Transcribe Interview Audio To Text

Writers, researchers, lawyers, and others know that conducting interviews is often essential to getting the full story. Yet a raw interview is of little use. Scanning through it takes a lot of time and effort. You can’t quickly move back and forth between sections to analyze possible connections between them.

Convert hours of audio and video to text in minutes, not days. Generates a time-stamped transcript for a fraction of the cost of traditional services. Search your audio files to locate quotes and keywords in seconds. The process of transcribing an audio record into text usually takes a lot of time, if you do it yourself. On average, an hour-long audio file requires three hours of manual transcription. Get results fast. Audext automated standard is 0.13:1 ratio. It will take 7 minutes of the transcription process to transcribe an hour of audio. Transcribe – Speech to Text. This app has intelligent audio to text transcription technology.

Transcribe your recordings The transcribe feature converts speech to a text transcript with each speaker individually separated. After your conversation, interview, or meeting, you can revisit parts of the recording by playing back the timestamped audio and edit the transcription to make corrections. Transcribing audio to text is a time-wasting, boring part of most journalists' job, yet it is the best way to convert your recorded audio into highly accurate, readable text. By using your voice instead of your fingers to communicate important action items, interviews, and ideas, then transcribe audio to text, you'll save every single detail.

This makes it difficult to pull out the most important elements. You won’t be able to tell whether you need to perform more interviews to collect further data. To make the most of an interview, you need to create a written version, known as transcription. Here’s how to transcribe an audio interview.

How to Use Transcription Services for Interview Transcripts

Transcribing an interview is a labor-intensive and time-consuming task, especially if you’re not used to doing it. If you’re like many people, the hours you spend creating an audio transcription could be better spent on other tasks that are more directly related to your field.

Interview transcription services, like those offered by Rev, take the task off your plate. Just submit the audio file or URL, and we’ll go to work. Rates start at just $1.25 per minute of audio and we guarantee 99% accuracy on human transcription services.

If you want a more affordable option, Rev also offers machine-generated interview transcriptions for only $0.25 per audio or video minute.

For interviews that are 30 minutes or less in length, Rev can provide standard delivery in 12 hours or less. We also include access to a variety of editing tools. These let you review and annotate your completed transcript as needed, right alongside the audio file.

How to Transcribe Interviews Yourself

There are two ways to transcribe an interview. You can do it yourself, playing back the audio and typing the transcript as you go. This typically takes about four hours for every hour of audio. The easier option is to hire a transcription service and receive a professional transcript in just 12 hours for as little as $1.25 per minute of audio.

Here are the steps to take if you plan to transcribe an interview yourself.

1. Block Out Time

The amount of time it takes to manually transcribe audio to text depends on many factors. If all goes well, the average person can transcribe one hour of audio in about four hours. If the audio recordings are muffled or there is background noise, it could take even longer. Other factors that affect how long it takes to include a hard to understand speaker or a lack of familiarity with any jargon or slang that is used.

2. Choose a Transcription Style

There are two basic styles of audio interview transcription:

Verbatim Transcription

Transcribe Interview Audio To Text

Verbatim transcription means that you write exactly what you hear. Every filler, interjection, stutter, and so forth is transcribed. For example, the speaker might say, “I, um, went to the store and, like, bought some m-m-milk,” followed by a laugh.

You would transcribe the sentence exactly as said and include the laugh in brackets at the end. Note that verbatim transcription is typically the most difficult, as it requires strong focus and extraordinary attention to detail.

Transcribe interview audio to text

Non-Verbatim Transcription

Also known as a smooth transcription or an intelligent transcription, a non-verbatim transcription removes fillers, vocal tics, and the like. Using the above example, you would type “I went to the store and bought some milk.” You can choose the level of editing you want.

For example, maybe you find emotional expressions like laughing or crying relevant, so you decide to include them, but you cut out verbal tics. Whatever transcription “rules” you decide to follow, make sure you apply them consistently throughout the entire document.

