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How many characters typed in 500 hours? | 310 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Group finalizes treaty to expand book access for world’s blind community
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, June 30 2013 @ 08:37 AM EDT
Thanks, that's a good insight, not always things are as simple as they seem.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

How many characters typed in 500 hours?
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, June 30 2013 @ 01:33 PM EDT


    Text to speech technology still needs work.
However, with that in mind, let's do a little math.

You cite 500 hours to convert a book to digital format. A typist typing at a speed of 60 "words per minute" (defined as 5 characters = 1 word, and 60 wpm is pretty slow for someone half decent at the job) working 8 hours a day, 5 days a week would work for 12.5 weeks (62.5 days, 3 months).

They would produce a document containing 9 million characters. 500 (hours) * 60 (minutes in 1 hour) * 300 (characters per minute) = 9,000,000).

One source indicates the bible has some 3,536,489 letters. If you subtract that from the 9 million characters then divide the two, you'll find roughly 1.5 spaces per letter. That's a lot of spaces.

If we assume 1 space per word, there's 773,693 spaces in the bible. That puts total characters at 4,310,153.

The typist working at 60 wpm (and I'm sure you could easily get around 80 wpm) should finish transcribing the bible to digital plain text in a little less then 250 hours.

Even factoring in proof reading time - one can proof read faster then one can type. So completing the bible in 250 hours still leaves plenty of room for proof reading and correction well below an assumed reading speed of 120 wpm. Word has it the average reading speed is 250 wpm which completes the bible in 47 hours, or 5.9 8-hour days. Well below the 500 hours.

Compared with novels, the bible is pretty thick. Compared with Technical books, encyclopedias, dictionaries, etc. the bible can be considered thin. This comparison is based on my own personal experiences.

So if it really does take 500 hours to get a book digitized to plain text (which can then be easily sent to many different formats) I certainly hope the average book size they are dealing with is twice the size of the bible.

If the average is smaller - someone is doing something wrong. Perhaps if the technology itself is so poor it really does take 500 hours to digitize the bible to plain text then the most cost-effective solution is: hire some typists.

Note: The above assumes a first-time conversion. Once converted to basic digital text the first time - it can then be stored so the conversion of that particular book doesn't have to occur again.

I'm a firm believer that if the job can be done more efficiently by the use of technology then it makes sense that technology is used. But if the new technology makes the job less efficient - get rid of it.


[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

Group finalizes treaty to expand book access for world’s blind community
Authored by: Anonymous on Sunday, June 30 2013 @ 06:15 PM EDT
Assuming that one wants a quality product, it takes roughly 500 hours to convert a book that Google has "digitized" to a file format that a blind person can utilize.

Based on information from a company that does that kind of thing, turning a printed book into an audiobook in professional quality (what you would expect if you pay lots of money for an audiobook on CD) takes one competent reader and one competent sound engineer twice real time, that is two people 20 hours each for a ten hour audiobook. As an example, "War and Peace" is about 60 hours, "Around the world in 80 days" about 5 1/2 hours, so these would take 240 hours resp. 22 hours to produce as audiobooks in professional quality.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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