By Joe Dysart
AI transcription of video meetings has gotten so good, many workers have completely abandoned the idea of taking notes during meetings, entrusting that task—and more—to artificial intelligence.
“In the age of remote meetings, classes, and events, keeping track of meetings can be tricky,” says Chang Chen, head of growth and marketing, Otter.ai, a popular AI-powered video meeting transcriber.
With AI-powered transcribers, making a text record of a video meeting—including adding notes, commentary, questions, still images and more—is a snap.
“People struggle to keep up with the conversation while taking notes, and it’s absolutely important to capture the information and make it instantly available to everyone,” Chen says.
Adds Brian Lynch, president, SteelEye Americas, a maker of an AI transcriber. “We are already seeing tier-one firms investing in advanced and real-time transcription as a priority.”
Going far beyond transcribing simply what’s being said at meetings, many AI-powered transcribers now also enable users to add commentary—on-the-fly—to the meeting record, as well as emojis, questions and similar edits.
Moreover, some apps also enable you to perform significant edits to a meeting transcript after the close of a meeting, offering one-touch addition of a slide, image or similar graphic anywhere in the transcription text, meeting summaries, meeting highlights and more.
And most software makers in the space also pre-configure their apps to integrate seamlessly with popular video meeting applications, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Webex.
Granted, no auto-transcriber of any kind right now—AI-powered or otherwise—can claim 100% accuracy. Even many humans are not that good.
But many of these AI-powered solution makers are asserting that their transcriptions of video meetings are 99% accurate.
That’s not bad if you’d rather focus entirely on a meeting rather than trying to scribble down everything you’re hearing and thinking about what’s going on.
Essentially, AI transcribers are automating virtually every aspect of creating, working with and enhancing meeting transcriptions that people used to take by hand.
And additional new features for these solutions just keep coming—thanks to fierce competition among video meeting transcriber app makers.
Key apps to evaluate include Otter.ai, Descript, Dubber, Fathom, Interprefy, Amazon Transcribe, Nuance, IBM Watson, Transcribeme, Verbit.ai, Sonix, Voicea, QNAP and Trint.
As with most apps in a hyper-competitive genre, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be able to find one that’s perfect for you.
Overall, here are the features to look for in a best-of-breed video meeting transcriber:
Live Transcription On-the-Fly: Incredibly, many AI-powered meeting transcribers now stream a live text transcription of a meeting in progress. This voice-to-text feature is great for people who may have missed something, people who have arrived late to a meeting or people who are having a problem understanding the voice of a specific person.
Live Transcription Editing, On-the-Fly: With live transcription often standard with today’s meeting transcribers, it makes sense that many offer real-time editing of a transcript of a meeting in progress.
With many solutions sporting this optimization, you can mark certain statements as ‘action items’ to follow-up on, type in questions in response to what’s being said, or mark moments in the transcript you plan to revisit after the meeting’s over.
Body Language Analysis On-the-Fly: Perfect for people who never attended the meeting, this feature enables AI to study the gazes, body language and facial expressions of people attending a video meeting and then embed the meaning of those movements into the transcript.
A thumbs-up at a meeting, for example, translates to a thumbs-up emoji in the transcript. And a bored look translates into a bored-look emoji.
Add Real-Time Human Translators: Some AI-driven transcribers are also designed to port picture-in-picture feeds of human translators or human sign-
language specialists into a meeting video. This feature enables you to broadcast a meeting in as many languages as you wish—in real-time.
Bookmarking: No more trying to remember where in the video a salient point popped up during a meeting that you want to remember. With many solutions, you can simply create a timestamp bookmark of a moment of a meeting you want to revisit—with a simple click.
Meeting Summaries: Given that AI summary technology is already so well developed, it’s no surprise that many AI meeting transcribers offer text summaries of meetings within minutes of a meeting’s conclusion.
After-Meeting-Transcript Editing: The same transcript editing actions you can perform while a meeting is in progress can also be used to enhance a transcript after the meeting’s over, including adding questions, commentary, marking action items and the like.
The same keyword feature also enables you to auto-add a slide, screenshot or other image at any point in the transcript with a single click.
Search-by-Keyword: Many solutions automatically generate a list of keywords you can use to search for statements and concepts discussed at the meeting, bringing you to specific points in the transcript where those search terms are discussed—and also enabling you to call-up the corresponding audio that generated those insights.
Plug-and-Play Integration: Many solutions are pre-configured to work seamlessly with popular software apps and platforms including Slack, Asana, Jira, Salesforce and Hubspot. With some solutions, distributing a meeting transcript on a Slack channel, for example, takes only a click or two.
Auto-Sync With Popular Calendars: With many auto-transcribers, the transcription of a meeting will start automatically as long as you schedule the meeting using popular calendar software from Google or Microsoft.
Query the Transcript for Info: On the horizon, some AI developers hope to embed additional tools in transcription software that will enable you to query the stored transcript of a meeting with specific questions you have about topics discussed.
Free: In some cases, some high-powered AI transcription solutions are actually free. The logic: The app makers are looking to grow the popularity of their apps very quickly by offering an exciting product—and then start charging users looking to add premium features.
Joe Dysart is an internet speaker and business consultant based in Manhattan.