Audio transcription is a common requirement in various sectors like legal, academics, insurance, law, banking, media and more. For example, legal firms need audio transcription for converting recordings of complex court proceedings to comprehendible text format. Likewise, other such support to document meetings, video conferences, phone calls, seminars, and so on, and improve accessibility, sharing and retention. Today, there are advanced AI-powered software tools that boost the ease and speed of transcription of live or recorded audio or videos into text. Audio transcription services can improve the accuracy of machine-generated documentation.
Audio transcription tools that you should give a try in 2022
Text distribution channels outnumber audio distribution channels and text documents require only small bandwidth. With the help of transcription tools, audio files can be converted into text and repurposed into different formats like whitepapers, reports, blogs, articles, and more. Let’s take a look at the top transcription tools available today.
- The FTW Transcriber
The software is compatible with both Windows and Android operating systems. Professional transcribers can rely upon this software as it offers features like automatic timestamps and enhanced audio quality. The tool can be downloaded freely and can be used on smartphones and tablets. It has a bookmark feature and is compatible with all word processors.
This is a speech to text software that can convert interviews, audio notes, meetings, speeches and lectures to over 80+ languages. It offers two options for transcription. One is transcribing your file by typing it out and the other option is by using Transcribe’s dictation feature which converts voice with the help of voice recognition. It securely preserves the confidentiality of the data.
Otter.ai translates speech to text using artificial intelligence and machine learning. The software shows captions for live speakers and we can record audio from our phone or any web browser to transcribe it. Along with the text, the software adds speaker ID’s, notes and images. This eliminates the need of third party tools for simple enhancements.
Products of Otter are:
- Otter Live Meeting Notes
- Otter for Teams
- Otter for Education
- Otter Live Notes for Zoom
This free tool is ideal to transcribe recorded interviews. The software has the feature of easily navigating through the transcript. The transcribed text version is exported to Google docs, Markdown or Plain Text and will be saved automatically in the browser’s storage. With interactive timestamping, the transcripts are easily navigable.
The AI tool can be used for both personal and business purposes. The tool can convert the audio files into 31 different languages of the text version. Each word of the file will be converted into text and the text needs to be edited to make it accurate. It has the option of adding markers, and speaker names and leaving comments for specific sections.
- Happy Scribe
The software caters to transcription and subtitle needs. It is compatible for 60 different languages. It has speakers and timestamps with personalized vocabulary. Happy Scribe can work in tandem with your proofreaders and editors in a single platform.
The audio file can be converted automatically to text. Subtitles can be added automatically to the video with a subtitle generator. The speech recognition engine processes the request once the audio file is uploaded. There is an online text editor with which the text can be edited and exports the transcript in Text, SRT and VTT.
- Express Scribe
The software has keyboard hotkeys and pedal support to transcribe audio file faster. It is compatible with wide range of formats including encrypted dictated files. Express Scribe can work well with Microsoft Word and FastFox Text Expander. The transcribed file can be automatically forwarded to the client to save time.
Advantages of Using Audio Transcription Tools
- Transcribing audios is a tedious task and these advanced tools can ease the job and help you complete it faster
- Cost-effective with enhanced accuracy and security
- Effectively removes the verbal debris
However, when it comes to accuracy, automated transcription tools may not measure up to the audio transcription services provided by a reliable company. This is because technology cannot understand clarity and nuances and conveying these aspects in the transcript is essential for readers to understand the written text. Transcription tools may misinterpret certain words and this can lead to wrong spelling, which will lead to the intended message being unclear or even inaccurate. The software takes time to learn and understand nuances and relying on one particular software can lead to errors in the transcript.
Technological advancement in the field of AI has eased tedious audio transcription tasks. Professional human transcriptionists are essential if you are looking to achieve 99% accuracy. Even if you use automated transcription, have your work checked by a digital transcription service provider to get a highly accurate and clean final text transcript.
