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How To Transcribe Audio To Text

The long and short of it: Audio that has been transcribed to text makes it easy to find information quickly.

There are a handful of tools that can help transcribe your audio to text. Transcribing speech is a delicate process, so this post will explore the best tools to generate transcriptions to help you in your journey.

Google Docs

Google Docs is a free audio-to-text converter that has slowly been growing in popularity. It’s a surprisingly effective tool for transcribing audio to text files. 

Google Docs transcribes through its Voice Typing feature. You can download the Voice Typing feature within Google Docs by clicking on “Tools” and then clicking on the “Voice typing” button. Next, click on the microphone icon and start talking into your selected file.

Once you’re finished recording, Google Docs will immediately transcribe what you’ve said into text for you to copy and paste anywhere else in the document.

It’s also designed with an intuitive toolbar and user interface so anyone can create transcriptions quickly and easily. It also automatically checks for spelling and grammar, further helping you create a precise transcription.

One drawback is that it often includes mistakes or misunderstandings of what is being said in certain words or phrases. However, some of that can be overcome by speaking slower.

Another great thing about the Google Doc voice feature is that it can be used on your mobile phone via the app or on your computer’s desktop.

Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word—the competition product to Google Docs—is another free resource to transcribe audio to text. It’s a top-rated editing program that many people are already familiar with. The process of converting audio to text is both quick and straightforward. 

Downloading Microsoft Word 2016 will allow you to use voice typing to transcribe your audio files. Like Google Docs, it uses a voice recognition tool to transcribe what you said into text. It is also essential to understand that the accuracy of the transcription software is variable.

The voice typing feature can be accessed by clicking on the microphone icon within the “Home” tab. From there you will see two options: “Dictate” and Transcribe.” Both features will provide audio-to-text transcription. Dictate allows you to transcribe what you’re saying in real time, and “Transcribe” allows you to upload audio you need to transcribe.

Google Docs and Microsoft Word are both great free tools for transcribing audio files into text documents. The best choice depends on the individual because needs vary from person to person. While Google Docs is more accurate, Microsoft Word is faster and easier to use.

Doing It Yourself

Manually transcribing audio to text is a very tedious process that requires a lot of practice and time. While it may be helpful to know how to do this to get the documents you need quickly, the process can be challenging.

Many websites allow you to upload an audio file and then automatically transcribe what was said, but the outcome is often disappointing. The software struggles to accurately interpret words and phrases, especially when the speech is hard to understand or the individual has a heavy accent.

Some may find it easier to transcribe the text manually. Even though this method may not be the quickest choice for getting your audio files transcribed into text, it’s still possible and likely more correct than the quicker options mentioned above. 

The most important thing to consider with manual audio to text is finding effective transcription software with custom transcription options that let you slow down the audio, pause, and rewind easily to streamline your manual process.

Here are 10 tips to doing manual transcribing successfully:

  1. Take notes. Knowing what is being said makes it easier to type quickly and accurately.
  2. Don’t transcribe word-for-word. This will lead to inaccuracies. Write down the gist of the conversation so you can rewind if necessary or listen for specific words or phrases that are relevant to your needs and interests.
  3. Don’t rely too much on the audio file itself. Some recording devices don’t record properly or might include background noise that can make it challenging to understand what’s being said. If you’re having trouble understanding something, ask for clarification before typing anything.
  4. Notate misunderstandings. If you’re unclear about a word someone is saying, make a note of the time and continue transcribing. Don’t waste time on one sentence. The more you transcribe, the better your chances of understanding what you missed.
  5. Utilize guessing. If you can’t hear something, it’s okay to guess at the words. Just know that there is a greater chance for error when transcribing audio files because of all the guesswork involved.
  6. Utilize the slow feature. When listening back over your transcription, use the “slow” and “start/stop” buttons on your transcription software to rewind or advance the audio file.
  7. Create sections. Separate audio by minutes, sections, or page breaks in your transcription. This will make it easier to skim through the transcript later when looking for specific information.
  8. Speak slower. If you are creating audio to transcribe, speak slower. Also, pause at natural points in the conversation to make it easier for you to create the transcript.
  9. Don’t be afraid to verify. If you don’t understand something or a person’s voice is muffled or difficult to understand, ask them to clarify what they meant before typing anything down.
  10. Pick a user-friendly transcription software. To transcribe audio into text quickly and accurately, you need transcription software with custom options for improving accuracy and features designed specifically for listening back over the audio.

Hiring a Service to Transcribe it For You

Hiring a service to transcribe audio to text is an excellent option if you want to get all of your audio files transcribed quickly and accurately. Many companies will do this, but it’s important to note that not all services are created equal. 

You need to find one with custom transcription options for improving accuracy and features designed specifically for listening back over the audio, such as slow playback and voice recognition. Here are three of the best-known transcription services that will transcribe audio to text.

Rev

Rev makes it easy for you to upload your audio files and pay for the type of transcription you need: video or audio, standard or express, and even same-day service if you need it done quickly. The process with Rev is easy. Once you upload your audio, Rev will handle the rest.

CastingWords

CastingWords works by giving you a daily budget and international options. You choose how often you want the audio transcribed and your price per minute gets lower based on your frequency. CastingWords emails you the finished transcript. 

Scribie

Scribie offers very low cost per minute options, but it also has a few limitations. They give you extra credits when you spend $500 or more. Scribie’s process is straightforward. Upload your files, pay for the audio time needed, and submit.

Upload Your Audio to YouTube

Another option is uploading your audio to YouTube. You can utilize the free closed caption output that it generates for you. Enable automating captioning before uploading your script, and YouTube will create a transcript based on the audio.

YouTube does encourage creators to create their closed captions as the software is not always accurate. However, the process is much easier than doing it manually. If there are discrepancies, one can edit the transcript. 

For best results when using YouTube’s automatic captioning tool, upload your audio file in “broadcast quality” rather than in “raw” quality.

Also, when uploading your audio file for YouTube transcription, make sure that your upload is “unlisted” so it’s not on any public playlist. 

Wrapping Up

There are many factors to consider when transcribing audio, including the equipment used for recording, whether or not you can understand what was said, if you have the time to transcribe manually or the money to invest in a service, and how long your final product will be. 

You don’t need to be a professional to convert your audio to text. You can choose what works best for you and your content needs with these options. If your transcriptions are going to play a big role in your next project, consider investing in the most accurate transcriptions!

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