Transcribing documents is incredibly time-consuming if you do it yourself, and very expensive should you get a specialised company to do it for you. This is where Trint comes in.
Trint offers a service that combines AI with collaborative tools to help you complete your transcriptions in record time. This is a service aimed at professionals, like journalists, documentarians, even lawyers. People who need and can afford accurate transcriptions regularly.
Dedicated transcription services can charge anything between $0.73 and $5.00 per minute - depending on the company and how much of a hurry you’re in. Trint’s fees are based on a subscription service: the Basic subscription will cost you $46 per month for 3 hours of transcription. If you need more time beyond the initial 3 hours, you’ll pay $15/hour. This equates to $0.25 per minute.
- Want to try Trint? Check out the website here
The Supercharged subscription is $130/month for 10 hours (anything after that is $13/hour). This equates to $0.22/minute).
There’s also a Team package where up to 50 users can collaborate on the transcripts to speed up the work. These accounts are custom priced for each clients.
On the face of it, the price is highly competitive, and if you don’t use all your hours, they can roll over to the next month (this isn’t an unlimited option: your unused minutes are only valid for 60 days from the date of purchase, but it’s welcomed nonetheless).
There’s also a free trial to help you gauge the service. You can sign up via Google or Facebook, or by creating an account directly with Trint. You’re then offered 30 free minutes of transcription.
So how does the whole process work?
To import an audio or video file, click on the yellow ‘Upload’ button, top right of the page. You’re then graced with a checklist asking you if the recording is background noise-free, if the people in the recording are talking over one another, how thick their accents are, and how close to the microphone they were. This is really just a list to remind you that the clearer the recording is, the more accurate the transcription will be. You can click on ‘Proceed Anyway’ to move on to the next step. To not see this list the next time, tick ‘Don’t show this again’.
You can choose files from various locations, such as your computer, Box, DropBox, Google Drive, Cloud Drive, OneDrive, Evernote and Gmail. You can even record a video straight from that import window.
We found an odd glitch: some audio and video files appear greyed out when trying to choose them from the traditional import window, yet you can drag them onto the browser window instead and they’ll seamlessly import.
There is no apparent file size limit when you upload (although the bigger the file, the longer it will take). Trint do advise to limit the length of your recordings to a maximum of three hours.
Once imported, you select the language spoken in the recording, and click on transcribe. There aren’t many languages available yet, but the most common are covered.
The transcription process is very fast. We tested it on a few files and found on average that Trint was able to transcribe two and a half to three minutes in about a minute.
The list of transcripts appear in your account, with the last one you edited being at the top. Trint refers to them as ‘trints’.
But how accurate is the result?
You have a few options open to you before you transcribe: you can give the AI access to your ‘Vocal Builder’, which is a list of words you’ve added from previous transcriptions to help Trint understand more unusual words, or company names (like ‘Trint’ instead of ‘Trent’).
‘Detect when speaker changes’ is on by default and works… most of the time. We found it could have difficulty distinguishing between similar sounding voices - our ears are still more finely tuned than the current algorithms.
Both of these features are still classified as in ‘Beta’ so expect some glitches along the way.
It’s a simple matter to fix issues though: you can merge two paragraphs in one with the ‘Delete’ key, or split one in two by hitting ‘Return’: the interface feels very much like a word processor. It’s also best controlled by keyboard shortcuts, although you can also easily use your computer’s mouse or trackpad instead.
The editing interface is very sparse but gives you everything you need: playback controls are at the lower left, underneath the audio waveform which takes up the whole width of the page. If you’re working on a video file, a preview of it appears just above the waveform, on the left.
Top of the page are your undo and redo buttons, find and replace, highlight, markers, comments, strikethrough, and ‘add to vocal’.
Trint encourages you to use keyboard shortcuts to speed up your work, and gently reminds you how to activate them: mouse over a button and after a couple of seconds the shortcut hovers over it.
The middle of the page is your transcription.
If the audio is clear with little background noise, the accuracy is impressive. Errors creep up if the quality isn’t that good or if people talk over each other.
As your file plays, you can see where you are in your transcript as the text goes from light grey to black. Click anywhere and the audio jumps to that location. This makes altering the transcript quick and easy because you can leave the file playing and alter the text as you listen, moving forward or backwards without missing a beat. It’s a very good system.
You can easily use the Find and Replace tool to locate specific words (see how many times Coca-Cola is mentioned for instance). What great is that the transcript and the media file are always linked so you can hear those words as well as read them.
It’s easy to name the people in the recording, and a you do so, Trint then offers you a drop down menu to select those names rather than type them again. A thoughtful feature.
Once you’re happy with a paragraph you can tick the box to its right. This is a good reminder so you can see which parts are done and which need to be checked further. It’s also useful when working as part of a team.
When you have that feature enabled, multiple people can collaborate with you. This greatly speeds up the editing process. You can leave comments for other team members, highlight sections for others to double-check, etc.
The collaboration features are something Trint are putting a lot of energy in, and they work totally as expected.
Sharing and exporting
There are various options open to you when sharing your transcript. You can send it to collaborators, allowing them to edit your work with you. If you send a copy instead, the recipient(s) will be able to make changes, but those modifications won’t be reflected in your own version. Finally, if you wish to send your work to someone who hasn’t got a Trint account, you can send them a URL. They’ll be able to watch the video or listen to the audio, scrub through it, and read the transcript, but they won’t be able to make any changes.
Once your work is done, it’s then time to export it, and Trint offers you numerous options depending on your needs. The most basic one is a .docx file, but the other formats Trint is compatible with are very interesting.
You can export your file in the universal subtitling format .srt, or as an Edit Decision List, for video post production work in Adobe Premiere or Media Composer, save your project as an .xml file to work with compatible video editors (such as Premiere or Final Cut Pro 7), or use the new ‘Trint Player’, which essentially grafts the transcript onto the video you’ve uploaded to YouTube.
Trint is an excellent transcribing service. You can use it on your own or as part of a team, and the initial AI transcription yields very good - but never perfect - results. Any company that does transcripts on a regular basis should definitely check it out; it could save you a lot of money in the long run.
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