Have you ever thought about the difference between hearing and listening? We tend to think that hearing a person talk is enough to understand what they’re saying. But hearing is not the same as listening. When someone speaks you hear them, but if you were not listening, you will realize later that you didn’t comprehend what they said. This usually happens because we were distracted and thinking about other matters, or what we’re going to say next. Active listening, an important skill for audio transcription service providers, means focusing on the speaker and understanding what’s being said or the message the person is trying to convey.
Active Listening in the Workplace
Active listening promotes effective listening, and is defined by Wright State University of the People as “actively absorbing the information given to you by a speaker, showing that you are listening and interested, and providing feedback to the speaker so that he or she knows the message was received”.
Strong and effective communication skills are essential in the workplace. Active listening is an important soft skill that promotes good communication. It means concentrating and making the effort to understand what the other person is saying and also responding to show that you are doing so. This is different from passive listening which is one-way communication – listening without reacting or responding when someone is speaking.
Active listening requires:
- Focusing on what’s being said
- Understanding the speaker’s intent
- Not interrupting, but responding or asking appropriate or specific questions when relevant
- Showing concern or understanding by using brief affirmations like “I see”
- Being able to summarize the information
- Considering non-verbal communication such as voice inflexion, tone, body language and facial expressions
In the workplace, active listening helps in the following ways:
- Promotes better communication
- Makes the speaker feel valued and respected
- Builds rapport and good relationships with co-workers and managers
- Wins trust
- More effective team collaborations
- Helps retain information, which is especially important in work meetings and conferences
- Improved individual and team decision-making
- Better productivity
- Boosts creativity and innovation
Active listening allows you to process all information you are presented with and make mindful decisions that you can uphold.
Tips to Improve Active Listening Skills
Here are some tactics to improve active listening at work:
- Focus and give your full attention to what’s being said. Turn off your own thoughts.
- For full clarity and visibility, ensure engagement with follow-up questions when relevant.
- Avoid multitasking (texting, checking emails, reading, etc) when someone is speaking.
- Take time to recall the conversation, especially the main points.
- Offer answers in the form of verbal and non-verbal cues (smiling, head nods, and comfortable eye contact).
- Paraphrase: Rephrase what was said using your own words – this will show that you were listening.
- Be mindful of your posture by leaning forward slightly and showing great interest in the talk.
- Be non-judgmental. Keep your mind open to what the person is saying and provide feedback only after the person has finished speaking.
- Don’t interrupt – wait for the speaker to finish talking before commenting or asking questions.
- When listening for a long period, focus on and remember keywords and phrases.
- Empathize – put yourself in the other person’s place.
Active Listening: A Key Skill for Audio Transcription
Active listening is a basic skill for transcriptionists. Effective listening is necessary to understand the recorded audio and video and transcribe it accurately. Transcriptionists need excellent listening skills to handle audio recordings with multiple speakers talking over each other, difficult accents, technical jargon, and background noises. Close attention to detail and listening to the recordings multiple times if often needed to understand the gist of the recording.
For example, take legal transcription which covers a wide range of subjects. Legal transcriptionists should have excellent listening skills as lawyers often used the documents they produce to prepare for trials and may also use them in court. In addition to being familiar with legal terminology, procedures and systems, outstanding active listening skills are needed to accurately transcribe digitally recorded courtroom proceedings, interviews, interrogations, depositions, meetings, etc. and avoid ambiguities and inaccuracies. In fact, legal transcription errors can have negatively impacted a case and prove really costly. That’s why law firms now prefer to outsource their transcription tasks. Reliable digital transcription agencies have the manpower, technology and other resources essential to provide accurate documentation of legal proceedings.
Listening is vitally important both in the workplace and home in today’s world where we juggle virtual personal and working environments with in-person interactions. “Empathy allows you to understand your colleague’s perspective and needs which is critical for successful collaborations,” says Dr Susan Birne-Stone, a therapist and coach (www.forbes.com). Active listening demonstrates greater empathy, which is a much required soft skill in the workplace.
Taking notes is a normal practice during office meetings. These notes offer a quick reference to the discussion and allow you to review ideas, information, decisions, objectives, action items, deadlines and other relevant matters. But writing notes is tedious and interrupts the natural flow of the conversation. A better alternative is to record and capture the discussion using meeting transcription software and have these notes turned into high-quality documents with the help of an audio transcription company.
