Look Ahead: How Recordly Can Accelerate the Transcription Process

Amidst all the changes occurring in journalism, one aspect of the reporting process has remained time consuming and expensive: transcription.

After nearly two years of development, a group of current and former students at the University of Missouri have formally launched Recordly, a tool that aims to ease this long-standing problem so many journalists encounter.

The app allows reporters to simultaneously record, transcribe and highlight important passages of their interviews at a minimal cost. Recordly’s transcription services cost $2 per hour of audio after a user’s first hour, which is free.

“Recordly’s biggest strength is that it provides our users with tools for the whole interviewing process: from recording and annotating important parts within the app, to getting a fast transcription, and finally to sharing key quotes on social media or with colleagues to get the story out there,” said co-founder John Gillis.

The way in which Recordly works is simple. The interviewer records the audio using an iPhone and is able to then make note of important quotes in real time on their connected Apple Watch device. The app sends a push notification to users once the transcript is complete.

From left to right: The Recordly team is made up of Sintia Radu, Anna Maikova, Yaryna Serkez and John Gillis (Photo courtesy of Recordly).

An informal survey conducted by the Recordly team last year found that reporters typically spend an average of six hours a week transcribing notes from audio recordings.

Although the tool is currently available only on the iPhone and Apple Watch, Gillis said they plan on eventually expanding Recordly for Android devices and desktops through their web app.

The team created some initial buzz around their app last year after being awarded the grand prize at the ninth annual RJI student competition. The yearly contest brings together students from journalism, computer science and other disciplines to develop new technology for the media.

“Aside from the ease of use and the productivity aspects, I was always impressed in the ability of the founders to take some very complicated technology and put it to use in a very straightforward, focused manner,” said Randy Picht, RJI executive director. “It’s the definition of what a great tool for your digital toolbox should be.”

The app relies on the power of IBM’s Watson AI platform to generate its transcripts. According to Picht, the use of artificial intelligence in journalism will become more commonplace in the near future.

“Automation, machine learning and wearable technology are the next frontiers for the news industry and will help us do an even better job of keeping our audiences informed,” he said. “In many respects, Recordly is a trailblazer in that emerging space.”

For more information, visit recordly.com.

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Published: December 5, 2017

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