Ground-Truth Transcript explained:
Short introduction to the term “Ground Truth”
Have you encountered the term “Ground truth”? We can guess what it could mean, some kind of absolute, fundamental, unchanging truth, solid base for other truths? But, can any truth be really objective, since everything is always filtered through subjective interpretations? What about strict facts and logic, science? Can we ever provide an objective presentation of the reality, in a manner that does not add or take anything? Why do people ask these questions that cannot be answered in a definite way, because each answer will rely on a complex set of philosophical assumptions, that can also be questioned? Maybe there are many truths that cover one specific aspect of that what is real, and they can be used together, complementary? Maybe there are even different systems of knowledge, that enable principally different truths? If there are other sentient lifeforms in all that vast space, would their Truth be different from ours? We have gone way off tangent, we know, but give us a chance to explain why, and by the end of the article you will learn a lot about Ground Truth, and how it relates to The Truth in philosophy, how it is used in scientific research, and finally, it’s interesting application in transcription services.
All these confusing introductory questions are relevant for the general discussion of the branch of philosophy called epistemology, but are bit outside the scope of this current article, since we will limit the scope of possible implications of this term to the one that is most widely used in science and technology, and is also very relevant to the field of transcription, since this is primarily a blog about transcription services and how it can improve your life in a myriad of ways.
But we like to keep our faithful readers on the edge, by surprising them occasionally with edgy, albeit confusing philosophical paragraphs. Maybe some of you are even studying philosophy on an undergraduate level, and are now making abstract connections between language, philosophy, science and reality itself, and are trying to make sense of it all. Don’t worry, there is no need to rush, every answer is temporary, and will change over time. Relax, kick back into your chair, bed or sofa, and let us tell you about the Ground Truth in a much more comprehensible, pragmatic context of science and technology.
Ground Truth and the scientific method
We will now give a “real” explanation of the intriguing term “Ground truth” from the perspective of science and technology, and in the end, we will outline how this term can be applied in the field of transcription.
To put it simply, Ground Truth is a term that is widely used in many fields of science and philosophy, and it denotes that kind of information that results from direct observation. Another term for this is “empirical evidence”, and it is in contrast to that kind of information that is a result of inference, which includes all kind reasoning done a priori, contemplation, intuition, revelation and so on. Empiricism plays an important role in the philosophy of science, it emphasizes the importance of evidence, especially when it involves experiments. This is the core of the scientific method, based on the principle that every kind of hypothesis and theory, in order to be considered valid, must be able to be tested and thereby verified as true by close, objective observation of part of the natural world that it tries to explain, rather than just drawing conclusions and interpretations solely or partially through reasoning and theory, unbacked by evidence. Natural scientists are often guided by the principles of empiricism, and tend to agree that knowledge stems from experience, and that in its essence, any kind of knowledge is in way probabilistic, tentative, it tends to change over time through continued revision and sometimes even falsifications. Empirical research is the essence of the scientific method, along with carefully controlled experiments and precise tools and instruments for measurement. Since the scientific viewpoint does not deal with any fixed, eternal truths, but by things that can examined with increasingly more precision and complexion, it has guided the technological advancement of the human civilization, and is constantly pressing on to provide even more data and shaping more precise question about the world around us. However, the scientific method has its logical limitations, it cannot measure and precisely test the subjective experience that is unique to every human being, and thereby is not able to provide meaningful answers about what it means to be a human being, and how to live a good life. Questions like these are handled by other means, they are meticulously examined by philosophy, described and answered in literature and art, that, through its artistic merits is capable of communicating and resonating with the human mind, soul and body.
Any profound and well-made work of art has the capacity to communicate deep and meaningful Truths about Life and Death and human condition in general, but that answer will never be singular, because such truth is the result of synthesis of the subjective truth that guided the author and the subjective truth of the reader, or viewer or listener. However, the end result of all good art is to expand and enrich the personal notion of truth of the consumer of that art, like a good conversation in which neither side aims to convince the other, but they both feel good afterward, because they learned something new, and broadened their understanding of their own viewpoint, and various viewpoints that are also possible. There is an endless number of possible perspectives on so many things, and when trying to view the world from someone else’s well-articulated perspective, we see new possibilities and ways of existing, and become less endangered by the shadows of narrow mindedness and lack of imagination.