Meeting transcription software and apps are handy and capture the most important information with speed and efficiency. The technology works with a speech-to-text algorithm – a voice or video recorder captures the conversation and when the file is uploaded to the software, it is converted into text. Today, meetings have gone remote which makes it even more important to use quality meeting software to ensure clear, accurate documentation. Here is a review of the 6 best software tools for calls or meeting transcription.
- otter.ai: This AI-powered assistant can provide rich notes for meetings and many other important voice conversations. It offers real-time transcription and automated meeting summaries. It is easy to set up and use and works from the browser. The conversations can be accessed from any device. This intuitive app can be trained to recognize speakers’ voice print and can therefore capture conversations among multiple persons. Automated recording and transcription make it easy to review the transcribed text in real-time and search through voice conversations quickly. Otter is ideal for team collaboration as it allows you to share voice notes with others. Otter offers Basic, Pro, Business, and Enterprise Plans, Pricing is calculated per user. The Business Plan costs $240 USD per user per year (yearly savings). A 10-day free trial is available.
- Zoom: With video conferencing, advanced cloud recording and real-time transcription, Zoom is ideal in organizations that conduct meetings on a regular basis. Zoom partners with Otter to provide real-time transcripts. According to a Forbes article, this is an ideal option when you needs “billions of hours of audio” to be transcribed. Participants can access a live transcript directly from Zoom to follow as the meeting is in progress. They can also review the transcript and read it at their own pace. Zoom transcripts encourage collaboration. Users annotate their notes in real-time, highlight points, add comments, and include photos to create meeting notes that all participants can review and share. Zoom’s Business Plan costs $199.90 per year per license. A free trial is available.
- Threads: When it comes to calls transcription, Threads is an ideal option. This transcription software quickly captures all VoIP calls made from your network, independent of the telephone system in use. The calls are stored in a secure cloud database. This software accurately transcribes the calls and makes them fully searchable. Threads are equipped with a shared email inbox feature, allowing team members to access call recordings and transcriptions and extract information, which increases productivity. In addition to the secure cloud database, top features include full context, CRM integration, and exceptional search functionalities. A Threads subscription starts at $30 per month for 5GB worth of storage (pricing is storage-based). A free 14-day trial is available.
- Fireflies.ai: This tool allows you to instantly capture meetings and calls directly from the browser across any web-conferencing platform, and transcribes live meetings or audio files uploaded on it. Users can skim the transcripts while listening to the audio, add comments or mark highlights to collaborate with team members on important points. Users can search across action items and other important highlights. Fireflies Business costs $19 per month Per User when billed annually or $29 monthly. Sign up is free.
- Trint : Trint offers quick and accurate transcription of both video and audio files and allows you to edit the text and collaborate at the same place. Audio and video files are also searchable. Audio and time-stamped transcription can be accessed side by side, allowing the text to be corrected and edited. The completed transcripts can be emailed quickly. Trint is secure, user-friendly, and compatible with different file formats. One unique feature is that this app can accurately differentiate between UK and US English. Trint’s Pro Team Plan costs $68 per month per user. It also comes with a free trial.
- TranscribeMe: This meeting transcription service offers a hybrid model that blends speech recognition technology and human transcriptionists to produce accurate, high-quality transcripts. Voice recognition software converts speech to text and provides automated quality checks. Peer reviews by professionals ensure error-free transcripts. In addition to speaker IDs and timestamps, there are security protocols and processes in place to ensure that all information is encrypted and securely maintained. TranscribeMe’s Verbatim Plan costs $2 per minute. There is no free trial.
Though meeting transcription software offers several benefits, accuracy is a common concern across all of them. In a productive team meeting, many important decisions are made. Partnering with an online transcription company can help businesses document these details accurately, which is important for participants to understand their responsibilities and follow through on commitments.
