Automated vs. Manual Transcription: How do I Choose?

Automated vs. Manual Transcription: How do I Choose?

So you've decided to start transcribing! We're so excited to have finally won you over.

No matter what you use transcription for, it's a great tool to improve the efficiency of your everyday life. There are a ton of benefits to having and keeping transcriptions, all of which you've probably already weighed if you're at this point.

However, there may be one final choice you have to make, and that's whether to transcribe manually or automatically. Making this choice can be a tough one - and that's why we've compiled this list of your options and what about them you should consider.

Here are the main aspects of transcriptions, and the pros and cons of creating them manually vs. automatically:


No matter how you weigh the options, machine transcribed audio is essentially always the most efficient choice when it comes to automated or manual transcriptions. Automated transcriptions are fast, simple, and require far less time, energy, and money to produce.

This process can be a bit more complicated with manual transcriptions. Even for a typist with the highest words per minute count, it takes far more time to type out a transcript than it does to process it through software. This doesn't even account for the fact that it needs to be your main focus. With automated transcriptions, you can work on an entirely different task while your transcript is automatically generated.

Overall, the more efficient choice is usually going to the automated route.


Accuracy is a tricky aspect of automated transcription. We've all seen screenshots of those voicemails run through voice-to-text that end up saying something completely ridiculous. "Uncle Mike said what?!" But with the automated transcription software you'll be likely using, the technology is a bit more sophisticated, and less likely to make small, silly errors.

When it comes to manual transcription, accuracy is usually a bit more accurate - but there is still the aspect of human error to consider. Either way, accuracy can always be impacted.

When it comes to accuracy, the final count is a close one! But it may be best to consider manual transcription for this particular aspect, especially if it's the most important factor to you.


Automated transcription software is far less expensive than keeping a full-time stenographer on your staff. Prices also don't always change depending on how much you need to transcribe, whereas the more a human has to type, the longer they need to work, and the more you need to pay them.

Manually typed transcripts may be what you need, depending on the other aspects you have to consider, but when it comes to cost they will always be the pricier option. It's just up to you on whether or not this option is worth the expense.

When it comes to cost, automated transcription is once again our winner!

So what's the right answer?

Honestly, that's completely up to you. The right choice between manual and automatic transcription is completely based off your personal use case. Considering the factors above for each option is an important step in making the decision because there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone.

However, automated transcription software does offer a ton of benefits, and those looking for the most efficient option often start here.

If you think this is right for you, or if you want to get started simply so you can try it out for yourself, visit us at Vocalmatic to continue exploring your options.