3. Cue the Audio File

Whether you used traditional tapes or a digital recording device, you will need to frequently start, stop, and rewind the audio. Choose a playback method that provides easy to use controls, then cue the audio to the beginning of the interview.


4. Start Transcribing

Begin playing back the audio file and type as you listen. Be prepared to pause frequently so you can catch up. You will probably need to rewind and listen again to numerous areas. This lets you be sure that you created an accurate transcription of what was said. Pay attention to the editing rules you decided to follow. Make sure that your transcript is consistent as you go along.

Choose a label for each speaker, so that the transcript always shows clearly who is speaking. In general, it’s best to write out each person’s full name the first time he or she speaks. Then use the person’s first name, initials, or a title such as “Interviewer” in subsequent references. Type the name or title followed by a colon (Margaret:), and then what the person says.

There may be sections of the audio that are unintelligible. If you rewind a few times and simply cannot determine what was said, insert the word “unintelligible” in brackets and keep going. If you are pretty sure you know what was said, but can’t be certain, make your best guess. Place brackets around the words that you aren’t positive about.

5. Edit the Transcript

Different fields have different editing conventions. For example, medical transcripts are generally edited differently from oral histories. Regardless of what field you are in, though, editing is the time for you to make sure that the transcript is crystal clear.

Be sure to clarify any confusing elements. Check your punctuation, spelling, and grammar. Write out all the words that you previously abbreviated. If there were any breaks in the interview, go back and notate them inside brackets at the relevant points.

6. Review the Transcript

When your transcript is finished, including edits, playback the entire interview from the beginning. Read along from the transcript, looking for any errors. If you find something that needs to be corrected, pause the recording and make the correction. Your transcript is not finished until you can follow along error-free.

Regardless of whether you work in journalism, public relations or marketing, at some point you will find yourself tasked with the daunting job of transcribing an interview. It’s not that writing out an interview transcript is hard, but it is incredibly time consuming even for short interviews. There are online services out there that charge a reasonable rate per minute for audio or video transcription, but that as well takes time. Same thing with interns. You have the interview audio or video in hand and you want to jump to the next phase of the project to start scripting or editing your project or story. We’ll look at how to transcribe an interview with free audio transcription software so you can get to that step quickly.

Voice Record Pro: Free Audio Transcription App

Believe it or not, there’s an app for that. In fact, there are a lot of them. Some apps include audio transcription as an add on or additional paid service. One app that includes free audio transcription and is also tailored more for use by media professionals or mobile journalists is Voice Record Pro. There’s a paid version of the app as well which adds additional recording quality formats and an ad-free experience. At the core, Voice Record Pro works just like any other fully featured audio recording app on your iPhone with optional level meters, file formats, control over playback speed and a full suite of options to export your audio. Hidden down in the list of options, though, is an incredible and very simple tool to transcribe audio to text.

How to Transcribe an Interview with Voice Record Pro

To get started, simply open the Voice Record Pro app (IOS and Android) and hit record. If you’re only interested in recording an interview or conversation for notes, that’s all you’ll need. If this is a podcast or radio production project, you may want to connect a more professional microphone to your iPhone or Android smartphone. If the project is video based, you can simultaneously record the interview on your smartphone, playback the interview afterward to record on your phone in real time or Voice Record Pro offers an array of import options.

Next, go to the list of all your recordings and select the file you would like to transcribe. Along with the option to playback the audio, you’ll see options to send the audio file by email, sms or even via FTP upload. You can also upload the file to various cloud storage services or get right to editing the audio within the app. About halfway down the list you will find the option for Transcription.

From here you can select the appropriate language and then hit the Start Transcription button. Voice Record Pro leverages the voice recognition technology built into your phone and you can watch the transcription unfold in real time. Like all AI based transcription and voice recognition tools, it may sometimes struggle with names or other uncommon words, but the results are honestly pretty spectacular. Of course, if you recorded the audio in a noisy room or multiple people are speaking at once, your results will vary, but for most interview type scenarios, Voice Record Pro’s audio transcription software will save you hours of work and require only minor editing.