Artificial Intelligence or AI now plays a significant role in transforming countless manual transcription tasks into automated ones. Many businesses require transcripts to get word-for-word records of meetings, virtual conference calls, lectures, conferences and more. Automated transcription services can convert speech easier than ever. Transcripts are also necessary to make any content accessible to individuals with disabilities like hearing loss. Audio transcription services provided by experienced providers can make audio files searchable, editable and shareable. AI-powered transcription software can be used to transcribe live or recorded audios or videos into text.
This is the world’s first speech-to-text productivity platform that uses AI to convert speech to text in seconds. Individuals as well as enterprises can equally use this AI-powered tool. Its AI uses automated speech recognition (ASR) and natural language processing (NLP) to decode the sounds that make up human speech. Those sounds are matched to the corresponding word in the dictionary and displayed in the Trint Editor.
Once the file is uploaded, the machine-generated transcript is ready on the Trint Editor in seconds. Users can follow, edit and verify the transcripts by listening to audio and the words that appear on the screen. Editor allows verifying and correcting words, checking timecodes and naming speakers. Corrected transcripts and Comments can be shared with anyone on the content production team. It accepts files in any formats including .mp3, .mp4, .m4a, .aac, .wma, .avi, .wav and .mov. This software transcribes in English (US and UK spelling) and 30 other global languages. It offers tools such as Trint Realtime, Vocab Builder and more to make the transcription task easy.
This AI-powered assistant helps to generate rich notes for meetings, interviews, lectures, and other important voice conversations. Users can receive automated meeting notes with summary keywords, highlights, and full audio transcripts. It also enriches the Zoom user experience with live transcription.
This software provides real-time streaming transcripts within minutes and provides rich, searchable notes with text, audio, images, speaker ID, and key phrases. Users will get 600 minutes of transcription free per month.
The company has announced expanding its Otter Assistant feature for Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Cisco Webex. With these integrations, Otter Assistant can now transcribe meetings on more platforms, even if the Otter user is not attending the meeting. This software can also automatically join calendared meetings and records, take notes and share transcriptions with other participants in the meeting.
Enterprises can highlight, comment, and add photos collaboratively on the shared live notes to keep their staff on the same page. Users can create secure groups, and highlight and edit shared notes for the team together. Integrated by Ambient Voice Intelligence, it can recognize voices, learn special terminology, and help users work and collaborate smarter. This software’s new version, Otter 2.0, adds more functionality to improve collaboration and productivity.
This automatic speech recognition tool with AI speech recognition saves hours of transcription time. It allows creating a draft text automatically and providing an intuitive text editor to improve the text. The editor includes adjustable timestamps and customizable speaker distinction. Users can easily adjust the text, highlight parts, and search through your text with ease.
Users can benefit from multiple import and export options. It supports importing video and audio files in different formats and exporting the transcript as a Word, JSON, or text file, with optional timestamps and speaker distinction. Multiple user account options such as -Admin dashboard, Access for multiple users, Centralized billing, Personalized on-boarding and Integration of workflow via API make this an ideal platform for larger businesses. Its IT infrastructure is built on the server infrastructure of Amazon Web Services and all the data will be stored and processed on highly secured servers with regular back-ups on the same infrastructure.
This voice-to-text transcription software offers word-for-word records of lectures, meetings, events and more. Users can benefit from API and out-of-the-box integrations with Dropbox, Box, Google Drive and more that allows them to provide transcripts of all media at scale.
Verbit has its own ASR (automatic-speech-recognition) machine based on Artificial Intelligence, which can produce transcripts in real time. This live capability ensures that even users facing disabilities or other difficulties are provided with equal opportunities to consume content and participate with their peers.
Users can also search these transcripts in real time for keywords, take notes, highlight within them and take advantage of additional interactive features. By integrating with Zoom, LMS and other platforms, it can provide users with fully interactive transcripts.
This affordable, AI-based audio transcription tool works on manual as well as automated transcription. Manual transcription follows a four-step process with transcription at the top of the rung, all of which goes all the way down to quality check.
