Voice to text problem

Subject: Voice to text problem
From: "Elna Tymes" <etymes -at- lts -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 02 Feb 2000 09:22:51 -0800


I have an interesting problem. My client has about 24 hours of videotape (which they will edit to approximately 8 hrs.) and what's said on it needs to become the source information for a course book, some marketing material, and
the introductory sections of a number of manuals. What's the most efficient way to get this material to something a word processor can work with?

Currently considered options are:

1. Using voice to text software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking (in whatever edition seems most appropriate) and IBM's ViaVoice Gold. (After reading the reviews, I'm not inclined to recommend the Kurzweil offering in this

2. Paying someone to transcribe the spoken words on the tape. Here we run into the problem of the transcriber not necessarily knowing the jargon. But the translation software probably wouldn't know either.

3. Taking notes from the videotape and writing the source material fresh. Here at least we have a writer who is moderately knowledgeable about the jargon, who may be able to grab some word-type information from the diagrams the
speakers are sketching, or even reproduce the sketches.

Option 1 is the least expensive up front - both packages run about $150, but there's the cost of time to "train" the software to recognize the speakers' voices, and the cost of correcting misunderstood jargon.

Option 2 is likely to run about $25/hour here in Silicon Valley.

Option 3 is likely to be the most expensive up front, because the writer's time is expensive. However we have to consider the quality of the resulting product, and the time it would take to get it.

Are there other options to this one?

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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