Journalists conduct interviews to gather relevant facts, provide the public with an understanding of issues, get quotes from experts on a particular topic, and balance opposing views. Mastering interviewing techniques is crucial to convey the key message from the interview. Today, journalists have a wide variety of media transcription tools and apps for convert recorded interviews, speeches, videos and other audio content into text format.
- Transcribe: This free browser-based app features an audio player that is integrated with a text editor on the same screen. There is no need to switch to and from the audio player and the editor, which saves time. There are shortcuts to slow down, pause or rewind audio anytime as well as to insert the current timestamp. However, users may have trouble focusing when browsing the web as this app requires an open internet tab.
- Cogi: This is a free app for both iPhones and Androids and is a favorite option among many journalists as it allows them to focus on conducting the interview. Cogi takes notes at just a single finger tap and can be used to highlight important segments as it rewinds 15 to 40 seconds to record what was just said.
- Dictation.io: This free app comes in several languages and requires Google Chrome. It can be used as a notepad for typing and the text is automatically saved. It is useful when you don’t want to take down everything and when you have other windows open. Accuracy may be a problem compared to other options.
- Dragon Anywhere: Available on Android and iOS, this professional-grade mobile dictation app allows you to easily create documents of any length. You can edit, format and share the files directly by email, Dropbox or other modes from your mobile device. Powerful voice editing and formatting offers top accuracy. Customized words and auto-text can be accessed across all devices.
Most currently available transcription technology cannot handle multiple voices or noisy backgrounds. Moreover, while these apps could be useful for short pieces, when it comes to long segments of actual human conversation, relying on experienced interview transcription providers is the best option. An article published by WIRED reports Roger Zimmerman, Chief of Research and Development at 3Play Media as saying that a “perfect speech recognizer that just listens in like a human will not be achieved in a reasonable time”. 3Play Media is reportedly the only company offering a commercial app for automated long-form transcription. Zimmerman believes that speech recognition technology is not anywhere near human capability and won’t be for many decades.
Established media transcription service providers enjoy economies of scale and provide services at cost-effective rates. Skilled transcriptionists convert the files into text quickly and accurately. Benefits include stringent QA and maximum security for client documents. Even if you do use an app, an experienced company can correct and fine-tune your typed notes for better accuracy in fast turnaround time.