Meeting Transcription Software: Pros & Cons

Learn to harness artificial intelligence while balancing the pros and cons of meeting transcription tools.

By Hannah Ross  •   September 26, 2023  •   7 min read

The transcription of content is a major pillar in industries across the gamut. Whether it be transcribing your podcast episodes, or taking detailed meeting notes, the transcription process can be tedious and time consuming. Luckily, there are automated meeting transcription tools that make the transcription process quick, easy, and affordable. While these tools cut time and labor costs, it’s important to note that there can be hiccups, including poor grammatical output, errors, and lack of related knowledge. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about the pros and cons of automated transcription tools. 

What are automated transcriptions? 

Automated transcriptions are speech-to-text tools that work by leveraging algorithms and software to listen to audio and transform it into the written word. Often powered by artificial intelligence, automated transcriptions help save time, money, and resources when compared to manual transcriptions. This technology works by analyzing audio input, identifying individual words, and generating a written transcript, and can be used in many scenarios including meetings, presentations, keynote speeches, and more. 

Automated transcripts provide several benefits like faster processing speed, greater accessibility, efficient editing capabilities, collaborative features, and integration with existing workflows. While automated transcriptions have many advantages, it’s important to note that there are several cons including poor accuracy, limited vocabulary, and a lack of context. 

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Pros of automated transcription

1Saves time

Before automated transcription tools were introduced, the task of transcribing had to be done manually. This meant that a human had to write out each word that was being spoken, taking tons of time, energy, and resources. Automated transcription tools can transcribe at a much faster rate when compared to humans. They can process large volumes of content in a fraction of the time that it would take a human assigned with the same task as well as save time editing. Automated transcription tools often come with editing capabilities that make it possible for users to make corrections and revisions directly within the transcription tool, making the editing process faster and more efficient.

2Is cost efficient

Human transcription can be costly, especially when it comes to large volumes of content. As stated above, automated transcription tools help save time, money, and resources, eliminating or reducing the need for manual transcribers. Because you aren’t paying a human to complete the task, you can reduce your labor costs and focus on investing your resources into an affordable automated transcription tool that helps you transcribe your meeting at lightning speed.

3Is convenient

Automated transcription tools are incredibly convenient, especially when compared to manual transcription. Compared to manual transcription, automated transcription makes content more accessible, enables searchability, offers editing capabilities, integrates with existing workflows, and helps facilitate collaboration. Collectively, these features help simplify the transcription process, making it easier and more efficient to transcribe your meeting content. 

4Allows for scaling

Transcribing content manually can make it nearly impossible to scale. Luckily, several comprehensive automated transcription tools make the process of transcribing mass batches of content quick and efficient. Automated transcription tools use advanced algorithms to process content quickly, allowing users to process large amounts of content with ease. This faster processing speed ensures your transcription needs can be met promptly, making it possible to scale when the time comes. These tools are reliable regardless of demand, meaning you can transcribe what you need to regardless of the quantity or increased workload. 

5Is accessible 

When you rely on a human to transcribe your meeting, chances are the transcription will only be completed in one language. Leveraging an automated transcription tool makes it possible to transcribe your meetings in multiple languages, making your transcriptions more accessible. In addition, automated transcriptions help ensure your content is inclusive and compliant with accessibility standards. Transcripts enable the incorporation of closed captions, subtitles, and alternative text, making it possible for everyone to access and engage with your content, regardless of their accessibility needs.

Cons of automated transcription

1Faces technical difficulties

There’s nothing worse than having technical difficulties, especially when it comes to a tool you rely on. While automated transcription tools can be incredibly useful, they may also hinder your productivity from time to time. For example, it may be broken or have bugs that make it difficult to use.

2Has a limited vocabulary 

Automated transcription tools rely on machine learning algorithms and models that are trained on mass amounts of data. It’s important to note that the vocabulary of your tool will be based on the training data, meaning it will be heavily reliant on the words and phrases that are present in the training data. For example, a transcription tool trained in legal recordings may have a more extensive legal vocabulary but struggle with other subjects. 

3Increases the risk of mistakes 

While automated transcription tools can help generate transcriptions quickly, it’s essential to review their output for accuracy. Several factors increase the risk of mistakes when using an automated transcription tool, including variations in speech patterns, background noise and audio quality, contextual ambiguity or lack of contextual cues, complex sentence structures and grammar, and lack of domain-specific knowledge. While transcribing content manually can be more time consuming and less cost effective, it’s generally more reliable and accurate. 

4Presents security concerns 

It’s important to note that many factors may cause security concerns like bugs or security breaches when using an automated transcription tool. Take ChatGPT, for example: ChatGPT was recently taken offline due to a bug in an open-source library that allowed users to see titles from other active users’ chat history, compromising users’ privacy and breaking the trust of many. To mitigate security concerns, you must choose a reputable and trustworthy transcription tool that prioritizes data security and privacy. You can also mitigate the risk by reviewing the tool’s privacy policy to better understand how its data is handled and take additional security measures that prevent your data from being stolen, leveraged, or breached. 

5Lacks context

One of the major downfalls of leveraging an automated transcription tool is the lack of human touch. Many of these tools rely on artificial intelligence, meaning they lack human context. While these tools are efficient, it’s important to note that you may need to review your transcription and make edits along the way. You might save time and energy initially, but the transcription process may require additional effort down the line. 

The best software for meeting transcriptions

Fellow is a meeting management software with a variety of intuitive features—including automated transcriptions—that make this software the superior choice. Fellow’s AI meeting assistant takes care of recording and transcribing meetings so participants can stay focused and engaged in the discussion. Searchable transcriptions make it easy to find key discussions, decisions, and action items to share with relevant stakeholders.

Additionally, AI meeting summaries, paired with recordings and full AI meeting transcriptions are all in one place to keep all stakeholders in the loop, even when they’re not in the meeting. Fellow is a central repository for all meeting records so everyone is aligned and follow-ups are clear.

The key differentiator between Fellow and other tools is that Fellow goes beyond transcribing, reinventing the entire practice of meeting management. In addition to providing automated transcriptions and summaries, Fellow also allows users to create collaborative, fully customizable meeting agendas that can be used to keep meetings on track and organized.

Fellow’s robust library of 500+ free meeting agenda templates ensures you never have to start from scratch so you can plan and execute your next meeting both quickly and efficiently. With Fellow, you can easily capture meeting minutes, prompt conversations, assign action items, follow up with teammates, and give and receive feedback

Parting advice

Like with anything, there are both pros and cons to leveraging an automated meeting transcription tool. To mitigate the risks, it’s important to be diligent and choose a tool that is trustworthy and reputable. You can also mitigate the risks by being aware of potential pitfalls—which you now are! While there are many pros and cons of meeting transcription tools, you don’t have to fret when you choose Fellow. Unlike other tools, Fellow offers a comprehensive approach to transcription in addition to features that make facilitating meetings and following up after meetings a breeze.

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