5 Best Automatic Transcription Software to be a Better Transcriber

Choosing the right automatic transcription software is crucial if you want to produce high-quality transcription files quickly and easily so you can book more clients, work fewer hours, and make more money. From upload time, to language support, the best automatic transcription tools can help you meet your goals. In this guide, I ranked and reviewed the 5 best automatic transcription software so that you can pick the best one for you.

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Transcription is a popular remote job, with a growing list of businesses and clients utilizing the service. In this post, I rank and review some of the best software Transcriptionists use to help them transcribe faster and easier.

The factors I took into consideration include:

  • Uploading time
  • Transcription time
  • Accuracy
  • Language support
  • Price

Benefits of Using Automatic Transcription Software

➡ Does most of the work for you so you can do more work in less time.

➡ You don’t have to be a fast typist.

➡ Save your transcribed files as a plain text file (.txt) or in Microsoft Word and just about any other word processor. This ensures you can send the transcriptions to anyone and they can open it.

➡ Built-in text editor that displays the transcription in real-time, allowing you to view and edit as needed before saving.

➡ Easily fix mistakes in the text editor for 100% accurate transcription.

Best Automatic Transcription Software

The following list of transcription software can help you convert voice to text quickly and easily, making you a better and faster transcriber.

#1 Transcribe

Best overall for speed and accuracy

Best Transcription Software: Transcribe by Wreally

Transcribe is a secure online transcription software that utilizes machine learning to transcribe audio and video 2-3x faster than traditional methods. Supporting more than 80 languages and the most popular audio and video formats, you can convert speeches, interviews, phone calls, notes and lectures in minutes.

What I like best about Transcribe is how easy it is to use; just select Automatic Transcription or Self Transcription, depending on the quality of your audio file.

➡Use Automatic mode if your file has a single speaker, or multiple speakers who don’t overlap, and no background noise. You simply upload your file and give it about 30 minutes to be automatically transcribed. Once the transcript is ready, you can export it as a Word document or a subtitle file.

➡ Use Self Transcription mode if your file is not the best quality or has multiple overlapping speakers. In Self Transcription mode, you have 2 ways to transcribe a file:

  1. Dictate your audio file: Play your file, listen to the audio using your headphones, repeat what you hear and the file is voice-typed.
  2. Load your file, use the portal’s keyboard functions or a foot pedal to control speed and playback, type what you hear.

Pros

  • Supports 60 languages.
  • Automatic or manual transcription options.
  • Dictation to transcription option.
  • Supports foot pedals for faster transcription.
  • Automatic text expanders.
  • Secure and private.
  • Free 1-week trial

Cons:

  • Automatic mode may require some editing (in manual mode) to obtain 100% accuracy.
  • Manually transcribing a file is saved on your computer, not on Transcribe’s server.
  • Licenses / payment not auto-renewed. You have to re-enroll annually.

Price:

  • Automatic Transcription: $20 / year + $6 / hour for each audio transcription
  • Self Transcription: $20 per year.

#2 Trint

Best FOR simple audio transcriptions

Trint Transcription Software

Trint’s real-time transcription uses speech-to-text AI technology that lets you quickly and easily upload audio and video files with a quick transcription turnaround time.

In my audio transcription test, I uploaded 2 files; the first with one speaker, the second with 2 speakers with a little bit of overlapping when speaking.

It took less than a minute to upload the first file and a few minutes later it was transcribed with 90% accuracy – I used Trint’s online editing functions to fine-tune and perfect my transcript.

The second file, with 2 speakers, was about 80% accurate. Because there was some speech overlap, Trint had trouble parsing the two voices. I had to spend several minutes editing this file in the online editor.

I also tested a video file, which was just under 2 minutes long and took only 1 minute to upload. As far as accuracy, it was about 85% and I had to spend about 10 minutes editing to make it perfect.

Pros:

  • You can follow, edit and verify your transcript by listening to the audio as the words appear on the screen.
  • Supports 31 languages.
  • Easy to edit files.
  • Mobile app for iPhone
  • Supports multiple export formats: (.docx, .srt, .vtt, .txt, .stl, .edl, .html, .xml, .csv).
  • Your files are stored in data centers owned and operated by Amazon Web Services (AWS).
  • Trint can recover transcripts you delete. They only permanently delete files if you request they do so.

Cons:

  • Has trouble distinguishing voices when speakers overlap.
  • No app for Android.
  • Expensive.

