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How to Automatically Transcribe Audio to Text

Posted by Arch on November 8, 2019

Transcription is by no means an easy task. You may sometimes need ten to twenty times more to turn a few minutes of audio into text. That’s why, despite all the software and technology, people still rely on others when it comes to transcription.

However, if you need to transcribe audio to text on your own, and you don’t have the time to do it, you can turn to one of the automatic transcription tools. Keep reading to find out more.

Transcribe Audio to Text via Google Docs

When Google Docs released the “Voice typing” feature, transcribing audio to text became much easier. This is a free, built-in feature, so the only requirement is that you have a Google account. If you don’t, you’ll need to head over to Google and create one.

Before you start transcribing, you’ll need to prepare a few things. Since the process will consist of you repeating the audio that you hear into your microphone, you’ll need a separate device, headphones, and a microphone. In addition, you’ll need to go to a quiet room to make sure the transcription stays as accurate as possible.

Once you set everything up, do the following:

  1. Plug the headset into the device that you’ll listen to the audio from.
  2. Open your web browser on another device (that has access to a microphone).
  3. Go to Google Docs.
  4. Create a blank document.
  5. Click the “Tools” button from the bar at the top of the screen.
  6. Choose “Voice typing.” Alternatively, you can hit Ctrl + Shift + S on your keyboard instead of steps 5-6.
  7. Click the mic icon that appears on the pop-up window.
  8. Start the audio on the other device and make sure you hear it clearly.
  9. Repeat slowly what you hear and Google Docs will turn it into text.

Of course, the transcription quality won’t always be perfect. You’ll need to record with a high-quality mic in a noiseless environment for the best results. However, you can see the transcription in real-time and you can always stop and manually correct the mistakes.  Of course, headphones should be mandatory.

Transcribe Audio to Text via YouTube

The YouTube transcription method is one of the most unreliable, and usually requires plenty of proofreading afterward. However, it takes minimum effort to transcribe your audio and on top of that – it’s always completely free.

First, you’ll need to sign in to your YouTube account. Then, if you have an audio file ready, you’ll need additional tools to upload it as a video. For example, try TunesToTube.

After you publish your video, you’ll need to wait for the transcription. The transcribing period depends on the length of the video, and sometimes it may take a few hours.

When the process is finished, just go to the video and press the “More” icon below it (three horizontal dots). You’ll see the “Open Transcript” option and the transcript box will appear to the right of the screen.

Transcribe Audio to Text Using Specialized Third-Party Apps

Those who need high-quality transcription can turn to specialized tools designed for this purpose. These tools are usually much more reliable than the aforementioned methods and they require far less proofreading and editing.

However, the best of these tools are premium and if you need to transcribe a short file, you may prefer to use Google Docs or YouTube instead. Note that some of these professional tools offer transcription or two for free, so you may use that offer.

Some of the best transcription tools are Audtext, The FTW Transcriber, InqScribe, and Speechlogger. Of course, there are plenty of others. Most of them are compatible with all prominent audio formats and it usually takes no more than a few minutes to start the process. Usually, you just need to upload the file and then let the software do its thing.

No Transcription Tool Is Perfect

Although there are plenty of options to effectively transcribe audio to the text, none of these methods are perfect. Yes, some specialized tools may have a 99% accuracy rate, but you still need to check the text, especially if the transcription is important.

However, most of them will save you a lot of valuable time and let you focus on other things while the transcription is being done. The choice is up to you.

Which option do you prefer? Why? Let us know in the comments section below.

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