There are a lot of reasons why you'd want to transcribe your audio or video recording. You may need to create a written record of a meeting, transcribe a bunch of interviews, make your online content more visible to search engines, or maybe just need to make all your website content accessible.  If you've got the time to do it yourself, there are a lot of great free transcription tools. Here's our pick of the best

1. OTranscribe

OTranscribe can be used straight out of your web browser and is an easy and simple tool for transcription. It lets you control the audio player and text editor on the same web page.  No need to click around on your computer to stop and start the audio when you've missed something. OTranscribe allows you to control everything through your keyboard, from transcribing, to rewinding the audio, and placing timestamps. 

To start, all you need to do is upload an audio or video file, or enter a link to a YouTube video. The video or audio file will then sit to the left of the text box so you can do all your work in one window. 


OTranscribe also allows you to adjust the keyboard shortcuts so you can tailor it suit your transcribing style. OTranscribe has a simple interface and requires no download, what's not to like?

otranscribe settings


2. Express Scribe

Express Scribe is a professional audio player designed specifically for transcribers. It can be easily installed on a Mac or PC and gives you the ability to control everything by simply using your keyboard or by linking it up to a foot pedal. There is a free version and a paid version available. It's worth noting that the free version has foot pedal support and can play all major audio file types. 

playback express

Express Scribe also allows you to adjust the playback options for the audio file that you are transcribing to suit your typing speed. 

miniwin express


3. The FTW Transcriber

The FTW Transcriber is a downloadable transcription software that has features such as automatic timestamps and high audio quality playback. The FTW Transcriber can also be used on Android smartphones and tablets, allowing users to transcribe anywhere, not just at their desktop. It is currently available for all Windows devices and any Mac that has a Windows environment installed. 

The FTW Transcriber appears as a small orange box on your screen, which you can move around to your preferred spot. Within the box you can play, pause, adjust volume, and skip forward and back on the audio. 

ftw transcriber


4. Inqscribe

Inqscribe is available for both Windows and Mac. Just like the transcription tools listed above, Inqscribe allows the user to do all their transcription in one window. InqScribe's media player allows you to play audio and video files from your hard drive, flash drive, CD, server, or URL. 

You can insert time codes anywhere in the transcript. This is especially helpful if you want to create a closed captions file from the transcript later on. 



5. Transcribe

Transcribe gives you the option to create transcripts the traditional way by typing, or you can try out their dictation feature that converts voice to text using voice recognition software. All you have to do is connect a microphone to your computer and begin speaking. Then to transcribe an audio file, you simple need to listen to audio and repeat what you hear into the microphone. This is similar to how our respeakers work to create live captions, it's a tough job and will certainly take some practice! Transcribe gives you the option to try out different styles of transcribing to find out what suits you best. 


Something to be aware of, Transcribe only offers 1 week free, you are required to pay if you would like to continue using it. However, on their website they state that if you are concerned about cost but really want to keep using the software, you can get in touch with them directly to work something out. 

transcribe dictate

Ultimately, the transcription tool you choose is up to you. The great part is, because they're all free, you can try each one and see which suits you best. So, check out these tools and get one step closer to becoming a top transcriber!

If you're not interested in doing the hard yards, don't despair, there are other options. For a small fee you can have your audio and video files transcribed while you use your extra time more effectively. If you want the pressure of transcription work taken off your shoulders, get in touch!

Not interested in transcribing? Give captioning a try!



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