Constantly having to pause and rewind as you try to manually transcribe large audio or video files isn’t most people’s idea of fun. In fact, it’s time-consuming and tedious. That’s why there’s transcription software to do the job quickly and effectively for you.
With AI-assisted transcription software, extensive integrations, and mobile apps now available, there’s plenty of feature-rich options to choose between.
To help you get what you need from your transcriptions, we’ve made a list of the best transcription software available today.
What makes a great transcription software?
Turnaround time. Most software can transcribe your audio or video files in just a few minutes. The quickest software will transcribe your files within 10%-20% of the recording time. But, the key is to have a good balance between speed and accuracy.
Accuracy. Automated transcription software usually have accuracy levels around the 80% mark. But the software’s ability to decipher speech correctly will depend on how clear the speech is, whether there’s background noise, heavy accents, or multiple speakers. Top-tier transcription software should be able to handle these additional challenges and give you an accurate transcription.
Mobile apps. If you’re looking to record meetings or interviews on the go, a mobile app is a useful additional feature. Check to see if there are apps for Androids and iPhones or that the software is easy to use from the mobile browser.
Use cases. Some transcription software is built with recording Zoom meetings in mind while other software is best for generating video captions or transcribing podcasts. Always consider your specific use case and if it matches up with the software’s feature list.
6 best transcription software options you should check out
Here are some of the best transcription software with the above features and some extra bonuses.
1. Otter.ai [AI-powered transcription assistant]
Since its inception in 2016, Otter.ai has transcribed over 150 million meetings, representing over 5 billion minutes of audio.
Geared towards busy people looking to save time, Otter can record conversations on your phone or web browser, as well as give you real-time streaming transcripts.
Aside from basic transcriptions, it gives you searchable notes with audio, text, images, speaker ID, and key phrases.
You can also train Otter to recognize certain voices for fast referencing in future transcriptions.
Tired of spending your whole day in back-to-back Zoom meetings? Send Otter Assistant to attend and take detailed notes while you get on with more pressing tasks.
The AI assistant scans Google and Outlook calendars for Zoom sessions, automatically signs in, and generates a live transcription that you can view and annotate either in real-time or after the meeting.
The main limitation is Otter only provides a monthly transcription quota of 6,000 minutes per user, even on their top-tier Enterprise plan. There’s no rollover either––if you don’t use all your minutes one month you can’t use them in the next month.
Pricing: Otter includes 600 minutes of free transcription per month. The Pro plan is $8.33/user/month billed annually, provides 6,000 minutes, and a maximum file duration of four hours. The Business plan is $20/user/month billed annually, and also includes a custom vocabulary of up to 2,000 words.
Best suited for: Solopreneurs and startup founders looking to save time by transcribing meetings.
2. Grain [Helps capture meeting highlights]
Ever had a case of meeting amnesia? It’s easy to log out of a meeting and forget the key conversations and takeaways. Transcription software Grain is designed to help users capture and share knowledge from Zoom calls, so it’s easy to recall key information later.
Using Grain, anyone can record the most important moments in real-time even when they’re not the host.
The platform enables you to compress a 60-minute meeting into a three-minute video summary that you can share among other team members. Alternatively, you could combine clips from multiple video recordings to create in-depth video narratives or explainers––handy for team training, product demos, or strategy sessions.
Grain has an impressive list of Zapier integrations to ensure your video clips are used and distributed ultra-productively. You can create thousands of custom workflows to automatically put recordings, clips, and stories from Grain onto platforms like Slack, Notion, and Miro.
Grain is meant for video meeting recordings and transcriptions, which means it’s not for other transcription tasks.
Pricing: Users can do up to five free recordings each month. The Unlimited plan is $36/user/month billed annually and includes unlimited recordings and storage.
Best suited for: Zoom users who want to record and transcribe meetings without having to host.
3. Descript [Easy-to-use browser-based transcription software]
Descript is an excellent choice if you want an easy-to-use transcription software that quickly and effectively converts your audio files into text. Simply drag and drop your audio file into Descript’s editor and the software transcribes it within minutes.
