How to Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE on a Windows PC

Technology is not a light word. It can get overwhelming at times, especially if you are just exploring this realm (Hello!) Technology has taken us to the moon, vicariously at a friend’s wedding, getting loads of information by just moving a few fingers – you know the drill. It’s helpful, which has kind of made us lazy in a way but hey, who’s complaining? Procrastinating on the internet is the favorite hobby of us millennials and some by chance explore a lot of decent features the world wide web has to offer. It depends if those work for you personally or at work.

Since the world has embraced touch screen phones (Thank you, IBM Simon!) we have segued into a time where people use their smartphones for getting their work done or taking care of their personal agendas. Getting a personal computer just for typing a few word documents or for filling the excel sheets is a thing of the past. Today’s mantra is multi-tasking. Getting more done or juggling a few tasks in a short manner of time, which isn’t really productive but eh, works for some. So we have found new ways to do the daily grind.

Audiobooks have replaced hard copies of books, Netflix is the new cable TV, etc. And soon, typing will be replaced by transcribing. Yes, dictating a machine to do our dirty work. It is active in some form, such as the Google Voice Typing in our phone keyboards. Well, people have shifted to transcribing audio than actually writing/typing long grueling sentences. The process is simple – select a tool to dictate your voice and the tool recognizes your voice which then transcribes what you say. Mostly, journalists and critics use this option actively which saves a lot of their time considering the field they work in.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

The technology is as simple as using the voice typing on our phones. Doing so on our smartphones isn’t always feasible while working in a professional setting. But there are ways through which you can execute this seemingly easy-peasy task. This article will touch some of the easy ways of transcribing your audio to text for free. Some are plain surprising while some are third-party applications. Dive right in!

How to Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

To transcribe articles, your personal computer needs to have the audio driver which gives you access to use the microphone, and of course a microphone (internal or external).

Method 1 – Google Docs

Goog Docs is Google’s cloud-based retaliation to Microsoft Word. While you’ll have to pay for MS Word, Google Docs is completely free. It has a built-in software tool called Voice Typing which is quite handy and has tonnes of features that does a better job in most scenarios compared to MS Word. The accuracy is baffling! It could perfectly differentiate between ‘their’ and ‘they’re’ and it also corrected the words that it had misheard at first. Let’s guide you on how to use the built-in Voice Typing in Google Docs:

Step 1: You need to settle in a quiet environment as too much noise will affect the voice typing and it won’t be faultless. Also, make sure your laptop is fully charged and you have a proper microphone to dictate words. You’ll also need to listen to them after the transcribing is done.

Step 2: Go to Google Docs. There are a lot of templates to choose from but for now, click on the Blank option.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

Step 3: Click on Tools and select Voice typing. You can also use a simple shortcut to summon the command – Control + Shift + S on Windows and Command+Shift+S on Mac.

Step 4: A huge microphone icon will appear on the left side of the document. Click on it to commence voice typing.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

Step 5: Once you click on the button, Chrome might ask your permission to use the microphone. Also, you will have to choose the language you’d like to use for transcribing if Voice Typing doesn’t automatically load your native language. You can select from more than 100 languages with detailed dialects for every language.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

Step 6: After you are done with granting permission and selecting the language, the white microphone icon will turn into red, which means you can start speaking.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

Google Doc’s Voice typing processes everything you are speaking in real-time.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

Once you have finished transcribing, tap on the microphone icon to stop it from listening to your voice.

TIP: Sometimes, Voice typing won’t understand punctuations. So use some phrases like Period, Comma, Exclamation mark, New line, etc. to make your work easier. (As of now, it only works in English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, and Russian.) Also, if you are an observer, you might notice that whenever you use this functionality, you will clearly see a red circle on the Google Doc window’s tab

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

You can even use commands in Voice typing. For instance, while saying something you mess up, you can just say Delete or Backspace to clear the word before the cursor. Following are some cool commands:

  • Selecting text: Select [word, phrase, all, next line, next paragraph, next word, last word]
  • Edit your document: Copy, cut, paste, delete [word or phrase]
  • Change font size: Decrease font size, increase the font size, font size [6-400], make bigger, make smaller

Note: Voice commands can only be used if you are using the English language.

By clicking on the question mark next to the microphone icon, you get access to a full list of commands that can be used while transcribing in Voice Typing.

Method 2 – oTranscribe

oTranscibe is a third-party open-source application that runs on your browser effortlessly. And yes, it is free and one of the best application to transcribe audio to text for free. But the program doesn’t transcribe in real-time like Google Docs.

Step 1: First and foremost, you will have to record the audio you want to convert. You can also post a YouTube video link.

Step 2: Go to oTranscribe on your browser and select Start transcribing.

Transcribe Audio to Text for FREE

Step 3: Now select either Choose audio (or video) file option or YouTube video.

Step 4: Upload the audio file or the YouTube URL.

Step 5: The file will be displayed on the left side of the website. You can use Bold and Italics to differentiate some important points.

Step 6: Now start typing. You can also control the playback speed which is situated right at the top of your document.

Step 7: Once you are done with transcribing, you can download it as a plain text, a  markdown file, or in the oTranscribe format ‘.OTR.You can even import the file back onto the website or export it to Google Keep and Google Drive for backup purposes.

oTranscribe has some interactional shortcuts, like Control + J which gives a handy timestamp of the audio or the video file. It is hyperlinked and pressing on a timestamp will take you to the specific time in the file.

CONCLUSION

This is how you can transcribe audio to text for free. Mobile options are limited as of now so we suggest you stick to your personal computer. Whether you prefer dictation over typing or typing long sentences is time-consuming, transcribing gets the job done.

There are a plethora of applications that do a much better job but you’ll have to spend some of your cash in order to obtain its great salient features. If you want us to cover those applications, do leave your comments below so that we can scavenge the internet and list down some of the best apps that would be bang for your bucks.

Do you use transcribing to transcribe audio to text for free? How well is it working for you? Did we miss an amazing free application that you know would help our readers? Comment below and share your views.


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