Price:

You have 4 plans to choose from:

  1. Starter: $40 per month for 1 user; transcribe up to 7 files.
  2. Advanced: $60 per month for 1 user; unlimited files can be transcribed.
  3. Pro Team: $68 per month for 2-50 users; unlimited number of transcriptions and collaboration & team management tools.
  4. Enterprise: You’ll have to contact Trint to work out your price. Allows unlimited users, dedicated customer service, and work flow tools.

#3 Otter

Best Transcription software FOR interviews and meetings

Otter Speech to Text Software

Using artificial intelligence, Otter transcribes speech-to-text instantly, allowing you to generate meetings notes, interviews, lectures, and other important voice conversations.

Otter differentiates between speakers fairly well, with decent accuracy. In fact, when playing back a recording off my cell phone – 3 speakers sometimes talking over each other – I found Otter did a good job identifying the speakers while skipping the non-words such as “um” and “uh”.

To start transcribing with Otter, follow these simple steps:

💻 First, open the online tool (or use the app).

🎙 Next, playback the recorded voice conversation and watch Otter transcribe it.

👀 Then, when done transcribing, go to ‘My Conversations’ and look at the transcription.

✏ Now, click the EDIT button to make any changes.

⭐ Finally, save, share, and export the transcribed document.

What I really like about Otter is being able to replay any bit of text while in EDIT mode, making it easy to compare the original recording with what was transcribed.

Pros:

  • 600 free minutes of transcription per month.
  • Real-time transcription
  • Available for desktop and iOS and Android devices.
  • Speaker recognition
  • Interface is easy to use.

Cons:

  • Only supports English.
  • Works best in smaller settings. Large lecture halls or auditoriums may have too much ambient noise and echos.
  • Only offers online ticket support.
  • Can only save as a .txt file with the free version.

Price:

Otter offers 4 price plans, the first 2 are best for individual transcribers:

  1. Basic: FREE up to 600 minutes of transcription per month.
  2. Pro: $8.33 /month billed annually. Allows up to 6000 transcription minutes per month and advanced features.
  3. Business: $20 per user per month, billed annually. You get up to 6000 minutes per month as well as Zoom compatibility and team organization.
  4. Enterprise: Best plan for large organizations that need additional security and control. You have to contact Otter for the price.

#4 Descript

Best automatic video to text transcription software

Descript Transcription Software

Descript is a video / podcast editor, screen recorder, and transcription tool rolled up in one.

But, for the purpose of this post, we only took a look at the transcription part of this software.

There are 2 ways you can use Descript to transcribe podcasts and videos: Automatic and Human-Powered. Because the Human-Powered option costs $2 per minute, and actually defeats the purpose of being a transcriber, we’re going to only talk about the Automatic transcribing option.

Descript claims their automatic transcription is 95% accurate, but I have found it to be about 90% – and that’s with a clear recording held close to my microphone and little to no background noise. To reach a high accuracy percent, you need a high-quality recording. But don’t worry if your recording isn’t the best, you have the ability to edit your transcript with the built-in editing tools.

Getting started is easy:

-First, sign up for one of their plans (I recommend the Free plan to start) and download the software.

-Then, in the portal, select the “New Project” button at the upper right and create your project.

-Now, drag your file into your newly created project. Audio and video files are done the same way and should only take a few minutes to be transcribed.

If there are multiple speakers, make sure to check the “Detect multiple Speakers” box located at the lower left. This will automatically add speaker labels.

-Finally, if you need to make corrections, click the “Edit Media” button located at the top, select the mode, and start making your fixes.

Pros:

  • Almost instant turn-around time.
  • Can create multiple transcriptions quickly and easily.
  • Can combine multiple transcripts into one.

Cons:

  • Only supports English.
  • Might be overwhelming if all you want to do is transcribe a short, clean file.

Price:

Descript has 3 pricing options plus a custom plan for teams of 20+ people:

  1. Plan 1, FREE:
    • Includes 3 hours of transcription
    • Audio and video editing
    • Overdub trial (text-to-speech clone of your voice)
    • Studio and sound effects
  2. Plan 2, Creator: $12 per person per month
    • Includes everything in the Free version
    • 10 hours of transcription per month
    • No watermarks in video exporting
  3. Plan 3, Pro: $24 per person per month
    • Everything in the Creator plan
    • 30 hours of transcription per month
    • Unlimited text-to-speech clone of your own voice
    • Detects and removes filler words (“like”, “you know”, “um”…)
    • Export full files or segments of a file

#5 Google Docs Voice Typing

Best free audio transcription software FOR short, Single speaker files

Google Docs Voice Typing Dictation Tool

Google Docs is a free online document editor that also has a dictation feature known as Voice Typing. It’s an easy way to transcribe simple audio-to-text documents and quick dictations, requiring little to no typing on your end.

