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Effectively Transcribe Audio to Text: Software and Ideas

Software and apps for transcribing webinar and interview audio files to text

Audio transcription for your videos is a SEO strategy that is still not implemented enough today. We know that YouTube already conducts transcription of videos, but it’s unclear on how much of the audio transcription is used to index videos on the web. I’d be willing to bet that in the future, audio that is converted to text will be indexed the same as articles are today.

Just imagine a future where we are speaking our keywords in our videos. This could lead to some really funny (but awkward) videos; Just like the overly-SEO’d posts you can find on the web now.

Over the past couple years, YouTube has been testing automatic text transcription. Sometimes YouTube’s transcription is right on the money and sometimes it’s just completely wrong. YouTube does allow you the ability to upload your own text transcription for your video. This will let you future proof your videos by making sure your transcription is accurate before you’ve uploaded it! But you still need to transcribe the audio yourself. This is a time intensive process that can get in the way of your production workflow.

So here are a few tools you can use to make audio-to-text transcription easier and faster, not only for YouTube but for future articles as well.

Hire someone to transcribe the audio for you

This is the easiest way to get your audio transcribed. There are many online services where people will transcribe audio for you.
Here are list of a few businesses that will transcribe your audio for you:

Joel’s Transcription advertises $1.25/ minute of recording. This is by far the cheapest I’ve found on the web, and the transcription is done by college students, which is just as effective as asking your interns to do it.

Speechpad offers a Video SEO Transcription option. Once you sign up (it’s free), you can upload your video files or provide links to them from the web. They will email you the cost of each transcription and you can approve or decline the audio transcription for each video. This saves you the time of separating the audio files from video. They even make a neat app for the iPhone called Speech Recorder that you can use to transcribe meetings and interviews.


  • Best way to save your time – delegate it to an audio transcription firm.
  • Can be cost effective if you only have short videos to transcribe.


  • You pay more for fast turnaround.
  • Could be expensive if you have many long videos to transcribe.

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Use a software based tool

There are many new software packages out there that will automatically translate speech to text. The Nuance brand of dictation software, which includes the popular Dragon package is most popular. However, if you’re on a Mac, you can use  MacSpeech Scribe, which allows you to upload already pre-recorded files. They also offer a medical and legal versions which offers more accurate technical transcriptions.

MacSpeech Scribe is the most popular and effective software that I’ve come across. The technology is good, but still a few years away from being excellent. I have personally used  and have found it to be just OK at detecting the correct speech from multiple sources, but very good for single-voice recordings like webinars.


  • One time cost for the software package versus paying for transcription each time you need it.


  • You are still transcribing the audio yourself which eats into your time.
  • Software needs to be trained before it can be used – eating up more time.
  • Only good for single-speaker audio sources. The software will have difficulty with interview style audio.
  • Speech recognition software has reached a level that is usable but some people will find the experience frustrating.

Do you use audio-to-text software that I didn’t mention in the article? Or maybe you have used a transcription firm that you highly recommend? Either way, let us know about it in the comments.

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2 Responses to “Effectively Transcribe Audio to Text: Software and Ideas”

  1. seo Says:

    You can definitely see your expertise within the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers like you who aren’t afraid to say how they believe. Always follow your heart.

  2. Joel Drotleff Says:

    Hi this is Joel from Joel’s Transcription. I just saw we had a few visitors to our website coming from this blog – awesome!

    I just wanted to note that since this article was written, we have had to raise our rates a bit to keep up with rising costs – we currently charge a flat rate of $1.50 per audio minute – you get the same rate regardless of number of speakers or audio quality. I don’t like having to raise rates any more than my customers though, so as a consolation, you can mention this blog when placing your order to receive a 10% discount (Please visit


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