Transcribe Audio to Text: A Comprehensive Guide to Audio-to-Text Transcription

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Cliff Weitzman
By Cliff Weitzman Dyslexia & Accessibility Advocate, CEO/Founder of Speechify in VoiceOver on September 18, 2023

    What is transcription?

    Transcription is the process of converting spoken language from an audio recording into written text. It’s widely used in various sectors, including media, legal, medical, and education, to create accurate written records of spoken words.

    What is an audio file?

    An audio file is a digital format containing sound recordings. Common audio formats include WAV, MP3, and many others. These files can come from various sources, like podcasts, interviews, or music recordings.

    How to transcribe an audio file to text?

    Transcribing an audio file to text can be done through manual transcription or using AI transcription tools. The traditional method involves listening to the recording and typing out the content, while AI tools automatically convert audio into text.

    How to transcribe audio to text for free?

    Several online transcription tools offer free transcription services, often with limitations. For instance, Google Docs has a speech-to-text feature, which can be utilized for transcription purposes. However, it might not be as accurate as premium transcription services.

    Can Google transcribe audio to text?

    Yes, Google offers several tools for audio-to-text transcription, such as Google’s Voice Typing tool on Google Docs. Moreover, Google’s Speech-to-Text API can be integrated into applications for more automated workflows.

    Can Apple transcribe audio to text?

    Apple devices with iOS have built-in dictation features, allowing users to speak and have the text automatically appear on their screen. While it’s mainly designed for dictation, it can be used for transcribing shorter audio clips.

    What are the Top 5 Ways to Transcribe Audio to Text?

    1. Manual transcription by listening and typing.
    2. Using free transcription tools like Google Docs.
    3. Employing specialized transcription software.
    4. Utilizing automatic transcription software powered by AI.
    5. Hiring a professional transcription service.

    What is the best way to transcribe audio to text?

    The best method depends on the required accuracy, turnaround time, and budget. For high-quality results, a combination of manual and AI transcription usually works best.

    How to transcribe audio to text traditional method:

    1. Start by selecting the audio file you wish to transcribe.
    2. Use a high-quality playback tool to listen to the audio.
    3. Begin typing out the content in a word document or a similar text editor.
    4. Make use of timestamps to note when specific statements are made.
    5. Rewind and replay challenging sections to ensure accuracy.
    6. Proofread the transcribed text for errors and readability.
    7. Save the file in desired formats, like TXT or DOC.

    How to transcribe audio to text with AI:

    1. Choose an AI transcription tool or software.
    2. Upload the audio or video file to the platform.
    3. Wait as the software processes and transcribes the file.
    4. Once transcribed, review and edit any inaccuracies.
    5. Export the transcribed content in various formats, such as SRT for subtitles or TXT for plain text.

    Top 9 AI Tools to Transcribe Audio to Text

    1. Google Cloud Speech-to-Text:

    Google Cloud Speech-to-Text offers powerful speech recognition capabilities. Users can transcribe audio from various formats, including WAV and other audio formats, and convert them into text files. It supports multiple languages such as English, Spanish, French, German, Hindi, and Chinese. With its real-time transcription service, it can capture audio directly from a microphone or even a YouTube video. It’s integrated seamlessly with Google Docs and Drive, providing a robust workflow.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Multilingual transcription.
    • Real-time audio-to-text transcription.
    • Noise-cancellation for high-quality transcriptions.
    • Timestamps for every transcribed word.
    • Integration with Google services.

    Cost: Prices vary based on usage, but there’s a free tier with limited transcription minutes.

    2. offers automatic transcription software that’s powerful and user-friendly. Designed to transcribe audio from video files, podcasts, and other sources, it provides real-time transcription. Its AI recognizes different speakers and even learns over time for improved accuracy. The tool supports exporting transcriptions in SRT for subtitles and TXT for standard text files.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Real-time transcription.
    • Speaker identification.
    • Export in multiple formats including SRT.
    • Integration with online audio and video platforms.
    • Supports manual transcription edits.

    Cost: Free for 600 minutes/month, premium plans start at $8.33/month.

    3. Rev:

    Rev is known for its transcription services, blending AI transcription with human reviews to ensure high accuracy. They convert audio from various sources into text, even from social media and online platforms. The tool is straightforward to start with and provides a step-by-step tutorial for new users.

    Top 5 Features:

    • AI transcription with human review.
    • Supports multiple audio formats.
    • High-quality audio transcription.
    • Quick turnaround time.
    • Easy integration with video editing tools.

    Cost: AI transcription starts at $0.25/minute.

    4. Descript:

    Descript offers a complete audio and video editing platform. Alongside its transcription tool, users can edit the transcribed text to modify the corresponding audio. It’s a fantastic tool for podcasters, video editors, and content creators. The software offers automatic and manual transcription methods.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Overdub (synthesize speech in your voice).
    • Screen recording capabilities.
    • Multitrack recording.
    • Powerful transcription tool with editor.
    • Integration with social media platforms.

    Cost: Free plan available, paid plans start at $12/month.

    5. Microsoft Azure Speech Service:

    A product from Microsoft, this service uses advanced AI to transcribe audio. With its speech recognition capabilities, it supports a variety of file formats and languages. It is integrated seamlessly with Windows and offers plugins for Chrome and Edge.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Real-time transcription.
    • Customizable speech models.
    • Integration with Microsoft products.
    • Multilanguage support.
    • Audio playback with timestamps.

    Cost: Pricing varies based on usage; free tier available with limited features.

    6. Sonix:

    Sonix is a powerful online transcription software. With automatic transcription capabilities, it can quickly convert audio to text. It supports audio files from various sources, including online platforms and social media.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Fast automatic transcription.
    • Online audio file storage.
    • Supports over 30 languages.
    • Advanced punctuation.
    • Integration with video editor tools.

    Cost: Subscription starts at $10/month.

    7. IBM Watson Speech to Text:

    IBM Watson offers high-quality automatic transcription software. With its AI, it supports various audio formats and provides accurate text transcription, even with background noises. It has a user-friendly interface and a handy tutorial for new users.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Multiple audio format support.
    • Real-time transcription.
    • Background noise reduction.
    • Supports multiple languages.
    • Integration with video files.

    Cost: Prices start at $0.02 per minute.

    8. Trint:

    Trint’s AI-powered platform offers audio-to-text transcription for content creators. It provides an easy workflow for users and is known for its accuracy. With features like speaker identification and timestamps, it’s suitable for professional purposes.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Real-time transcription.
    • Multiuser collaboration.
    • Export in multiple formats.
    • Supports various languages.
    • Speaker identification.

    Cost: Subscription plans start at $40/month.

    9. Happy Scribe:

    Happy Scribe is a comprehensive transcription tool that caters to professionals. It supports transcription in various languages and can transcribe audio from different sources, including podcasts and online platforms.

    Top 5 Features:

    • Automatic and manual transcription options.
    • Advanced punctuation.
    • Supports multiple languages.
    • Integration with video editing software.
    • Provides detailed timestamps.

    Cost: Starting from $12/hour of transcription.

    Recent Blogs

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.

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