Review: We had Rev.com convert Peter Gabriel’s Games Without Frontiers music video using speech to text; here is what we got back

If you’re a savvy content marketer–or writer of any kind for that matter–who creates great content for your websites or publications, then you’re likely to be looking for super-efficient ways to cut down on writing time. One way to do that is to use an automated transcription service to convert voice to text files.

We often use Rev.com in our writing work. There are more services out there (Temi.com, Otter.ai, etc) Rev.com is what our household uses in our businesses usually. My wife Kay Walker is a personal growth book ghostwriter and I’m a writer, producing books and blogs, and digital marketing strategist among other things.

The speech-to-text candidate I used on Rev.com for this review was the audio from a music video of Peter Gabriel’s 1980s hit Games Without Frontiers.

No the chorus is not ‘She’s so popular

I chose that video because primarily when I heard it years ago during the 1980s I thought the chorus, sung by Kate Bush, was: She’s so pop-u-lar. Nope. Kate is singing “Jeux sans frontieres”, the French translation of the lyric “games without frontiers”. The audio is also nice and clean. For speech to text translation purposes there are two speakers in the audio: Bush sings the falsetto chorus and Gabriel sing-talks the verses. So it seems like a fairly straightforward job with some quirks.

For the record, here is the video, and below it is the actual accurate lyrics as provided by MusixMatch:

Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays with Jane
Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again
Suki plays with Leo, Sacha plays with Britt
Adolf builts a bonfire, Enrico plays with it
It's a knockout
If looks could kill, they probably will
In games without frontiers-war without tears
Games without frontiers-war without tears
Jeux sans frontieres
Jeux sans frontieres
Jeux sans frontieres
Andre has a red flag, Chiang Ching's is blue
They all have hills to fly them on except for Lin Tai Yu
Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games
Hiding out in tree-tops shouting out rude names
It's a knockout
If looks could kill they probably will
In games without frontiers-wars without tears
If looks could kill they probably will
In games without frontiers-war without tears
Games without frontiers-war without tears
Jeux sans frontieres
Jeux sans frontieres
Jeux sans frontiere

How Rev.com fared in our Games Without Frontiers Speech to Text showdown

Rev.com’s automated speech-to-text service produced a dismal translation, which the human service as pretty darn good.

  • Compared to the MusixMatch standard, the automation missed about half the words and produced a lot of “inaudible” annonations, mostly Kate Bush’s French-worded chorus.
  • The cost for the 4:02 minute video using automation-only speech to text conversion was $1.25 USD for 5 minutes or $025 USD per minute.
  • The service rounded up to the next minute so even thought the original file was 4:02 minutes, we were charged for 5 minutes, which seems a bit greedy.

Have a look at the output below:

Rev.com automated speech to text translation of Games Without Frontiers

Speaker 1 (00:34):
[inaudible]

Speaker 2 (00:39):
Plays with Jane really, really is happy. Again. Suki plays with Sasha raised with Brit and plays with it.

Speaker 1 (01:17):
[inaudible]

Speaker 2 (01:18):
If it looks good In games without frontiers wall, without games, without or without

Speaker 1 (01:59):
[inaudible]

Speaker 2 (01:59):
Andre hazardous flag, Cheyenne blue, they all have Hills to fly them all. Except for dressing up in costumes, playing city games out in the tree tops, shouting out rude names.

Speaker 1 (02:41):
[inaudible]

Speaker 2 (02:42):
It looks good in games without Raul without two years In games without about two years.

Rev.com’s human speech to text service:

When I upgraded Rev.com’s human speech to text service ($6.25 for 5 minutes) it (he/she?) did a very good job of translating Gabriel’s Games Without Frontiers with only a couple of missing words in the final transcript. Primarily the word “with” was missing in a few lines of the song. An example? See below, in red.

Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays [with] Jane.

On this version, we told the service ahead of time (because it asked) that the primary speaker was Peter Gabriel up front, and it guessed (or researched) Kate Bush as the second speaker. Impressive!

And, it successfully interpreted the falsetto French chorus by Bush as “jeux sans frontieres” beating our own teenage interpretation of “she’s so popular“.

Take a look:

Rev.com’s human-assisted speech to text translation of Games Without Frontiers

Kate Bush:
Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres.

Peter Gabriel:
Hans plays with Lotte, Lotte plays Jane. Jane plays with Willi, Willi is happy again. Suki plays Leo. Sacha plays with Britt. Adolf builds a bonfire. Enrico plays with it.

Peter Gabriel:
Whistling tunes, we hide in the dunes by the seaside.

Peter Gabriel:
Whistling tunes, we're kissing baboons in the jungle. It's a knockout.

Peter Gabriel:
If looks could kill, they probably will, in games without frontiers, war without tears. If looks could kill, they probably will, in games without frontiers, war without tears. Games without frontiers, war without tears.

Kate Bush:
Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres.

Peter Gabriel:
Andre has a red flag, Chiang Ching's is blue. They all have hills to fly them on except for Lin Tai Yu. Dressing up in costumes, playing silly games. Hiding out in treetops, shouting out rude names.

Peter Gabriel:
Whistling tunes, we hide in the dunes by the seaside.

Peter Gabriel:
Whistling tunes, we piss on the goons in the jungle. It's a knockout.

Peter Gabriel:
If looks could kill, they probably will, in games without frontiers, war without tears. If looks could kill, they probably will, in games without frontiers, war without tears. Games without frontiers, war without tears.

Kate Bush:
Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres. Jeux sans frontieres.

TL;DR (Too long; Didn’t read)

The bottom line:

  • Rev.com automated speech-to-text translation did a dismal job of outputting Peter Gabriel’s music video Games Without Frontiers from speech to text.
  • The company’s human transcription service did a far better job, but at five times the price.
  • Overall we’ll keep using the service, but will be looking at others to compare.

Try Rev.com for yourself: Click here