We submitted five unique types of audio files to each of these services, and trust–you'll want to read the data from top to bottom to see the results.
What does anyone want in a transcription service? Quick turnaround time, a fair price, easy to use–and, above all, accuracy and proper formatting.
Here’s the problem—there are a lot of transcription services out there, and each one has its strengths and weaknesses.
That’s why we tested three of the most popular transcription services to help you decide which is right for you. In this showdown, we compared Scribie, GoTranscript, and SpeakWrite and highlighted their best (and worst) features.
We submitted five unique types of audio files to each of these services, and trust us—you’ll want to make sure you read the data from top to bottom to see the results.
Let’s see how they measure up!
Overview of the transcription services in this case study
Their typist hiring section states that Scribie is not a manual typing service but an A.I. review service. They even tell potential applicants that “Scribie will not be a good fit if you are looking for typing-only jobs” and that the bulk of the work will be correcting A.I. transcriptions.
Scribie costs $0.80 per minute for a “manual” transcription. The service charges extra if the audio is poor quality, the speakers have unique accents, and/or if there is a time coding element. In addition, Scribie openly states that they are not HIPAA compliant.
Like Scribie, GoTrancript has a “manual transcription” process consisting of four vague steps.
- First, the audio is broken into smaller sections. During this stage, the transcription is manually typed by humans.
- Next, the transcription is reviewed by quality assurance.
- Then it goes to proofreading, where sections are perfected by editors.
- Lastly, it’s checked for quality (again).
GoTranscript advertises that they produce “100% Human-Generated Transcriptions.”
According to their hiring site, however, GoTranscript states that they use an “A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) platform for their transcription service” in addition to employing human transcribers.
Their hiring site also mentions that applicants do not need to have any background in transcription. They simply need to pass a typing test, which they have unlimited tries to pass.
In addition, GoTranscript offers a wide range of prices based on your chosen turnaround time. Finally, their website makes no statement about HIPAA compliance—so it’s best to assume that they’re probably not.
SpeakWrite uses 100% human transcription. SpeakWrite uses no A.I., period. It’s transcription for humans by humans. That means that SpeakWrite provides transcriptions with fewer errors, which means less editing for clients.
With SpeakWrite, you can also choose to send your work to typists trained in legal document formatting at no additional cost. Unlike the other two services, SpeakWrite charges by the word, not by the minute. SpeakWrite is also HIPAA compliant at no extra cost to the customer.
How we compared Scribie, GoTranscript, and SpeakWrite transcription services
To represent a handful of common scenarios, we submitted five different types of audio transcription jobs to each company.
These audio files were:
- A legal letter
- Case notes (we submitted two case notes samples)
- An interrogatory file
- A legal document
- A multi-speaker file
Based on our results, we explored five of the most important categories: Turnaround time, Pricing, Formatting, Quality, and Ease of Use.
We measured turnaround time by how long it took for each company to return transcriptions to us following their submission. We submitted audio files of varying lengths, and each file included one or multiple speakers.
We defined pricing as the final cost of each job, taking into consideration some additional factors. For instance, some services also charged extra for:
- Quicker delivery time
- Specialized formatting
- Poor audio quality
Some documents require more specialized formatting than others. For instance, a legal letter requires specific, customized formatting. We judged formatting on how appropriate the transcription was for each unique document type.
Part of the appeal of using a transcription service is that it saves you time! (We’re assuming you want to avoid going back and retyping everything due to inaccuracies). We define quality as the accuracy of the words captured compared to the audio file.
Several factors can affect the quality of transcription, depending on which service you choose:
- How many speakers are there?
- Do any of the speakers have accidents?
- Is there any noise interference in the recording?
- What is the recording quality?
- Is the audio file transcribed by A.I. or a human typist?
Ease of use
We defined ease of use by how easy it was to submit and check the status of each job. We also took customer service accessibility and file delivery into consideration.
A feature-by-feature comparison of each service
1. Turnaround Time
The first feature we reviewed was turnaround time. To do this, we looked at the average amount of time it took for each company to transcribe our six audio files. Scribie and GoTranscript had nearly identical turnaround times. However, SpeakWrite had the best average turnaround time by far.
Scribie, who advertises a 24-hour turnaround for their “manual transcripts,” had all six documents back to us in 22 hours and 25 minutes, which is cutting it close, but ultimately within the promised 24-hour timeframe.
They had an average turnaround time of 8 hours and 56 minutes. Some transcripts took as little as an hour, while others took over 22. Scribie’s turnaround time depends on the tier selected during checkout.
GoTranscript had an average turnaround time of 8 hours and 9 minutes. One came back in an hour, but another came back in just over 22 hours.
The longest turnaround time for Scribie and GoTranscript was the same. Oddly enough, the job that took them over 22 hours was only 4 minutes long!
