The first startup to pitch at DEMO Asia 2012 turned out to be among the most promising ones. TranscribeMe is a mobile app by New Zealand startup Audio Scribe that promises to transcribe audio recordings within a day.
While the idea isn’t new, what sets TranscribeMe apart from its competitors is that it crowdsources for transcribers from around the world, and charges a much cheaper rate, under half of the nearest competitor.
The founder, Alexei Dunayev, gave a confident, succinct pitch and declared that transcripts of the DEMO Asia conference will be made available to all. The app, which will be free to download, is currently in closed beta. They’ll open it to the public in the middle of the year.
While transcription companies typically charge US1.50 to US$2.50 per minute, TranscribeMe has managed to bring the price down to S$1 per minute (US$0.80), which is rather low for the claimed 98 percent accuracy rate. They’re able to achieve this by improving the efficiency of the transcription process through a cloud-based solution.
Once a recording is sent to their servers, the system drastically improves audio quality using proprietary technology and breaks it down into 60 second bits, which are then distributed to a database of about 200 transcribers possessing different specializations, coming from different countries and time zones.
So, instead of having one transcriber working on one long recording, an army of workers are in fact transcribing different micro segments of the recording in parallel, speeding things up. The overall efficiency of the process results in cost savings.
Alexei explained that they plan to reach out to businesses and organizations eventually with corporate subscription plans.
Traditional transcription services house transcribers within their offices, and this puts a limit on their client base. An American transcriber, for instance, may not be able to comprehend the thick English accent of an Indian person.
With TranscribeMe, a lawyer who needs some transcripts done would be matched with someone who understands legalese and the accent of the lawyer’s client. The startup’s engine room consists of professional transcribers looking to earn extra income in their off-hours.
Alexei and his team is definitely on to something here. They’ll be able to generate revenue quickly, and hopefully get some funding for expansion.
Also check out our complete coverage of DEMO Asia.