Nigerians Launch Audio Transcription App for Indigenous Language

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L-R: Mr. Austin Igbokwe, Ms Nneka Okonkwo, Mr. Seyi Ahmed, Ms Freke Emmanuel, Mr. Kola Olanipekun, Mr. Alli Abdulwaarith Olasukanmi, and Mr. Stanley Umeohia

Rebecca Ejifoma

For easy work and delivery experience in transcribing audio or video to words, some young Nigerians have developed an indigenous digital transcription software called the Vocalscript with Nigerian accent in view.

According to the company, the innovation is bent on enhancing productivity of the media, law firms, churches, corporate entities and individuals who spend hours and days struggling to transcribe recordings – a most tedious task.

Uniquely, Vocalscript understands and transcribes even the thickest Nigerian accents to aid in local speech recognition.

One of the founders of the company, Kola Olanipekun – a barrister – said members of his team were exploiting technology to make life easier across different sectors in need of the service.

“Not many are aware of this new innovation or how it functions,” he noted.

He explained further what they do is to convert what has been said into a written form within a very short time.

His words: “We have tailored the service for diverse sectors. Lawyers can have a standard record of court proceedings; students can have accurate lecture notes without missing a word; companies can have detailed minutes of meetings as well as discussions in seminars transcribed to aid productivity.”

Accordingly, Olanipekun cited statistics as showing that journalists, especially, spend about six hours weekly transcribing, which adds up to two lost business months in a year.

For him and his team members, using the traditional method to transcribe could be tedious, adding that in fact, “It is a job on its own. But most professionals including journalists do it side by side their duties”.

And with the knowledge that over 20,000 businesses in Nigeria engage in one form of transcription or the other, the co-founder decried the absence of company in the country that is fully into audio transcription.

“We are currently using machine learning to understand even the thickest Nigerian accents to aid in local speech recognition. So, the turnaround time will definitely improve,” he added.

For the seven-member team, it is optimistic that people would see the value in time. Olanipekun continued: “It has since been embraced by many countries across the world”.

Other features the app provides besides transcription are: subtitling and closed-captioning of videos, and translation of languages.

The founders, however, assured the public that outsourcing transcripts to them provide flexibility, guarantee superior quality, timely delivery, reliability while freeing up journalists and other professionals for more other important works.

“This is the first indigenous transcription software that is developed by Nigerians and for Nigerians. It is specifically crafted having the diversity of Nigerian accents in mind,” he said.

Apart from the automated plan that transcribes works in a few minutes, he said that the company also had an in-house transcription team who vets files for quality to meet the demands and requests from companies and individuals.

“Although, the services attract certain fees, the charge is as low as fifty naira per minute for the automated plan which is also known as artificial intelligence,” Olanikpekun said.

Most importantly, he assured users of confidentiality. “None of my team is at liberty to divulge information received from clients. This way, we would avert legal consequences”.

Speaking also was the company’s web developer, Alli Olasukanmi who described the Vocalscript Application as user friendly. “The site is carefully built and well protected from hackers”.

Olasunkanmi further emphasised that the company uses state-of-the-art technology to provide an easy-to-use web platform and a handy mobile application for the average Nigerian.

He added: “users can make recordings on the mobile app or upload previous recordings and have accurate transcripts delivered within minutes to hours, depending on the length of the file.”