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Every Way You Can Transcribe Audio to Text: A Comparative Guide

Productivity
Productivity

Explore the best ways to transcribe audio to text, covering options to suit every need and budget. Simplify your approach to productivity today!

Anastasia Muha
March 2, 2024
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5 min read
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From legal proceedings to academic research and content creation, the ability to transcribe audio to text is crucial for effective communication. 

Throughout this guide, we'll carefully examine automated transcription software, manual transcription services, and human transcription, highlighting their strengths and limitations. 

Join us on this insightful journey through the world of audio-to-text transcription, where precision and efficiency are paramount. Whether you're a seasoned practitioner looking to streamline your workflow or a newcomer exploring transcription possibilities, we’re here to help!

What Does Audio-to-Text Transcribing Mean?

Audio-to-text transcribing, often referred to as transcription, is the process of converting spoken language from audio recordings into written text. 

Audio transcription serves a myriad of purposes across diverse fields, including legal, medical, academic, and media industries. 

It facilitates documentation, research, analysis, and accessibility, enabling individuals and organizations to effectively communicate, disseminate information, and preserve valuable content.

How Can You Transcribe Audio to Text?

Transcribing audio to text can be done in various ways, each with its own set of particularities, advantages, and disadvantages. 

Here are the main ways to transcribe audio to text:

  • Automated Transcription Tools: AI-driven transcription solutions utilize advanced algorithms to automatically transcribe audio recordings into text format. These tools offer speed and efficiency, making them an attractive option for those with large volumes of audio content to transcribe. They can handle multiple speakers, various accents, and background noise to a certain extent.
  • Manual Transcription: Manual transcription involves skilled individuals who text-convert audio recordings by listening to them and manually typing out the spoken words. This method offers a higher degree of accuracy compared to automated tools, as human transcribers can interpret nuances, accents, and context more effectively.
  • Human Transcription: Human transcription involves professional transcribers who specialize in converting audio recordings into accurate written text. This method offers the highest level of precision and comprehension, as experienced transcribers possess linguistic expertise and subject matter knowledge.

A. How to Automatically Transcribe Audio Using AI Transcription Tools

With advancements in artificial intelligence, what once required hours of manual labor can now be completed in a matter of minutes. 

Here's how to automatically generate text transcripts using AI

  • Choose the right AI transcription tool
  • Prepare your audio files
  • Initiate the transcription process
  • Download and export the transcripts
  • Review and edit the transcripts

1. Choose the Right AI Transcription Tool

Begin by selecting the suitable AI audio-to-text tool for your needs. Explore various AI transcription services, considering factors like accuracy, language support, pricing, and privacy.

Tools like MeetGeek provide accurate online, offline, and audio recording transcription in 70+ languages, among additional features such as speaker identification and time stamps, even for the free plan. 

Moreover, this transcription tool is SOC and HIPAA-compliant, ensuring your transcriptions are produced under the highest privacy standards, which is crucial in the business world.

2. Prepare Your Audio or Video Files

Choose audio recordings with minimal background noise and consistent volume levels. This helps to ensure optimal accuracy and shortens the editing process.  

PRO TIP: If possible, use a quality microphone during recording to enhance clarity. However, if you have to use your phone to record the audio for the transcription, use MeetGeek’s mobile app instead. This allows your live conversations or in-person meetings to be automatically recorded and transcribed on the spot, directly within the app.

3. Initiate the Transcription Process

Upload your audio files to the chosen AI transcription tool. Most platforms support various audio formats like MP3, MP4, and WAV. Follow the tool's instructions for seamless uploading. 

With MeetGeek, all you have to do is upload your file and specify transcription settings like language and desired output format. Yes, you heard that right: you can customize the transcription to fit within a pre-defined structure.

Moreover, you can select what additional tasks you need the AI assistant to complete — besides generating the transcription, for instance:

  • Generate and send subtitles to your email
  • Create discussion summaries and have them sent to your inbox
  • Clean the transcript by removing duplicate words
  • Compute meeting stats

4. Download or Export the Transcripts

After 10–15 minutes, depending on the length of the file you need to transcribe, you will be able to access the transcription

Download or export the transcript in your preferred format. Some AI tools offer options like text files or subtitles for easy sharing. Choose the format that suits your needs best.

PRO TIP: Optimize the entire process and leverage MeetGeek’s 2000+ integrations to customize workflows and automatically export your transcripts to your favorite workspaces.

From collaboration tools to task management boards to CRM software, MeetGeek’s got your back!

5. Review and Edit the Transcripts

Review the generated transcripts for accuracy. While AI strives for precision, errors can sometimes occur, especially with complex speech or technical terms. Use editing features to refine and correct mistakes.

