How to Transcribe Audio to Text
22 March 2020

How to Transcribe Audio to Text

Transcribing your audio to text does not have to be a tedious task. There are comprehensive transcription tools that make the transcription work easier and faster. When transcribing, you can choose between automatic and self-transcription. Automatic transcription is very fast and offers relatively high accuracy levels if the audio is clear. Some transcription sites provide this service for free, while others require you to pay. Most of the automatic transcription tools follow a general format. After signing up, you upload the audio file as directed, then select the language that your transcription is in, and submit it. You will get the completed transcript in your email, where you can go ahead and edit it to perfection.

How to Turn Your Audio Recording Into a Transcription

If you are doing it yourself, you need to understand how to transcribe audio files to text well so that you can produce perfect transcripts. You also need a lot of patience since it can be quite slow at first. Fortunately, it gets better with practice. When doing manual transcription, you listen to the audio or video files, then type what you hear in a word processing document. This tends to take more time, but there's no other way to produce an entirely accurate transcript. You can slow down the speed of the video or audio so that you type at whatever pace you're comfortable. In this article, we'll go through a step-by-step guide on how to transcribe an audio file to text for free.

Set up for Success

Although transcribing audio to text is not hard, you need the right equipment to make the process as efficient as possible. The right tools will make you do your work faster and more effortlessly. You can use paid or free software. There are plenty of options available, so pick whatever works for you. For example, GoTranscript offers a transcription tool that's quite powerful and completely free to use. Also, ensure that you can easily access your audio file as well as a word processor to avoid switching from tab to tab, which can greatly hinder your speed and productivity.

Follow Instructions and Do Research

Make sure you read and understand any instructions that your file comes with. If you are transcribing an audio for your company, associates, or a customer, follow any instructions on formatting, style, and the kind of transcript they want. If you are not sure of some terms like names of cities, people, locations, or scientific terms, Google the information to ensure you're using correct spelling.

Make a Shorthand

Some of the things like the speakers' names recur, and you will need to type them over and over. When transcribing your audio file, you need to make a quick reference to these things using a shorthand. If you are the only one using the transcript, then you will know what it means, but if other people are going to use it, make sure to replace all of them with real words once before sending your transcript out.

Listen and Write

This is probably the easiest part. Plug in your headset, listen to your audio file, and write what you hear. If you're transcribing for an agency or a client, make sure you follow all the rules they provided. Keep an eye on your grammar and avoid typing mistakes that could affect your final transcript.

Edit Your Transcript

After you're done transcribing, listen to your audio file once again and proofread your transcription to fix any mistakes you might have made along the way. Check for any text that you might have missed, like titles, names, locations, or references, and correct them. Check your grammar, too, and fix any typing errors.

Use the Correct Format to Save the File

Saving your transcription in the right format is very important. If you want to keep the transcription for yourself to edit or share later, you can save it as a .docx file. If you're going to use it to create subtitles for a video, save it as a standard .txt file to ensure compatibility with the captioning software.


If you want to learn how to convert voice memo to text or how to transcribe audio to text, you need to start with the basics. With a good recording, transcription is pretty straightforward. If it contains lots of background noise or speakers who talk over each other, things can get a bit more complicated. Still, by following the tips mentioned above, you'll be able to produce accurate transcriptions no matter what type of audio or video you're dealing with.