The best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators

The best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators

Do you have a podcast or regularly create video content? If you’re looking for a tool to help you to generate transcripts from your audio or video files, here’s a list of the best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators that I’ve come across over time. With so many companies on the market, this isn’t an exhaustive list, but the tools I’ve included in this post are either ones that I’ve used myself or that my podcasting clients have personally tried, tested, and recommended.

Otter

Quality, ease of use, and accuracy

I’ve personally been using Otter.ai for the best part of a year now, and it’s without a doubt my go-to transcription app of choice. A couple of my podcasting clients use Otter and share transcriptions with me from within the app.

So when they’ve recorded an episode, they upload it onto Otter, and I get an email notifying me that the transcript has been shared with me. I normally work from the transcription to create detailed show notes or blog posts. But when I come across any gaps or misspelt words in the trancript, I can also listen to the recording to work out what was said.

The accuracy isn’t 100%. But no machine-powered tool using speech recognition software will ever give you perfect transcriptions. Strong, regional accents can be trickier to transcribe automatically. So if you’re using Otter for transcriptions, do take into account you’ll have to do some editing work on your transcripts before you can publish them. (But then again, I don’t recommend you publish your transcription on your website at all!).

Dictation and speech-to-text

I also use Otter to dictate notes for my own blog posts. If I plan my topic and the structure of my blog post in advance, an 8-minute recording directly into Otter will easily give me a transcription of approximately 1,000 words. And that makes content writing much quicker during those weeks when client work has to take priority.

And last but not least, I’ve used Otter to generate transcriptions of live podcast episodes for clients. You simply open the Otter app, play the podcast episode from your favourite podcasting app (and you can play it at accelerated speed too), and the transcription shows up on Otter right in front of your eyes! Otter then takes a couple of minutes to process the file before you can select to email it to yourself (or share it into a Dropbox or Google Drive folder) as a text attachment.

Core features, plans, and pricing

At the time of writing (February 2020), Otter offers 3 plans:
  • Basic – free.
  • Premium – $99.96 per year.
  • Teams – $150 per year.

Here are some of the features that are available on all plans (including the Basic one) and that I consider the most useful for podcasters or video creators:

  • Record and playback (0.5x, 1x, 2x).
  • Transcribe in real-time – perfect for dictating notes or content, either for yourself or to share with someone in your team.
  • Identify speakers, which is great if you need time stamps.
  • Share and collaborate with groups – great if you work with a team or outsource some tasks.
  • Import audio and video.
  • Export audio and text (TXT).

The tool offers a lot more functionality though, especially on the Premium and Teams plan. So head over to the Otther.ai website to find out more.

The best thing about Otter for me is that you get 600 minutes of free transcription a month on their Basic plan, which is absolutely free! That’s 10 hours worth of transcriptions per month. So even if you host a weekly show, you can get all your transcripts for free and have them turned either into detailed show notes or standalone blog posts, by working with someone like me!

Otter is best for…

  • Free and fairly accurate transcriptions.
  • Ease of use.
  • Regular use (2 to 4 episodes per month).
  • Speech-to-text (perfect for recording your own content into your phone).
  • File sharing and collaboration.

The best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators

Descript

One of my clients has recently started using Descript.com and shared some great feedback about the tool, so I decided to find out a bit more.

Having used their transcripts while creating detailed show notes for my client, I can say the quality is similar to Otter. The software using speech recognition technology, and the accuracy is high but, again, not 100%.

What makes Descript a great option for podcasters and video creators though is that it’s also an editing tool. So if you’ve been struggling with podcast editing, and it’s something you’re not ready to outsource it, Descript makes it incredibly easy for you.

You simply upload an audio or video file onto the platform, allow 2-3 minutes processing time, and you get a transcript back. You can then edit your file directly from the transcript. So if you identify lots of repetitions, filler words, or want to remove a whole sentence or section, you simply cut it out from your transcript, and it disappears from your recording. I’ve seen it in action on YouTube, and it looks fantastic!

So, in a nutshell, on top of creating transcriptions for you, Descript allows you to:

  • Remove filler words from your audio or video files.
  • Add music or sound effects to your audio or video files.
  • Transcribe video files and export them as text, captions, or subtitles.
  • Isolate the audio from a video so you can share it as a podcast (it’s all about the re-purposing power!).

Added features

Transcriptions are created by voice recognition software, but you can also hire a human transcriptionist for better accuracy via the tool at $1.25 per minute (average turnaround is 24 hours).

Descript are also taking things to the next level as they’re currently trialing a product called Overdub (still in beta version). It’s powered by Lyrebird AI and allows you to effectively add your voice to an audio file just by typing the words in.

So say you wanted to take a whole sentence or section out of your podcast episode and replace it with something else, once Overdub is ready and available, you’ll be able to take the transcript, delete the text you no longer want, replace it with the new text, and the AI will ‘speak those words’ for you by synthesising your voice!

Yes, you read that right! This has got to be the future of podcasting and audiobook recording, right? All you’ll have to do is write up your script, and once the AI ‘knows your voice’, it’ll create the audio for you. The future is here – isn’t that fascinating?

Core features, plans, and pricing

At the time of writing, Descript have three available plans:

  • Free – with up to 3 hours of speech included. This means you can record audio directly in Descript (much as you do in Otter) and edit the audio via text. If you want to be download your transcriptions you need to sign up for the Producer plan though.
  • Producer – gives you get access to the full audio and video editing features (including transcriptions) for $120 per year (or $14 per month if you pay monthly, on a rolling contract). 
  • Team – allows you to add multiple users with centralised billing for $180 per year (or $15 per month if you pay monthly, on a rolling contract). 

