What is AI Transcription? Everything You Need to Know
AI and ML

What is AI Transcription? Everything You Need to Know



Does the name ring a bell? Hint. It’s not Audrey Hepburn.

We are talking about Audrey, the first computer speech recognition tool, invented in 1952. Groundbreaking as it was, the software could only understand digits.

Audrey was followed by IBM’s Shoebox, which was created a decade later and had a vocabulary of 16 English words.

Harpy by Carnegie Mellon followed Shoebox and could understand more than 1000 words. It was invented in the ‘70s.

This short walk down memory lane is essential for understanding how speech recognition has evolved over the years. It has come a long way. And today, it is doing what was once considered impossible: converting speech to text.

With the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI), AI transcription software can automatically record a conversation and convert that into text. Not only that, it can detect emotion, intent, accents, recognize multiple speakers, pull up action items, and more. It is making content inclusive and accessible to people all around the world.

In this blog, we will cover:

  • What is AI transcription?
  • How does automated transcription work?
  • Benefits of AI transcription
  • Accuracy of AI transcription
  • Is AI transcription safe?
  • What is AI in minutes of a meeting?
  • What is unique about Fireflies AI notetaker?
  • Future of transcription

What is AI Transcription?

As the name suggests, AI transcription uses AI technology to convert human speech into text. It eliminates the process of manual note-taking. Instead, you can “employ” the transcription software to listen to conversations or audio or video files and translate them seamlessly into texts.

The AI used for transcription is Narrow AI or Artificial Narrow Intelligence (ANI). This type of AI is used for specific tasks such as transcription, virtual assistants, and spam filters to name a few.

How Does AI Transcription Work?

One of the best things about you is your ability to process natural language. People, in general, are very good at this.

You can talk with and understand what your friend is saying without someone telling you how to do it.

You can quickly deconstruct the meaning of words and sentences, and understand how the message is delivered based on its context.

For instance, you can decipher how the word “address” is used in these sentences based on their contexts.

  • We need to address the issue immediately.
  • Which address should I send this package to?

As remarkable as it is, AI cannot process natural language on its own.

Humans need to train it through a machine learning algorithm; this enables the machines to solve problems when fed with large data sets.

It does this through Natural Language Processing (NLP). NLP is a subset of AI that uses machine learning and deep learning to understand human language—specifically, semantics.

AI Transcription, Machine learning, Deep learning

And this gets better over time because of deep learning. Deep learning is a subset of machine learning that has layers of processing units to form neural networks.

Neural networks mimic how our brain works. With deep learning, machines can understand the context as well as deconstruct sentences.

Once the engineer feeds it with voice samples and texts, the neural network will look for patterns. Once it does, it will match the voice recording to the appropriate texts.

AI Transcription, Deep Neural Network

Automated transcription software usually uses AI-powered automatic speech recognition (ASR) machines. ASR machines can be used in both live or recorded settings.

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Benefits of AI Transcription


Some AI transcription software solutions also come with features that can automate menial, repetitive, and time-consuming work, such as creating follow-up tasks on the CRM system.

Accuracy and speed

It can be cumbersome and time-consuming to transcribe interviews, calls, podcasts, or lectures manually. But with AI transcription software, you can accurately transcribe and review hour-long meetings in minutes.


AI transcription software also has timestamps to evaluate the sequence of events. It can identify different speakers, allow users to annotate transcriptions, and create soundbites of important sections from lengthy audio files.


Automated transcription software solutions are relatively cheaper than human transcription services, which can cost between $1.30 and $3.50 per minute. Many AI transcription software companies like Fireflies has a freemium tier. This way, anyone can use certain features of the product for free. Accessing the powerful features of Fireflies through a monthly or yearly subscription fee is still cheaper than transcription services.


AI transcription software can integrate with your company’s existing software and systems. For instance, you can automatically send meeting notes to your CRM or other project management tools with such integrations. It saves time, makes you more productive, and is handy for effective follow-ups.

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Accuracy of AI Transcription

While the average Word Error Rate for word-to-text is far from 100%, it can help achieve faster results and ensure near-perfect accuracy when coupled with humans. According to a 2020 benchmark report, Microsoft had an accuracy of 78%, Google 79%, and the dedicated speech-to-text provider Rev.ai had 84% accuracy.

However, some companies provide highly accurate transcripts. For instance, Fireflies has an accuracy of 90%, implying that in 100 words of transcribed text, there will be 10 incorrectly transcribed words.

Transcription accuracy can further be improved by pre-feeding AI systems with specific, custom vocabulary that you often use during conversations. These could be phrases, acronyms, or terms used in your industry.

Is AI Transcription Safe?

The honest answer is, it depends on the company and its security and privacy policies.

Audio transcription services usually fall into three categories.

  1. The fully automated, AI and machine learning-driven tools that process conversations.
  2. The ones that humans transcribe at the back end.
  3. A blend of computer processing and human capabilities.

Ultimately, you need to ask yourself two things: do you trust the service provider, and how sensitive are your audio files?

When you look for AI transcription services, it is worth investing time in research. Look for the company's reputation, history of data breaches, and privacy policy. All this information will lead you to an answer.

At Fireflies, we encrypt your data, including emails, personal identifiable metadata and calendar events, with a 256-bit AES encryption in storage and a 256-bit SSL/TLS encryption in transit.

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What is AI in Minutes of a Meeting?

The AI meeting assistant is a type of software that accurately takes meeting minutes so that you can engage in conversations without any distractions.

It is a note taker designed to attend meetings, automatically transcribe conversations, and manage tasks. AI meeting assistants uncover and share insights from voice conversations that are usually unavailable when taking notes manually.

All this data can then be used to automate knowledge transfer, derive more insights, and automate specific activities in a workflow.

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What is Unique About Fireflies AI Notetaker?

Fireflies is more than just a notetaker or a meeting. It can be used across marketing, sales, project management, HR, customer services, and IT. Our bot, Fred, not only transcribes meetings but can also convert your audio or video files into texts in just a few minutes.

Our AI-generated transcripts are actionable and can create tasks for your team. Some of the noteworthy features of our tools include:

Annotate or leave comments on transcripts to allow your teammates to review them later.

Search the transcript for keywords, themes, and topics, including sentiment, date, time, action items, etc.

Create your custom topics to track and discover critical discussions around things like pricing and competitors.

Create small clips or soundbites from your call and share them right from your dashboard.

Have consolidated insights into speakers and topics, and track the quality of your team’s conversations via conversation intelligence.

Directly capture a meeting or any audio/video file being played on the Chrome browser with our Chrome extension.

Unmatched integrations with various video conferencing, CRM, Dialers, calendaring, and project management tools.

Ready to get started with us? Try Fireflies for free!

Future of AI Transcription

Modern life looks more like science fiction with robot citizens like Sophia, drone deliveries, and self-driving cars. While movies may predict a doomsday with machines taking over, the reality isn’t that grim. Some of the digital assistants in our lives are inspired by the futuristic visions of Hollywood’s big screens.

AI transcription is one such assistant that makes meetings more productive and efficient. As our AI and machine learning capabilities improve with each passing year, AI speech-to-text will become more accurate and accessible. But don’t wait until then. Hire your own AI notetaker today, spark engaging conversations and uncover valuable data.

Try Fireflies for free