Tech how-to 5 easy ways to convert audio files to text

What comes to your mind when you think of the word transcription? Does it produce images of you leaning on your computer, headphones while trying to pause and start audio recording as you type?

It’s one thing to turn written notes into typed text. Tap or click here to find out how. But transcribing audio files on your own can be a huge pain, especially if you are not trained in the art of transcription.

You can always go the old school way of transcribing it yourself, which could take you hours. Or you can opt to use a transcription app to convert audio files to text. There are plenty of free or low-cost options to choose from, and most of them work in minutes. Here are five of the best to help you.

Transcription software can be quite expensive depending on the features it offers, but if you’re looking for a free or affordable way to get the job done, check out It’s a real-time, cloud-based speech to text program that transcribes your audio files for you on smartphones and computers – and it’s one of the most affordable options out there.

You can use Otter for recording interviews, lectures or meetings, or for live captioning and collaborating between teams. If your recording has more than one speaker, each person is given a different ID to make the transcription easier to understand. You can also use the app to organize and share your audio or text files.

The good thing about Otter is that you can try it out for free before buying it with the basic plan. You’ll receive 600 minutes of free service when you sign up for an account, and once you run out of minutes, you can choose between the Premium plan and the Team plan. Costs start at around $8.50 per month for the Premium plan (when paid for annually), and gives you a ton of extra features and up to 6,000 minutes of transcription.

2. Transcribe in Word

Are you a Microsoft Word user looking for a transcription service? You’re in luck because Word recently rolled out a feature called Transcribe in Word that you can use to transcribe your .mp3, .wav, .m4a or .mp4 audio recordings.

Features allow you to record your conversations directly in Word for the Web or upload audio files and then automatically transcribe them. It can identify individual speakers within a recording and even timestamp your transcription so you can easily replay the parts of the audio file you need to edit.

There are many other cool tools that you can use with the transcription feature as well. Want to highlight a quote from a transcript and add it to a Word document? All you have to do is click on the plus icon on the line you want and it is inserted into your document. Or, if you want to send the full transcription of the audio file to someone else, all you have to do is click “Add all to document”.

This feature is available to all Microsoft 365 customers and is supported in the newer Microsoft Edge or Chrome browsers. Microsoft 365 Personal plans start at $6.99 per month, and you’ll get up to five hours of transcription services per month with your subscription.

3. Dragon Anywhere
If you’re looking for an excellent speech-to-text alternative that works with your smartphone, Dragon Anywhere is an app that delivers top-notch dictation capabilities straight from your phone. This app offers continuous dictation, has no word limit and claims to be 99% accurate.

Unlike some of the other options on this list, Dragon Anywhere shines because it can learn how you speak, making each transcription more accurate than the last. You can use it to transcribe interviews, spoken notes, and other audio files, and you can quickly format and edit your transcriptions. You can share them with anyone or on any device via Dropbox or any other cloud service.

This transcription app is built on accuracy, so if that’s your top priority, Dragon Anywhere is one of the best options. You can try it out for free for a week, but after that free trial ends you’ll need to purchase a subscription to use Dragon Anywhere. Membership starts at $14.99 per month.

4. Amazon Transcribe
If most of your audio files are recorded in loud public places, check out Amazon Transcribe. This cloud-based automatic speech recognition platform was created to convert audio files to text, and it works well with low-quality or noisy audio files.

While Amazon Transcript is primarily geared towards businesses, you can still use it for your personal transcription needs.

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