SpeakWrite had an average turnaround time of 1 hour and 39 minutes, making SpeakWrite the clear winner for average turnaround time. The quickest transcription (the case notes) came back in 39 minutes, and the longest (the legal document) took 2 hours and 18 minutes.
The next feature we reviewed was pricing. We looked at each service’s total price for all six documents. Scribie was the cheapest, but the three services are ultimately comparable when you factor in the extra cost of proper formatting.
Scribie prices their transcriptions at $0.80 per minute. However, they charge extra if special attention to formatting is required.
The total for all six audio files was $25.29, making them the winner. That said, if you want your transcripts to be formatted correctly, Scribie charges more, making their price comparable to the other two services.
GoTranscript varies its prices depending on the turnaround time you require. They say that prices start at $0.77 per minute. However, if you want a 5-day turnaround, they charge $0.90 per minute. For a 6-12 hour turnaround, they charge $2.50 per minute. Altogether, the total for all six audio files was $50.07
SpeakWrite prices its services differently, charging by the word rather than the minute. SpeakWrite advertises a price of 1.5 cents per word.
The price difference is reflected in the cost of each unique document type. Some documents were more affordable for each service, and some were more expensive.
To review formatting, we looked to see if the transcriptions were formatted appropriately for each document type. And when it came to formatting, SpeakWrite was the definite winner.
Scribie’s transcriptions were decidedly not up to snuff.
In their transcription of the legal letter, time stamps were left in the document, which was unnecessary.
Plus, in the legal document, all instructions to the typist were included in the transcript, and none of them were followed. Scribie did not follow the style of citations or use italics and parentheses correctly.
The document was also littered with typos and would have to be entirely reformatted to be usable. However, Scribie did a good job with the multi-speaker submission, as did the other two services.
GoTranscript also suffered in the formatting department. Like Scribie, many documents would need to be entirely reformatted to be usable.
Instructions to the typist were left in the legal letter, new paragraphs were started (without request) in the case notes, and formatting instructions for font preference and spacing were ignored in the legal document. GoTranscript did a decent job with the multi-speaker submission.
When it comes to formatting, SpeakWrite is the hands-down winner. Across all five unique document types, formatting instructions were followed. SpeakWrite employed proper formatting, followed font and spacing instructions, and formatted headers appropriately. All six documents were also typo-free.
The bottom line is this: reformatting documents that should be formatted correctly in the first place costs time and money. So if you’re looking to save time and money, SpeakWrite is the most viable option by far.
SpeakWrite is once again the clear winner when it comes to quality. The results of our case study show that significant corrections are needed for Scribie and GoTranscript documents—so you’ll spend any time saved with their A.I. transcription editing the transcriptions.
Scribie has a problem with misunderstanding words. For example, Scribie misunderstood the word “admission” as “head mission” and “case plan” as “case planned.”
In other instances of Scribie goof-ups, the term “governing” should be “govern,” and “Dr. Fias” should be “doctored his,” among others. Regarding multi-speaker recordings, Scribie did okay(but could have been better).
The problem with GoTranscript includes lots of missing punctuation. There were also instances where GoTranscript included the spelling of names verbatim rather than just using the provided spelling.
Grammatical errors included some common homophones, such as “residents” and “residence,” demonstrating a lack of contextual understanding. Multi-speaker results were decent but still included some imperfections as well.
SpeakWrite came out on top when it comes to quality. They were the only service that produced a polished letter ready for use. All six transcriptions came out accurately, with directions to the typist followed by a T.
5. Ease of Use
Scribie’s platform made it very difficult to tell what work was submitted and what was not. So unless you’re an incredibly organized professional, you may find it hard to keep track of your transcription progress with Scribie.
GoTranscript provides the job with a unique job I.D. even though you have the opportunity to name your file. So if you’re searching for a completed job on the platform or by email, it’s tough to find unless you have the job I.D. handy. Additionally, uploading large files took quite a bit longer to upload.
SpeakWrite’s intuitive, easy-to-use platform makes transcription a breeze for users. Just upload the audio file, enter your preferences or upload a template for formatting, and you’re off! Uploading large files doesn’t take long, either. When you get your transcript back, it’s beautifully formatted and ready to use.
The verdict - which transcription service is best for your business?
If your goal is speed:
Scribie is the fastest of the three services; some documents were returned within just a few minutes using their A.I. transcription options. However, you’ll need to spend extra time and money editing their flawed transcriptions.
If your goal is price:
SpeakWrite is the most affordable option, offering competitive per-word rates and even a free trial for new users.
If your goal is quality:
SpeakWrite is the winner by so far; it’s not even funny! Not only do they produce the most accurate transcripts, but they also provide exceptional formatting services.
All in all, SpeakWrite is the best transcription service for businesses looking to save on time and money while still getting quality results. Not only are their transcripts accurate and well-formatted, but they’re also easier to use than Scribie and GoTranscript. With SpeakWrite, you can be confident that your transcripts will always look professional and ready to use.