And voilà! That’s about as easy as it gets. But if you ever need to revisit the original transcript, you can do so through MeetGeek’s library, which saves all your transcriptions in one place.

B. How to Manually Transcribe Audio to Text

In this section, we’ll go through the process of manually transcribing audio to text to ensure accuracy and efficiency throughout the process.

Here is how to manually transcribe audio to text:

  1. Choose a clear audio recording
  2. Get the technology right
  3. Start writing your audio file into text
  4. Proofread your transcription
  5. Save the transcription under the right format

1. Choose a Clear Audio Recording

Before diving into transcription, it's essential to select a clear and high-quality audio recording. If possible, use a device with high audio quality during recording to enhance audio clarity and minimize distortion.

2. Get the Technology Right 

Ensure you have the necessary tools and software for transcription. A reliable text editor like Google Docs is essential for typing out the transcription. 

Additionally, consider using audio player tools that offer playback controls, such as speed adjustment and keyboard shortcuts, to streamline the transcription process. Make sure your chosen tool can support various audio formats to simplify the entire process.

3. Start Writing Your Audio File into Text

To text transcribe audio, begin by playing the audio or video file and typing out the spoken words verbatim.

 

Break down the audio into manageable segments, pausing playback as needed to transcribe accurately. Focus on capturing all words and phrases while maintaining proper grammar and punctuation.

PRO TIP: As you transcribe audio files, use timestamps or markers to denote significant points in the audio, facilitating navigation during editing and review. Additionally, use speaker tags to distinguish between different speakers in recordings with multiple participants.

4. Proofread Your Transcriptions

Once you've completed the audio transcript, review it carefully, comparing it to the original audio recording to ensure precision in capturing spoken words and nuances.

Check for spelling errors, grammatical inconsistencies, and punctuation mistakes, making necessary corrections as you go. Pay attention to context and ensure the transcript accurately reflects the intended meaning of the spoken content.

5. Save the Transcription Under the Right Format

Save the transcription under the appropriate file format, such as .docx or .txt file, ensuring compatibility with your preferred text editing software. 

Consider adding relevant metadata, such as the date of transcription and the name of the audio file, for organizational purposes.

Additionally, maintain backups of your text files to prevent data loss and ensure accessibility for future reference. Store transcriptions in a secure location, whether locally on your device or in cloud storage, to safeguard against unforeseen circumstances.

C. Things to Consider when Choosing a Human Transcription Service

Human transcription services involve the process of having spoken audio content transcribed into written text manually by trained professionals (known as transcriptionists). 

The companies that provide these services usually operate online, which can make the selection process challenging. This is because your decision can greatly affect the accuracy, efficiency, and overall quality of the transcriptions. 

Here’s what to consider when evaluating human transcription services:

  • Accuracy and quality: Look for services that employ experienced and skilled transcribers who are proficient in the relevant language(s) and subject matter. Ask about quality control measures, such as proofreading and editing processes, to ensure the accuracy and reliability of the transcriptions.
  • Turnaround time: Consider the turnaround time offered by the transcription service, as it may vary depending on the length and complexity of the audio recordings. 
  • Confidentiality and security: Choose a service that demonstrates a commitment to safeguarding your information. Inquire about their privacy policies, data encryption practices, and compliance with applicable regulations like GDPR or HIPAA
  • Pricing and cost structure: Consider factors such as pricing per minute of audio, additional charges for expedited delivery or specialized services, and any hidden fees or minimum order requirements. Request a detailed quote or estimate to understand the full cost implications upfront.
  • Customer support and communication: Look for services that provide responsive and knowledgeable customer support representatives who are available to address your inquiries, concerns, or technical issues promptly. Straightforward communication channels such as phone, email, or live chat support are essential for maintaining effective collaboration throughout the transcription process.
  • Specialized services and expertise: Consider whether the transcription service offers specialized services or expertise tailored to your specific industry or requirements. For example, if you work in a niche field such as legal, medical, or academic, you may require transcribers with specialized knowledge and terminology proficiency.
  • Reviews and reputation: Research the reputation of the online audio transcription service by studying testimonials, reviews, and case studies from previous customers. Look for feedback on factors such as accuracy, reliability, professionalism, and customer service to gauge the service's performance and reputation. 