In my test, I used a 7 minute interview with 2 speakers and no speech overlap, that was recorded on my cell phone. I simply started-up Google Docs’s Voice Typing, played the recording, and let it do its thing. I found this tool to be about 75% accurate, which is pretty bad for transcribing, but fixing errors just required listening to the audio and editing the text where it needed corrections. The overall process to complete this 7-minute transcription took about 12 minutes.

Here’s how to use Google Docs’s Voice Typing:

  1. Make sure your computer’s microphone is on.
  2. Open Google Chrome
  3. Log into your Google account (or create one)
  4. Go to Google Docs and under the ‘start a new document’ section, click Blank . This opens a new, empty document.
  5. Go up to ‘Tools’, then ‘Voice Typing’
  6. A microphone icon will pop up. Select your language and click the ‘click to speak’ button. The microphone will turn red and is ready to start typing.
  7. Start playing your audio; Docs will start typing automatically.
  8. When your audio is done, click the microphone again to turn it off.
  9. To correct errors, simply move your curser to the spot that needs correcting and fix it.
  10. Share, publish to the web, or download in a variety of formats to your computer.

Pros:

  • Easy to use.
  • No software to download.
  • Free.

Cons:

  • Does not add punctuation.
  • If you navigate away from your Google Doc before your transcription is done, it will end.
  • Only works in Google Chrome

Price:

FREE


Tips to Make High-Quality Transcriptions:

➡ Have the file, audio or video, already saved to your computer or recorded on your cell phone.

➡ Work in a quiet place with no background noise.

➡ Select the best transcription software for the type of transcription you are doing.

How to use Automatic Transcription Software

The idea behind using automatic transcription software is to make the job of transcribing faster and easier. To do this, you’ll upload, drag-and-drop, or play-back, audio or video recordings (aka files) into the transcription software, let the program do its thing, then save the transcription to your computer.

Automatic transcription software has its own text editor so you can see what is being transcribed as it happens and make any corrections as needed. And to ensure the transcribed file can be read by anyone you send it to, automatic transcription software works with Microsoft Word and just about any other word processor.

Let’s go over the different methods of automatic transcription:

➡ Upload and Drag-and-Drop Transcription Files

To upload or drag-and-drop a file, your client gives you an actual file in one of several popular digital file formats (.avi, .mp3, .mp4, .wav, for example). Typically, these files are given to you via cloud storage (dropbox) and can easily be uploaded or dropped into a transcription software.

The process is easy and mostly automatic but may require manual editing, which you can do in the software’s text editor. When you load, or drop, a file into the transcription software, the program starts working and within a few minutes you have your file transcribed.

The upload or drag-and-drop method is best for transcribing files that have multiple speakers, heavy accents, or are generally not very clear. This gives you the ability to compare what was transcribed to the original audio file, re-play and parts, and fix any mistakes.

➡ Playback Transcription Files

The quickest and easiest way to transcribe simple files, playback transcription is where you play a recording into your computer’s microphone and it’s automatically transcribed through the software.

For example, if you have an interview, lecture, podcast or video recorded on your cell phone, you simply hold your phone up to your computer’s microphone and start the speech-to-text transcription of whichever software you select. Within a few minutes, the file is transcribed.

To make sure you get error-free transcription, you can listen to the original recording, compare it to the transcription, and make any corrections in the software’s text editor by manually typing over what was transcribed.

Playback transcription is ideal for files that have single speakers, multiple speakers who do not talk over each other, and overall good-quality files. And to get the most out of the software, work in a quiet place with no background noise.

How I compared These Transcription Tools

To test the accuracy and usability of each software, I worked with 2 raw audio files, 1 raw video file and a correctly transcribed version of each raw file. Each audio file had native English speakers; one had 1 speaker and the other had 2 speakers who sometimes talked over each other.

I uploaded the raw files to each program and let it go through its transcription process.

Then, to check the accuracy, I exported the transcribed file to my computer, copied it and the correctly transcribed file to a text comparison tool (DiffChecker) to see how they compare.

Each one of these tools convert audio to text in a similar way, however, none of them are 100% accurate so I had to do some editing to create a perfect transcription. And to really make a perfect document, I used some proofreading software to to finalize the transcription.

Final Words

Transcription isn’t going away any time soon. In fact, as we see more bloggers, podcasters, and YouTubers the need for transcription will continue to grow. And to become a faster – and possibly more accurate – Transcriber, these automatic transcription tools will help you reach that goal.