After the audio to text transcription for your interview is complete, you can copy/paste into another app or email yourself the transcription. To save the transcription within the app, you press Append to Notes. That saves the transcription along with the audio so you can come back to review it later.

Expanding Your Options with Voice Record Pro

Having free, quality transcription software available at your fingertips would have been a dream for reporters and producers just a decade ago, but since the software is smartphone based, you have a couple advanced options to expand your use depending on your specific application. First, if audio quality is important, you have the option to connect any professional microphone to your iPhone or other smartphone. If you want to keep it simple, Shure makes some great microphones that connect natively to an iPhone’s Lightning port. Adding a dedicated microphone will immediately improve the audio quality of recording with Voice Record Pro or any audio recording app.

Transcribe Audio To Text Google

Another way to expand your usage of Voice Record Pro is to take notes. The audio transcription you get in the app is not time coded and it doesn’t differentiate between speakers. That’s not a huge issue for most people, but if you want to hit the ground running with your edit, a few notes about key comments and the time they occurred in the recording can go a long way. Voice Record Pro gives you two options.

You can simply hit the Flag button to mark specific moments in the recording you’d like to note and even add a quick note on why that moment was important. You can also click the notepad in the lower right hand corner while recording to open up a full note taking screen. If you have a quiet bluetooth keyboard paired to your smartphone, you can keep up will full notes, timecodes and editorial details throughout the interview so you don’t need to waste time searching for specific moments once it comes time to edit.

Other Audio to Text Transcription Apps

Transcribe Interview Audio To Text

Depending on your needs, Voice Record Pro may not be the perfect audio transcription app, but luckily there are plenty of other options out there. Here are a few other audio to text transcription apps to consider, although note that most offer those services for an additional fee.

Transcribe Live for Audio Transcription with Speaker Designation

Transcribe Live does one very amazing thing if you have more than one person speaking in an interview. It tells you who said what. The AI used in the computer generated transcription differentiates between each speaker and designates them as Speaker 1 or Speaker 2, etc. That can be a huge time saver depending on your project, but it comes with a small cost. Unlimited transcriptions cost $8.49/month as a subscription service or you can purchase chungs of time like one hour at $2.99 or five hours at $12.99. If you’re curious if it’s worth it, the free app download comes with 15-minutes of credit time to test it out.

Rev Voice Recorder with Human Audio Transcription

If accuracy counts and computer generated transcription isn’t your thing, Rev Voice Recorder (Android version here) promises 99% accuracy with human transcription. There’s a 12-hour turnaround but you can upload your audio and come back the next day to find a polished interview transcript in your inbox. Rev offers all that at $1/minute. They even offer the Rev Call Recorder app to record and transcribe phone calls at the same rate.

Temi with Fast Computer Aided Transcription and Cross Platform Accessibility

The makers of the Rev Voice Recorder app also make Temi (Android version here). Temi transcriptions designate between speakers and even allow you to import audio and video from other apps, including Slack. The difference is you get a computer generated transcription instead of human transcription, but at $0.10 versus $1/minute, that may be more up your ally.

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How to Manually Transcribe an Interview

If you’re unhappy with the computer generated transcriptions you get with these audio-to-text transcription apps, or the app is having trouble with a particular accent or issue with background noise, you can always go back and transcribe your interview manually. For that, even though you may be an incredible typist, most of us cannot type as fast as people speak. Luckily, Voice Record Pro above and many other audio and video players will give you the option to adjust the playback speed. By reducing the playback speed to half or slower, you should be able to better keep up with your manual transcription and you shouldn’t have any of the same trouble with names, places or other uncommon words that the computer aided transcription tool could encounter.

Conclusion and Applications

Regardless of how you get there, having a full interview transcript in your hand is the best way to start dissecting what you have recorded and start discovering new ways to tell that story in your multimedia project. Maybe there’s another story hidden within the interview so you get two or more stories out of it. Or you can save the transcript along with the audio or video file and make it accessible to keyword searching down the road for future projects. Now that you know how to how to transcribe an interview with free audio transcription software, there are no more excuses for not sitting down and taking that important step in the creative, editorial process.