How to transcribe audio to text – fast!

Leverage your audio assets as editable text documents with high-speed, high-accuracy, automated transcription software.

How to transcribe audio to text - fast How to transcribe audio to text automatically

      Looking to transcribe audio to text automatically? Recent technological developments mean there are a wide variety of auto-transcription apps and tools available – many of them free of charge. So, whatever your transcription needs, there’s sure to be an automated solution for you.

      While some automatic audio-to-text transcription tools are created with an industry-specific purpose in mind, they all follow the same general process. Whether you’re a journalist or researcher wanting to utilise automatic audio-to-text transcription for interviews, or you’re simply looking for a quick and cost-effective way to turn audio recordings of meetings into text documents, here are the steps you’ll need to complete the process.

      1. Choose an audio recording

      Auto-transcription apps support a wide range of source material for audio-to-text conversion: dictated memos, video dialogue, recorded telephone conversations, interviews, podcasts… anything that can be saved digitally and played on a digital media player.

      Select the option in the app that corresponds to your audio file type and upload it. This may be achieved by pasting the source material’s URL or by a simple drag-and-drop manoeuvre using a file from your PC, mobile device or the cloud.

      2. Choose a language

      The more sophisticated automatic transcription tools can convert audio –to text in a number of languages. Some even incorporate a translation feature, so you can transcribe and translate at the same time!

      Being able to automatically transcribe and translate audio recordings into text in multiple languages is a great facility for global businesses wishing to scale collaboration, training and communication throughout their international teams.

      Want to know more about Semantix transcription services?

      3. Choose a type of transcription

      There is an entire spectrum of options to choose from when considering the format of your automatic audio-to-text transcription. For example:

      Verbatim transcription

      Verbatim transcription doesn’t only document the words spoken, it captures every pause, repetition, phone ringing, door slamming, cough, interruption and every er… um… yeah… you know.

      Intelligent verbatim transcription

      An intelligent verbatim transcription ignores the non-speech ‘noises off’ and focuses purely on the words spoken.

      Edited transcription

      An edited transcription provides a more polished version of the intelligent verbatim transcription. Grammatical mistakes, unfinished sentences and irrelevant repetition are fixed to make the written transcript more readable than would otherwise be the case.

      Phonetic transcription

      A phonetic transcription is useful when pronunciation is important. Using an internationally established set of symbols to document sounds, it captures the speakers’ utterances in oral form, rather than the words themselves. Phonetic transcription would be the preferred option when comparing the sounds of different accents, for example.

      Orthographic transcription

      Unlike phonetics, orthographic transcription focuses purely on the words spoken. As such, it is the preferred option for large-scale corpora and research, where pronunciation is not important.

      Timestamping options

      Timestamps allow a transcription to be synchronised with the original audio recording. For example, the time from the beginning of the recording can be shown every X number of seconds, every paragraph, or whenever there is a new speaker.

      Speaker identification options

      Some automated audio-to-text transcription apps identify and indicate each different speaker using labels such as ‘Speaker 1’ and ‘Speaker 2’, etc. These can be altered to show the speakers’ actual names if required.

      4. Click to transcribe

      Now you’ve selected your audio recording and chosen your options, it’s time to transcribe!

      So, click the ‘transcribe’ button and sit back while the software automatically transcribes your audio recording so it can be accessed, edited, saved and shared as an editable text document.

      Software that automatically transcribes audio to text

      There are numerous auto-transcription software tools and apps available to convert your audio files into text. Here is a selection of some popular transcription tools currently on the market.

      • Dragon Anywhere is a cloud-based solution for mobile devices that also syncs with the desktop version of the software.
      • Dragon Professional provides a powerful range of intelligent resources for pro users, including features to dictate and edit documents, create spreadsheets and browse the web by voice.
      • Otter offers real-time, cloud-based transcription for laptops and smartphones and also facilitates collaboration between teams.
      • Verbit is designed for enterprise and educational establishments, eliminating most background noise to deliver accurate transcriptions.
      • Speechmatics uses autonomous speech recognition and the scale and diversity of the internet to transcribe a wide range of voices, such as all major American and British English accents, as well as those from South Africa, Jamaica and beyond.
      • Braina combines transcription services with virtual assistant features to transcribe text in more than 100 languages with up to 99 per cent accuracy.
      • Windows 11, Microsoft’s latest operating system, comes with built-in dictation software. When working within almost any text field, users can simply switch on, start speaking and watch the text appear on the screen.
      • MacOS has Apple’s dictation tool built into the actual operating system, making dictation possible in any text field. As the feature learns individual voice attributes, including accents, it gets better with continued use.
      • Google Voice Typing for Google Docs gives the online word processor speech-to-text functionality. All that is required is a Google account, Chrome web browser and an internet connection.

      Ready to get started?

      This article has provided an insight into how quick and easy it is to automatically transcribe audio to text, with many of the solutions being free of charge.

      While automatic transcription doesn’t (yet) meet the skill levels of the professional human transcriber, it can offer impressive accuracy in a significantly shorter time scale.

      Are you ready to leverage your audio assets as editable text documents? Contact us today to find the ideal software, or software/human hybrid solution, for your specific needs.

      Would you like to order a transcription?