Transcribing audio to text is made easier with the use of speech-to-text apps. Here’s a list of the best STT tools that have a free version.
Creating closed captions is a tiresome process. It can take days to get something right. But it doesn’t only slow down your workflow—it can also prove difficult to understand certain speeches due to various factors. From background noise to weird accents and slang, your Google Docs transcription might end up reading nonsense.
Luckily for any transcriptionist out there, speech-to-text apps are a real thing. There are numerous of these online, with some of them being free to use. As such, allow us to introduce you to some of the best ones that will make your transcription work a whole lot easier. So, let’s check them out, shall we?
For anyone needing a cost-effective transcription app, Descript should definitely be on your list. It’s a simple-to-use piece of software that will turn audio recordings of meetings, briefs, and private conversations into text in a matter of moments. Descript can recognize 21 different languages, apart from English, including Spanish, German, and Portuguese.
The key features of Descript include that it provides support for both audio/video files. Furthermore, any of these formats can include more than one speaker, and the app will recognize them, making your job even easier.
Although an automatic transcription app, Descript offers a host of manual transcription options for the user to play around with. For example, you can improve the quality of sound so that you too can hear and check what the app is transcribing. Another is to add effects—various noises and music—to improve the file’s flow, just as you would with advanced audio and video editing software.
When it comes to pricing, Descript has a completely free version. It covers 3 hours of transcription per day. Nevertheless, if you want more hours from it, you can subscribe to three different plans—Creator, Pro, and Enterprise. These are billed annually, and cost $12, $24, and a custom agreed-on fee for the best version.
With Zoom recently enjoying a boom, recording meetings became a norm. Anyone who wanted to go through the conversation they just had would record meetings and then listen to the playback over and again. But that’s just too much hustle. The files can be huge, and you would have to listen to the same people for the second time.
This is where Fathom comes in. It’s a transcription tool that records and turns lengthy Zoom meetings into scripted dictation. Besides its basic transcription feature, this Zoom integration can put timestamps on certain moments so that you don’t have to shorten the text yourself and turn it into notes. Yet, it has even more to offer, which is great for a free app.
Namely, Fathom can cut up a long video clip into several short ones that you can then share with colleagues on Searchable and other cloud apps. It can also understand when something is a question and send it to your support team for further assessment. All that without a new call having to be made by you or any of your associates.
The only downside to Fathom is that it only supports one language—English. Nevertheless, for a piece of freeware software, it’s more than a solid solution for anyone without a budget.
Transcription services go both ways. Besides transcribing audio into txt files, certain apps allow you to turn written content into speech. These are, of course, text-to-speech apps, and one of the more popular ones is Murf AI. It’s a piece of assistive technology that can help people with reading difficulties such as dyslexia, ADHD, or vision impairment.
Murf AI provides its users with many voices that read the text you run through it aloud. They differ in accents, male and female characteristics, as well as different languages. Nevertheless, they are all rather convincing and can sell the idea that your text is read aloud by an actual human instead of an AI narrator.
The reason many people use Murf AI isn’t just because they have trouble reading. This app is pretty useful for content creators. They can generate unique voices that can then provide a voice-over for their YouTube videos, certain segments of podcasts like jingles, as well as voice other projects.
Murf AI has a free version, which is why it’s on this list. And for a piece of freeware, well, it offers a lot. Still, you should be aware that the free plan only works for 10 minutes of speech a day. To use it longer than that, you’ll have to become a premium user, with the Basic plan costing $13, the Pro $26, and Enterprise $167 a month.
Speechnotes is a neat tool that transcribes audio into text. It works both as a standalone app on Android devices, as well as an add-on for the Google Chrome web browser on Microsoft Windows. Its major selling point is that it’s free. And for a free app, it does pretty much all that a piece of freeware speech-to-text software should.
Unlike most other apps that have a free version, Speechnotes doesn’t come handicapped. It can understand audio of any format (WAV, mp3, etc.) and output accurate transcripts. Of course, it’s not a perfect tool. You won’t be able to produce SRT extension subtitles for movies or shows, or use it on iOS and Mac devices. But then again, it’s a free tool.
Speechify as a speech recognition alternative
Some turn audio files into text, while the rest convert written content into speech. The latter is done with text-to-speech software, and the finest example of this technology is a great app named Speechify.
Speechify offers its users over 30 natural-sounding voices that work in more than 15 languages. It also transcribes photos of text into audio in real time.
Another prominent feature of Speechify is that you can directly import e-books from Audible, all while using the free version. All you have to do is try out Speechify now, and you’ll get why it’s the most popular text-to-speech app out there.
How can I transcribe audio for free?
To transcribe audio for free, you’ll need to download or subscribe to free speech-to-text apps. Luckily, there’s a whole host of them available online.
Is there a free program that converts audio to text?
Does Google have free transcription software?
Yes, you can use Google Cloud speech-to-text for free.
What are the benefits of audio transcription?
Besides helping people with hearing difficulties, transcribing audio into text can help you review long Zoom meetings and briefs for additional assessment.