impact assessment. Once this had been reviewed by their Personnel Directorate and Data Protection Officer, the EIB were satisfied that they could safely use the Centre’s transcription service.
The European Fisheries Control Agency (EFCA) located in Vigo (Spain) also uses the Centre’s transcription service to prepare the minutes of its administrative board meetings, as written records are required for such events.
Along with other EU agencies, we have also started using transcription ourselves for our day-to-day business. We produce transcripts to help draw up written records of our management board meetings. Having this extra resource on hand speeds up the drafting of the minutes and enhances accuracy. We have also recently used transcription to follow up on the workshop on multilingualism that we held with the European Ombudsman on 30 September (see our article).
Our experience is that the transcription service is a cost-effective solution that helps us to quickly process tasks which are otherwise time-consuming, and enables us to focus on our operational work.