It can drastically reduce transcription time and effort, transcribe files 2x faster. Scribie’s manual transcription may take an hour to 36 hours to be delivered. At the same time, this software’s automated transcription can provide output within 30 minutes for a 2-hour file. Users can identify/track multiple speakers.
Its automated transcription option uses cutting-edge AI combined with a constantly learning NLP model built on real-world data from Scribie’s manual transcription service.
While automated transcription tools can provide transcripts much faster, there are increased chances for quality to be compromised. An ideal solution to get accurate transcripts is to combine automated transcription with manual editing. Businesses can take support from business transcription services to get those transcripts edited by skilled editors.
Transcription is widely used by many industries today. Courts, businesses, academic institutions etc. make recordings of their meetings, discussions, lectures and interviews and get them transcribed with the help of reliable digital transcription agencies. Accurate transcripts of any discussion help the organization to make informed decisions. However, if the audio quality of the recording is not good then, transcription becomes difficult.
Importance of Good Audio Quality for Transcription
Transcription is not an easy task and it takes excellent listening skills, good typing speed, and the ability to understand different dialects and accents to ensure accurate transcription. Even if the audio is clear, the transcriptionist still has to listen to the audio several times to understand each and every word. If the audio quality is poor, it will take more time to transcribe it. They will have to rewind the audio file multiple times to identify what the speakers are saying. If there are many speakers, then the audio quality becomes even more significant as it can be very difficult to distinguish the voices and understand every word that is spoken. The transcriptionist would require a longer time to convert such recordings into text format. Good quality audio recordings are easier to transcribe and you can also benefit from higher quality transcripts.
How Poor Audio Quality Affects Transcription
Poor quality audio recording may have
- Unnecessary Background Sounds
- Muffled Voices
- Lagged Conversations
- Overlapping Conversations
- Different Volume Levels
- Inaudible Parts
Any recording with substandard quality audio can make the transcription process very hard and transcriptionists might struggle to hear what is being said and transcribe it accurately. This could even lead to difficulty in creating a good-quality transcription as critical parts of the recordings could be missed out in those inaudible voices. It is always best to do the recording in a quiet place to ensure clear audio. However, people often end up putting the microphone at the wrong place, which leads to inaudible voices.
How to Improve the Quality of Audio Recording
- Use Top Quality Earphones or Headset: Headphones that have good audio quality along with noise canceling feature are ideal for transcribing any audio file. A good headphone enables the transcriptionist to hear the sounds more clearly and it becomes much easier to transcribe the audio accurately.
- Use Software to Clean the Audio: There are many clean-up software or apps available today that work like a sound recorder and help to remove any background noises.
- Slowing Down or Speeding up the Recording: Changing the audio speed helps the transcriptionist to better understand what the speakers are saying. Altering the speed of the recording often enhances the clarity of the recording.
- Utilize a Sound Editor to Enhance Audio: Sound editors help to delete the background noises completely and distinguish the sounds more clearly.
How to Handle Inaudible Words
Sometimes transcriptionists receive audio recordings that have a few words or sentences that are hard to comprehend, but experienced transcriptionists can understand the context of that particular part of the recording. But it is not advisable to guess the missing words and include those in the transcript. If you are unable to understand the audio at all, you can just mention [inaudible] or [unintelligible] in the transcript to indicate that the specific part of the recording wasn’t clear to transcribe. Use symbols like ‘-’ or ‘….’ or write “inaudible words” to indicate unclear sounds.
Timestamping the transcript is an excellent idea that makes it much easier for anyone to figure out different parts of the recording. You can put that part of the recording and timestamp in brackets to show a portion of the inaudible recording.
It can be very challenging to transcribe a poor audio recording. It will be prone to many errors and can also be a very time-consuming job. A practical alternative is to outsource the audio transcription requirements to a digital transcription agency. These services ensure accurate transcription of all recordings in any format, depending upon the client’s requirement. They also ensure quick turnaround time and are cost-effective too.
Multimedia content such as video, audio, podcasts, and narrated slideshows, are increasingly being used for content marketing. Digital transcription service providers can ensure that audio and video content come with accurate transcripts that improve accessibility to the information. Search engines cannot crawl through video content directly, but they can crawl the text. Transcripts make the content searchable.