Every Way You Can Transcribe Audio to Text: Comparison Table

Criteria AI Automatic Transcription Software Manual Transcription Services Human Transcription
Accuracy High accuracy with some errors, especially in poor quality audio Moderate to high accuracy, depending on the transcriber's skills and attention to detail Highest accuracy with skilled transcribers ensuring precision
Language Support Supports multiple languages but may vary in accuracy for less common languages Depends on the transcriber's language knowledge Supports multiple languages with skilled transcribers proficient in the chosen language(s)
Price Low cost per minute of audio compared to manual and human transcription services Moderate cost per minute of audio, with pricing often based on the complexity and length of the audio High cost per minute of audio due to the expertise and labor involved
Compliance Compliance with industry regulations varies based on the tool May comply with industry regulations with proper handling of sensitive information Can comply with industry regulations such as HIPAA with stringent privacy measures and trained transcribers
Speaker Identification Great ability to identify and distinguish speakers accurately, especially in recordings with multiple participants Depends on the transcriber's skills and may include speaker identification if specified Skilled transcribers can accurately identify speakers and distinguish between them in recordings
Video/Audio Recording May offer integration with video/audio conferencing platforms for seamless transcription Relies on separate audio recordings for transcription Relies on separate audio recordings for transcription
Editing Full editing capabilities, with added functionality for correcting errors Allows for editing and revising transcripts as needed Provides comprehensive editing options, including thorough proofreading and revision processes
Additional Features Integration with other software platforms for workflow management Customization options for formatting preferences and timestamps Some services are tailored to industry-specific terminology

Top 10 Use Cases of Audio-to-Text Transcription

The ability to transcribe speech has an extensive range of applications across numerous industries, demonstrating its value and practicality in enhancing productivity, efficiency, and accessibility.

Here are the top 10 use cases for audio-to-text transcription:

  • Time efficiency in data analysis and review: Researchers, analysts, and professionals can easily search, analyze, and extract insights from transcribed text, accelerating decision-making and workflow efficiency.
  • Enhanced learning and training: Audio-to-text transcription facilitates learning and training initiatives by providing accessible and searchable transcripts of educational content, lectures, webinars, and training sessions. Learners can review and revisit key concepts, enhancing comprehension and retention.
  • Content repurposing and strategy: Transcribing audio content enables organizations to repurpose already-existing content and leverage valuable insights for marketing strategizing. Use transcripts as a foundation for blog posts, articles, social media content, and multimedia presentations, maximizing content reach and engagement.
  • SEO optimization for digital content: Transcribing audio content improves search engine optimization (SEO) by providing searchable text for indexing and ranking purposes. The keywords, phrases, and relevant content extracted from transcripts enhance digital content visibility and discoverability, driving organic traffic to websites and platforms.
  • Efficient collaboration and project management: Transcripts ensure important information is captured, reducing miscommunication and ambiguity, while also saving time and improving productivity. With a tool like MeetGeek, you can automatically incorporate your transcripts into your CRM software, task boards, and team collaboration tools, which simplify collaboration even further.
  • Legal and medical documentation compliance: Transcripts serve as legal and medical records, providing evidence, documentation, and references for regulatory compliance and audits. If you go the automated route, ensure your audio-to-text converter complies with SOC and HIPAA to ensure data safety. 
  • Accessibility for hearing impaired: Transcripts enable equal access to information, communication, and educational resources, promoting inclusivity and diversity in digital content.
  • Language translation and global reach: Transcription facilitates language translation and localization efforts, enabling organizations to reach diverse audiences worldwide. 
  • Improved documentation and record-keeping: Transcription ensures accurate and comprehensive documentation of important conversations, meetings, interviews, and presentations. By converting audio recordings into written text, organizations can maintain detailed records for future reference, compliance, and legal purposes. 
  • Improved focus and engagement during meetings: Transcribing meetings allows participants to focus on active participation without the distraction of taking detailed notes, leading to more productive and meaningful interactions.

MeetGeek can help take your meetings to the next level by automatically recording, transcribing, summarizing, and analyzing them. Moreover, the tool’s AI algorithms extract key points and action items, keeping your team accountable and productive!

Whether you use Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, or alternate between the three, MeetGeek has your back!

Experience the Ease of Transcribing Audio Files to Text with MeetGeek! 

From the efficiency of AI automation to the precision of human expertise, the transcription landscape offers a multitude of options to suit various requirements. 

Whether you're seeking rapid transcription for large volumes of audio, meticulous accuracy for critical content, or specialized services tailored to your industry, there's a transcription method to meet your needs.

For those looking for a seamless and efficient transcription experience, try MeetGeek, our cutting-edge AI transcription platform that offers the convenience of accurate and timely transcription services tailored to your specific requirements. 

Try MeetGeek for free and unlock the power of transcription with ease!

Article updated on 
March 2, 2024
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