The Best New Ways to Transcribe

An Overview of 28 Tools for Efficiently Turning Audio Into Text

Jeremy Caplan
Aug 18, 2017 · 9 min read

Option #1: Transcribe Audio or Video Yourself

Transcribing recordings of interviews, meetings, or calls can be easy, cheap and fast. If you type quickly and understand the accents of whomever you’ve recorded, choose one of two browser-based tools to streamline the process.


Option #2: Use an Automated Transcription Service


Option #3: Use an App to Generate a Quick Transcription

Cassette is an elegant app put together with the help of designers from Stanford d.school and UCLA Cognitive Science in collaboration with David Kelley (cofounder of IDEO and d.school). It works in a variety of languages (Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese). The founders note an accuracy of approximately 90% and have set the cost as low as $3 per hour. The first half hour of transcription is free.

Cogi’s 1-minute summary video gives you a quick feel for how the app works

Option #4: Record Calls, Transcribe Afterwards

NoNotes.com is an app that for $8 a month allows you to record as many outgoing calls as you want. You can then pay $.75/minute to have a person transcribe any call within three days (or pay extra for faster service).


Option #5: Use Simple Dictation Tools

Google Docs does an excellent job of transcribing spoken words if you use a Chrome browser. Just go to the Tools > Voice Typing menu command on any doc. For translation you can use it in combination with the Google Docs auto-translate function on the same menu (Tools > Translate Document).

Option #6: Hire a Freelancer

Amazon’s Mechanical Turk is an open platform that lets you post tasks for others to complete. You can customize an assignment including transcription, translation, or whatever else would be useful to you, like having someone summarize the key points of a recording. Here are a couple of case studies from Amazon.

Other Resources

Hardware tip: For landline or cell calls, the $14 Olympus TP-8 works w/ any digital recorder to save your audio

Summary List

  1. Transcribe Audio Yourself in a Browser
    1. oTranscribe.com | 2. Transcribe
  2. Get a Computer Generated Transcript
    3. Trint.com | 4. Happy Scribe | 5. Temi | 6. Spext | 7. Pop Up Archive
  3. Use an App
    8. Cassette | 9. Anchor | 10. Steno | 11. Cogi | 12. Recordly.io
  4. Record a Call, Transcribe Afterwards
    13. NoNotes.com | 14. TapeaCall.com | 15. Google Voice
  5. Dictate for Direct Transcription
    16. Google Docs | 17. Dragon Dictation | 18. Active Voice
    19. Speechnotes | 20. Speechlogger
  6. Hire a Freelancer
    21. Mechanical Turk | 22. Fiverr | 23. Upwork
  7. Other Resources
    24. Olympus TP-8 | 25. AutoEdit 2 | 26. Auto Transcription API by Scale 27. PodcasterPro | 28. IBM Watson’s Transcription Demo
  8. New Services: Otter, Deepgram, Sonix.ai, Jog.ai and Voicera

Do you have other resources to recommend? Or your own thoughts on anything mentioned above? Please share your input.

Journalism Innovation

Ideas, Experiments and Explorations in Entrepreneurial Journalism

Jeremy Caplan

Written by

Director of Teaching and Learning @NewmarkJSchool; Former @Time Reporter | I love learning, teaching & sharing. jeremy@jeremycaplan.com

Journalism Innovation

Ideas, Experiments and Explorations in Entrepreneurial Journalism, from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

Jeremy Caplan

Written by

Director of Teaching and Learning @NewmarkJSchool; Former @Time Reporter | I love learning, teaching & sharing. jeremy@jeremycaplan.com

Journalism Innovation

Ideas, Experiments and Explorations in Entrepreneurial Journalism, from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at CUNY

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