Video and Podcast transcription – Boost Online Visibility
Video transcription can be a big support for content marketing. Adding a transcript to the marketing video can improve the ranking of your video page. You can use quotes from the text for your social media campaign. Transcripts are a good source of content for blogs, eBooks, and whitepapers that can be optimized with the right keywords to boost online visibility.
Targeted keywords can be included in titles and subtitles and the content can be linked to other relevant pages on your site. Including subtitles on videos are also a great tactic to increase engagement with the content. Transcription is an important parameter you can use with video schema markup. With a short description of the video, the transcript can be used to provide more information without concerns about the character limit.
Starting 2019, Google began indexing podcasts. Similar to video transcripts, optimizing podcast transcription can also boost your content marketing. A podcast transcription service can ensure accurate audio to text conversion. Make sure it is edited and that the text and speaker transitions are correct.
Before recording your podcast, consider topics and keywords your potential audience may be interested in before recording. Just as with other types of content, you need to make a list of the keywords you want your podcast to rank for. Then optimize your transcript with the right keywords to inform Google that your podcast relates to what users are looking for. This will increases the chances of your podcast showing up in search results.
There are many ways podcasting content can be used for content marketing: creating blogs and social posts and using transcripts to boost their visibility, writing case studies and Ebooks, integrating an audio clip in blog posts, and creating and sharing podcast audiograms on social media. When it comes to optimizing podcasts, a 2019 Search Engine Journal article says it’s important that the podcast host has a strong podcast voice.
While Google’s NLP capabilities can find verbalized keywords, a strong podcast voice will allow Google to understand the maximum number of keywords and phrases in the conversation. The article recommends speaking from the gut and not from the throat.
Transcription – Multiple Benefits for Content Marketing
Including transcripts with videos and podcasts offers multiple benefits for content marketing:
- Increases Engagement with your Brand: To increase engagement with your brand, you need to cater to different audiences with varying preferences. Providing video and podcast transcripts is a bonus for your customer. Reading the text will help them get to know your brand better and encourage them to visit other pages of your site. Transcripts make referencing easy for customers.
- Conveys Message Effectively: With a transcript, video content becomes easier to consume. They don’t have to watch the whole video to find the information they want. People can go through the text and find it quickly.
- Promotes Advertising Efforts: Many businesses use AdSense or other forms of contextual advertising. In contextual advertising ads delivered are targeted to your content or audience using factors such as keyword analysis, word frequency, font size, and the overall link structure of the web, in order to determine what a webpage is about and precisely match Google ads to each page. Rather than posting only videos, posting the transcripts below the video will allow search engines to identify the correct search terms and post the most relevant advertisements.
- Promote Affiliates: Permit affiliates to use your video transcripts as PLR (private label rights). If you are promoting a product or service that your associates are providing, permitting them to use the transcripts can help increase their revenue.
- Create Books: If you have a series of videos, you can add content to the transcripts and create books for sale. Including affiliate links and other offers in the book can increase income.
- Accessibility: For videos, accessibility is especially important as it allows people of all abilities to connect with and enjoy video content. Accessibility is the key to more video views, greater audience engagement, and longer view times. Transcripts help people who have difficulty watching or hearing video and are great for those with disabilities who just want relevant information. A speaker’s accent or the language in which the video was created may pose barriers to comprehension, and transcripts overcome this problem.
- Preferred by Screen Reader Users: With transcripts, multimedia content becomes searchable by search engines and users. As most adept screen reader users set their assistive technology to read at a much faster rate than natural human speech, screen reader users also tend to prefer a transcript over real-time audio.
By including transcripts with videos and podcasts, businesses can get their content indexed by search engine bots, improve search engine ranking, and boost customer satisfaction by taking their preferences into account. Revenue growth is tied to customer engagement.
Digital transcription agencies can provide accurate and timely podcasts of videos and podcasts that, when repurposed the right way, can increase customer engagement and business growth and revenue.