What are the Different Ways of Transcribing Audio Recordings?

woman transcribing audio recording

One way or another, there will come a time when you’ll be in need of transcriptions. Whether that be for educational purposes (such as lectures and seminars), for research purposes (such as interviews and focus groups), or for entertainment (podcasts or radio interviews), or for your business (meetings or conference calls), transcriptions will be beneficial for you. Unfortunately, transcriptions are not readily available most of the time, so you will need to transcribe audio recordings before you can use them in various fields. Good thing there are different ways of transcribing audio you can do.

5 Different Ways of Transcribing Audio Recordings

5 ways of Transcribing Audio Recordings

Transcribing manually

Of course, the traditional way of transcribing audio recordings is by doing it manually. This allows you to privately work on your transcript and format it according to your preference. For this, you’d have to have functional equipment such as speakers or headphones and your laptop or computer. You also need to find a quiet and comfortable place for you to be able to listen to the audio recordings without any problem and transcribe it as accurately as possible. 

However, you also have to take into consideration the fact that transcribing manually takes a lot of time and effort. So if you’re busy and you need a transcription immediately, this may not be the best choice. 

Outsourcing an audio transcription service

If you don’t want to do the transcribing yourself and would rather a professional accomplish it, you can outsource an audio transcription service instead. An audio transcription service is a company dedicated to transcribing audio recordings from various fields and industries. Here experienced transcribers and editors will work together so that your audio recording is transcribed properly. Transcriptions start as low as $0.10 per minute to as high as $4 per minute. Some audio transcription service also offers additional formatting such as speaker labels and time stamps. 

Outsourcing an audio transcription service can help you save time and effort. Since professional transcribers will transcribe your audio recordings, you can expect that they will be polished from the first sentence until the last. 

Hiring a freelance transcriber

Apart from outsourcing an audio transcription service, you can also hire a freelance transcriber to transcribe your recordings. A freelance transcriber can transcribe your audio recording for a cheaper rate, but can still deliver great transcripts. You can also send in your formatting requests so that they can apply it. Hiring a freelance transcriber is a good alternative to audio transcription services in case some rates are too much for you.

Using a free transcription service

You can also opt to use a free transcription service to save time and money. Free transcription services are those that use online audio-to-text conversion engines to generate transcriptions for free. A great example is FreeTranscriptions which gives free 300 minutes of automated transcriptions every month to its users.

Though audio-to-text conversion engines or AIs don’t have 100% accuracy, they still provide good outputs. You can easily proofread the transcripts or if they offer additional editing services, you can utilize that to refine the transcripts. With a free transcription service like this, you can get great outputs immediately without working too hard and spending too much. 

Downloading transcription apps

You also have the option to download transcription apps and utilize them to transcribe audio recordings. There are a lot of transcription apps and speech-to-text apps that will help you transcribe. Some of the best this year are Dragon Anywhere, Speechnotes, and Transcribe – Speech to Text. All of these apps will make it easier for you to transcribe directly on your own phone.


Take note that some apps might need you to dictate or repeat the audio recordings for better accuracy, and you’ll need to transfer the files to your computer so you can proofread and edit them later.