Unless you have a huge team, the Producer seems to fit most podcasters or video creators, so for $10-$14 per month (which works out to be £8-£11 per month), it sounds like a great option that gives you access to a lot more functionality, especially if it means you’re cutting down on your editing time or costs.

Descript is best for…

  • Audio and video editing.
  • Regular use (2 to 4 episodes per month).
  • Fairly accurate transcriptions.
  • Speech-to-text (perfect for recording your own content into your phone).

The best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators

Temi

Recommended by one of my clients, Temi.com creates speech-to-text transcriptions, which can be emailed straight to your inbox, using advanced speech recognition software. It’s quick to use, cheap, and the transcriptions are reasonably accurate. I used Temi a few times myself, and the turnaround really is that quick – approximately 5 minutes from file upload to transcription. So if you’re in a rush, this is probably the best option for you.

Like most of the other tools, because Temi uses voice recognition software, if your audio or video files are full of specific terms or acronyms, you may have difficulties with the transcripts. Temi commits to 90-95% accuracy as long as the audio file has little background noise, the speakers talk clearly and have ‘minimal accents’. Now, that’s a bit arbitrary, but having worked from their transcripts in the past, I know they’re usable. It’s when you have a lot of background noise, crosstalk during interviews, and strong accents that you might start having problems with Temi.

Temi is purely a transcription service, so unlike some of the other tools in this list, which have several other uses, getting transcripts is all you can really do with Temi.

Plans and pricing

Temi offer a free trial that gives you an audio file (of 45 minutes or less) transcribed for free. After that, they only charge $0.10 per audio minute, which is incredibly cheap. They have no plans or subscriptions – you literally pay for the number of minutes you get transcribed. So if you were to transcribe a 30-minute podcast episode with Temi, you’d be paying as little as $3 (or £2.35!).

Temi is best for…

  • Price (it’s dead cheap!).
  • Quick turnaround.
  • Occasional users (no need to subscribe to a plan).
  • Podcasters and video creators with good-quality audio and a ‘clean’ accent.

hire me to write detailed show notes or blog posts from your transcripts

Rev

Rev.com is probably one of the first transcription tools I came and the one that the majority of podcasters and content creators use.

Here’s what you can do with Rev:

  • Convert audio and video into text (i.e. transcriptions).
  • Caption your videos.
  • Add foreign subtitles to your videos.

When compared to the other transcription tools in this list, Rev beats all the others for accuracy. But there’s a valid reason for that, and it’s that the app is human-powered! In other words, your transcription is not created by a machine but by an actual person. So if your files contain a lot of acronyms, jargon, brand names, or if you have a strong regional accent, Rev is probably your best bet if you want a ‘clean’ transcript back. I’ve used their transcripts before, and they’re near perfect.

The service is also easy to use and fast – although they promise a 12-hour turnaround, they are known to transcribe small files in less than 20 minutes. And that’s absolutely incredible when you consider it’s a human being doing the work and not a machine!

Core features, plans, and pricing

Much like Temi, Rev is a pay-as-you-go service. You don’t have to subscribe to a plan – you pay by the minute and for the type of service you need.

Rev offer:

  • Transcription by human professionals at $1 per minute with 99% accuracy guaranteed.
  • Rough draft transcripts generated by a machine at $0.10 per minute with 80% accuracy guaranteed (I’ve not tried this service).
  • English captions at $1 per minute to caption and subtitle your videos.
  • Foreign subtitles at $3-7 per minute (depending on the language) with subtitles available in more than 8 languages and carried out by native speakers. This is perfect if you want to expand your audience.
  • Translation at $0.10 per word (with more than 35 languages available).

Rev is best for…

  • Accuracy and quality of the transcription.
  • Strong accents or audio files that contain a lot of acronyms, brand names, jargon, etc.
  • Difficult audio (with background noise and crosstalk during interviews).

The best transcription tools for podcasters and video creators

Other transcription tools – free and paid-for

Here are some other transcription services I’ve heard of but haven’t personally tested – and neither have my clients (to my knowledge). Some of them are free, so take a look if you’re on a low budget, if you’re just starting out with your podcast or YouTube channel and just testing the waters, or if none of the above options suit your needs.

Free transcription tools:

Other paid-for tools: 

  • Trint – similar to Temi but with more functionality.
  • Scribie – like with Rev, there’s a human behind your transcription.
  • Transcribe – can be used for transcription or dictation.
  • InqScribe – can be used for transcriptions or exporting subtitles.
  • Sonix – much like Descript, this service also allows you to edit your podcast.
  • GoTranscript – much like Rev, this is human-generated transcription service. They’re UK based, they offer a 6-hour turnaround and 99% accuracy at £0.55 per minute.
  • HappyScribe – automatic transcription software available in more than 110 languages.

Would you like some help with turning your transcripts into show notes or blog posts? 

If you’re a podcaster or a video creator, transcripts are a must if you want to provide your audience with a written version of your content. However, I don’t recommend you publish transcriptions directly on your website. Instead, you should use your transcripts to create detailed show notes or blog posts for your audience. If you want some help with that, drop me an email at hello@sarabussandri.com and let’s talk about how I can help you reach more people with your audience.

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