Need to collaborate with other team members? Share the transcribed project with a web link and enable collaborators to comment or edit with a Google Docs-style system.
Another cool feature is you can easily add in Speaker labels with their AI-powered speaker detective. You can also edit out filler words and silent pauses with a single click.
If you have a job that requires a human touch, Descript also has human transcriptionists on stand-by.
The main downside is that there’s no live customer support. If you need some extra help you’ll have to rely on their product articles or submit a request.
Pricing: New users can get three free hours of transcription. Billed annually, a Creator plan is $12/user/month and includes 10 hours of transcription each month. A Pro plan is $24/user/month billed annually, and includes 30 hours of transcription each month.
Best suited for: Users looking for a collaborative audio editor and transcription software.
4. Sonix [Transcription software with audio editor]
Designed to record meetings and presentations, Sonix aims to make transcribing and editing audio files fast, simple, and affordable.
If you already have an existing transcription, you can include it along with the audio or video file upload so the software more quickly completes the process and improves accuracy.
Typically fast at processing files, Sonix usually takes between 10% and 20% of the time to transcribe as the recording lasts.
You don’t need to wait for the processing either––Sonix sends you an email when the work is done, along with a link to the new transcription.
A helpful feature is that each line of text comes with timestamps, making it easy for you to reference points within the audio and check for accuracy.
If you’re looking to publish audio and video content to your website, use the SEO-friendly media player to include searchable text alongside your audio content to improve your rankings.
With a global vocabulary, Sonix can recognize 40+ languages and distinguish between different dialects and variants.
The main limitation is that currently, there isn’t a mobile app to help with transcriptions on the go.
Pricing: Standard pay-as-you-go transcriptions are $10/hour. A Premium plan is $5/hour plus $22/user/month.
Best suited for: Occasional users looking for a budget-friendly transcription service.
5. Happy Scribe [Complete audio and video transcription software and editor]
Transcribing your videos, podcasts, and interviews is a great way to repurpose your content, optimize it for search (Google doesn’t rank based on audio), and make it more accessible. Happy Scribe makes it easy for you to upload an audio or video file within the dashboard before it quickly takes care of the rest.
Use the Interactive Editor to review and edit your subtitles before you download or publish your content. The Natural Subtitle Engine generates subtitles that are accurate and easy to read, so even if viewers have their sound off, they can engage with your video content.
There’s support for over 120 languages so whether your content is recorded in Dutch, Latvian, or Mandarin, Happy Scribe will give you an accurate transcript.
Once the transcription is done, you can download it in a variety of formats including as a PDF, Word doc, or to upload on your site or share with the team.
Right now, Happy Scribe’s integrations are limited––there’s no integration to popular platforms like Zoom.
Pricing: Automatic transcriptions and subtitles are €0.20/minute while more accurate human-led services are €1.70/minute.
Best suited for: Creators and marketers who want to improve accessibility and SEO visibility on their online video content.
6. Rev [Complete AI and human powered transcription software]
Powered by people and AI, Rev combines the best of human talent with exciting speech-to-text AI. Dividing its services and pricing by the type of transcription, Rev offers automated speech-to-text transcription, rough draft, foreign subtitles, English captions for videos, and live captions for Zoom.
The transcript editor easily syncs audio/video files to the text, while a highlight tool enables you to identify the most important speech and quotes.
There’s also a Transcription App and Voice Recorder available for iPhone and Android for projects on the go.
Share an editable version with your teammates or share a read-only version so users can keep track of your changes. Integrations with Google Drive and Dropbox make it great for team collaboration and seamless movement between different work projects.
The downside is the web interface is a little dated-looking and could do with some updating to make it more user-friendly.
Pricing: Automated transcriptions start at $0.25/minute.
Best suited for: Users requiring transcripts for one-off projects who don’t need a subscription.
Which is the best transcription software overall?
Transcription software can be a lifesaver when you need to go through that meeting recording, upload a captioned video or repurpose a podcast. Each software option has a different set of strengths and features suited to different use cases.
Before you choose your transcription software, make sure to consider its unique features and integrations and whether they’re right for your projects.
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