Wednesday, 21 August 2013 10:53

Sky smartpen's Evernote integration delivers audio transcription


Livescribe has added a new trick to the repertoire of its Sky smartpen: transcription of recordings.

The Livescribe Sky smartpen allows its user to write or sketch normally - albeit on specially printed paper - while the device records the track taken by the nib.

This activity is synchronised to the audio recording that the Sky also makes, which is very handy when taking notes in lectures or meetings.

The digitised paper and the audio recording are both uploaded automatically to the user's Evernote account.

The latest Sky feature is transcription of audio recordings. Livescribe has implemented this by working with crowdsourcing provider TranscribeMe.

Once a user has signed up for the TranscribeMe plus Evernote service, they simply copy the audio to their TranscribeMe notebook or tag it with "TranscribeMe" and choose a payment method, then within 48 hours (often substantially less for high-quality recordings) the transcribed text will arrive in the Evernote notebook.

TranscribeMe uses a combination of speech recognition software and human transcribers to guarantee 98% accuracy.

Portions of each job are allocated to different transcribers so none of them has full access to a customer's file.

The company allocates trained medial and legal transcribers when recordings are marked for specialist processing.

But at US$1 per minute for single-speaker recordings or US$2 for multiple speakers, it is not cheap in absolute terms and we can't imagine many students will be able to afford to have lectures transcribed.

That said, local transcription agencies appear to charge close to twice as much for single-speaker recordings.

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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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