Statistics and machine learning
Back to practical implications of “Ground truth”, it might be said that is in a way a conceptual term that is always relative to the already existing knowledge of the truth. In simpler terms, it is related to known answers concerning a specific question, it can be defined as ideal expected result, the best possible answer. This can be, for example, used in various models of statistics to prove or disprove any kind of research hypotheses.
In any kind of experiments like these, the term “ground truthing” is used to indicate the process through which the proper data, objective and provable, is gathered for the purpose of verifying other empirical data. We might, for example, try to test the performance of a certain stereo vision system, a camera device used to estimate 3D positions of objects. In this case, the “ground truth” is the basic, objective reference point, and is provided by using a data from a laser rangefinder, a device which is more complex and accurate than a camera system. We compare the performance of the camera system to the best performance provided by the laser rangefinder, and from that empirical comparison gain empirical data, which can then be used for further studies, since it is verified and tested. Ground truth can also be imagined as a very precise, calibrated piece of metal, of known weight, which you put on one end of those old-school balance scale, and the results that you get from the other stuff are put on the other end of the scale, and through comparison of these two numbers you get the precise measurement. The balance scale represents the methodology behind your process, and it can also give wrong answers, if the procedure is not carefully monitored and logically applied.
Ground truth and transcription services
The term ground truth transcript in the context of language services, came into being as a result of the fusion of artificial intelligence, machine learning and advanced, automated transcription programs. It stands for a perfect transcription, i.e., the process of conveying a spoken speech into text format, without any errors at all. We can say that it describes absolute, or at least the best possible accuracy. It is used when you want to see how accurate an automated speech recognition software is, or more specifically the output of that software.
The ground truth transcript is done by a human professional since it has to be perfectly accurate. Unfortunately, artificial intelligence still has a long way to go to achieve this, even though it has a good chance to get there at some point. It is important to stress that if you want to test a machine learning algorithm, you need to do your checks against the reality, you need the empirical evidence, as we described in the previous paragraphs. So, you need to check and verify the quality of an algorithm’s performance against the ground truth transcript that is done by an extremely proficient human transcriber. The closer the automated transcription comes to the ideal result, the more accurate it is.
How can you get a reliable ground truth transcript?
First you need to getter up your ground truth data which you will use for your checkup. You need to choose some audio file samples out of which you should then create one large file. The next step is getting them accurately transcribed. We strongly recommend you use a professional human transcriber, with a lot of experience and good reviews to do this transcription. You can also do it by yourself, but you need to prepare yourself for losing some of your precious time. Also, it tends to be a nerve-racking task if you are not trained to do this. The other option you have is to send the audio files to a transcription service provider like Gglot, which can help you out with this. We will do the job fast and for a fair price.
We work with a large number of professional freelance transcribers which can deliver transcripts with an amazing 99% accuracy. This way you can rely on the fact that you have an accurate ground truth transcription. Our transcription experts have honed their accuracy through decades of experience, and can transcribe even the most complicated speech situations, guided by their skills, knowledge and keen ear for detail. You can trust us to deliver you as flawless as possible transcription, that you can then use without any worries to test out the quality of any other transcriptions, no matter if they are made by machines or other humans.
There is also one more important thing that we need to mention here. Our freelancers also create ground truth transcriptions for our speech recognition team here at Gglot.
It is important to know that we also work with speech to text software. This artificial intelligence software produces a draft of the audio file. Our human transcribers use this draft when they begin with their transcribing. So, we can say that our freelancers and our AI software have a symbiotic relationship in which they help each other out. This is one of the secrets of the company’s success. We are always surfing the endless wave of technological improvement, guided by our vision of providing flawless transcripts for affordable price to people who need them, and thereby improving communication and understanding for all the humankind.