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6 useful transcription tools to convert audio and video to text

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Record and transcribe personal interviews

Alice is a voice recording and transcription app made for journalists. I like that you can use it without looking; just open the app and tap the screen to start recording. Tap to bookmark an interesting comment. Or swipe right to pause recording. To test the quality, visit aliceapp.ai and upload any audio file for free.

Functions:

  • Recordings are automatically emailed to you when you end an interview
  • Recording works in the background, so you can take a photo or make a note without stopping the recording
  • After recording, you can access the recording transcript online
  • Start with two hours free to test it out

Prices: $3/hour if you buy 100 hours; $5/hour if you buy 20 hours; $10/hour if you buy two hours. No subscription required, just buy how much transcription time you need. The team is small and responsive. Email [email protected] with questions.

Alternative: The Otter app works on both android and iOS. It’s a good alternative to interviews or dictation, with a few notable features. It shows you the real-time transcript on the screen as you talk; shows what percentage of the conversation each speaker accounted for; shows summary keywords from the conversation; and makes it easy to share the editable transcript and recording with teammates.

Publish your transcript

Otter has long been my favorite transcription app. It was actually the first tool I wrote about when i started this Miracle Tools newsletter early in the pandemic. One of the features I like is that I can mark a portion of a transcript of an audio recording and then publish that audio alongside the transcript.

Here is an example of a published highlight section of an Otter audio recording and transcript. It’s an excerpt from a live online event summarized herewith Jennifer 8. Lee (yes, that’s her middle initial) talks about how independent journalists make money in different ways.

I also like to record and transcribe audio through a browser, with Otter, which is useful when you need to transcribe an online meeting.

Prices: Free for 600 minutes of transcription per month, up to 30 minutes per call. $100/year for additional transcription time and professional features.

Transcribe in 37 languages

Sonix handles everything from Arabic, Chinese, French and German to Japanese, Korean, Russian and Spanish. Most transcription services only work in English. I’m curious how it works in your language, so please comment to let me know what you think.

Sonix has useful editing features:

  • It automatically separates speakers in your transcript
  • You get word-for-word timestamps so you can easily find an important moment in your audio or video
  • You can export subtitles when you put a video on YouTube
  • You get 30 minutes of free transcription to try it out

Prices: $10/hour, or $5/hour if you subscribe for $22/month. For educators, it’s $5 per hour if you purchase a $29/year subscription. For an additional $3 per hour, Sonix will translate your transcript into another language.

Transcribing an audio event

Backstage by Headliner is useful for recording live audio sessions from Clubhouse or Twitter Spaces. All you need to do is log in and then paste the link to your audio session. When it’s over, you’ll find the recording and transcript ready to use. It’s free for now. I was impressed by the speed and ease with which the translation showed up for a recent live session on Twitter Spaces.

Dictate fast and for free

Google Docs has an excellent and user-friendly dictation function. Select Tools > Voice Typing or just press Command-Shift-S and start talking. If your main need is to put your own thoughts on paper, it’s fast, free, and fits into your existing word processing workflow.

Bonus: Translate your transcript into GDocs by selecting Tools > Translate Document. For more, be here 13 Useful Google Docs Features I love.

Summarize your transcript

wordcab is a great little site that takes an audio file, a text transcript, or even a YouTube URL and summarizes that meeting, discussion, or interview for you. Here is an example of the Overview text Wordcab provided after I interviewed former Evernote CEO Phil Libin. The service is still taking shape, so Wordcab’s design is rawer than bigger services like Otter and Sonix.

Prices: Five free summaries per month. Then $24/month for 30 summaries, or $39 for 60 summaries.

Transcribe your own private audio or video

oTranscribe is a simple and free site to type out your own transcript while playing an audio or video file. If you don’t want to pay to have someone else transcribe your audio, or if you’re dealing with sensitive or private material, here’s an easy way to transcribe it yourself.

Just upload an audio or video file or enter a YouTube URL. While listening to the playback, type, press ESC to pause or Ctrl-J to add a timestamp. You can delay the recording to make tracking easier. When you’re done, you can export the transcript to Google Drive or as a text file.

This article was republished with permission from Wonder Tools, a newsletter that helps you discover the most useful sites and apps. register here.

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