The Best Transcription Apps in 2021

The Best Transcription Apps

The Best Transcription Apps in 2021

If you’ve begun looking for a transcription app, you’d be forgiven for assuming that they are all completely automated. 

In truth, transcription service apps are all simply a mobile-based way to interface with a range of automated and human transcription services.

Why we turn to apps

If you’re anything like me you turn to your phone to answer a vast array of questions and perform any number of tasks each day. There’s a mobile app for almost every occasion, from getting directions, looking up the price of a book or to order in some fast food. So, it’s no surprise we consider apps for a number of business services too, including audio transcripts. 

When it comes to transcription service apps, there are a plethora on the market to choose from, which can make selecting the ideal one quite challenging. How do you decide which is right for you?

Before choosing an app you first need to understand if it’s tailored to your specific needs. This starts with identifying the type of transcription you’re after. If high accuracy is your priority, human transcription is likely to be your preferred option. Whereas if you have crystal clear audio, with only one speaker, and are comfortable with inaccuracies, Automated Speech Recognition (ASR) / Voice Recognition could provide you with a quick and cheap alternative. 

Once you know the service you require you can see if the app is a digital intermediary with a human service behind it, or a fully automated application that uses ASR, or a combination of the two.

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Human transcription vs ASR – What’s the difference really?

The main difference between human transcription and ASR is the rate of accuracy — ASR typically produces around 80% accurate transcriptions in ideal circumstances (where the recording is good quality, has little background noise and only has one clear voice speaking at a time).

In contrast, professional human transcribers deliver 99% accuracy guaranteed. Human transcribers can also change the level of detail in your transcription, whether you’re looking for word-for-word Verbatim or more of a summary in the form of Detailed Notes transcripts.  The most valuable transcripts help you get to the important content quickly which can be aided by highlighting key passages or summarising questions.

As ASR uses a machine to carry out the transcription process it is much cheaper and some services are even free. However, the trade-off is in the quality of the output and the reduction in options.

Both human transcription and ASR can be useful services, depending on what you want from your transcript. When looking to interface with either, a transcription app is a convenient way to get things done and provides you with a more streamlined process.

Because of that, here is our list of the top 5 human-based and software-based transcription apps on the market in 2019 (updated for 2020).

Transcription Apps: Human-based services

If you decide that you’d prefer the human touch here are your go-to choices:

Take Note

Take Note has a team of 600 UK-based transcribers and provides 99% to 99.9% accuracy, ensuring a secure, high-quality service with guaranteed delivery times for your audio and video transcriptions. 

The investment in data security makes them the safest choice if security is a concern, as user’s data is controlled under the tightest compliance standards. Take Note’s personal customer service is also a highlight, with clients being able to reach the account management team 7 days a week and even overnight. 

Take Note offer a range of transcription services including full verbatim or Detailed Notes summaries. Their team of experienced transcribers can handle complex language, industry-specific jargon, strong regional accents, multiple speakers, background noise and less than perfect audio quality.

Take note benefits app screenshotTake note delivery app screenshot

As well as transcribing existing audio and video files, they also offer in-person live notetaking services which can be ideal for company meetings or when an impartial third party is necessary.

The Take Note app will provide you with an easy and secure way to transform your audio content to text directly from your iPhone or Android phones.

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Rev

Rev is a human-based transcription service well known for their low pricing structure. They offer the Rev Audio Recorder, a free app users can use to record any audio straight onto their phone. 

These recordings are then sent to Rev’s global transcription team of over 50,000 transcribers, starting from $1.25 USD per minute. 

The app provides basic editing and review features, and they guarantee that transcriptions under half an hour in length will be turned around in less than 12 hours. When you first sign up on the app, you get $10 USD worth of transcriptions for free.

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GoTranscript

GoTranscript’s app allows you to record high-quality voice recordings that can easily be sent to them through the app to be transcribed. They offer a variety of transcription services, with audio file transcript prices starting from $0.72 USD (about 55p) per minute. They also offer a free trial, a customer loyalty program and student discount, making them an affordable service.

TranscribeMe

TranscribeMe offers an app that provides both human and ASR transcriptions. Similarly to Rev, TranscribeMe allows you to record high-quality audio within the app. The recording can then be transcribed into an unedited first draft of text, which comes at a baseline price of $0.79 USD (around 60p) per minute. 

There are extras available to add on such as a professional verbatim transcript, timestamps and faster turnaround times.

Transcription Apps: ASR-based services

For those looking for low-cost solutions, where high levels of accuracy are not necessarily required, ASR delivers app-based interfaces as well. Here are what we consider the top contenders on the market at the moment.

Otter

Otter is a transcription service known for its real-time transcriptions, primarily used for transcribing meetings. They are also one of the few services on the market using ASR that has to cross conversation speaker identification.

You can record straight onto the app or import recordings in order to get them transcribed. They offer a free basic plan, giving users access to the majority of features but with a limit of 600 minutes of transcription per month (max of 40 mins per recording). This means you can easily try the service before signing up to a paid plan.

Trint

Trint is an all-in-one transcription, editing and collaboration platform that offers a range of tools at a reasonable price. What’s more, it offers a free trial for your first 30 minutes file and can transcribe audio files in just a few minutes rather than several days.

Trint’s mobile app is available for editing and uploading on the move, as well as the ability to email your finished transcriptions to colleagues, clients or pretty much anyone else with a simple click. 

Temi

Temi prides itself on its ability to offer “voice to text transcription in 5 minutes”. This gives it one of the fastest turnarounds on the market, even by ASR-based service standards. It also has a generous free trial, allowing you to transcribe your first four uploads without charge. 

It has one of the lowest costs-per minute out there at just 25 US cents (19p) per minute. Temi also makes it fast and easy to upload files, although it does not have the wealth of features boasted by Trint. For those who prize speed, cost and ease of use above all, Temi is a great option.

What should you look for in a transcription service app?

So, what features should you look for in a transcription service app? Whether it employs human transcribers or ASR, we all have a baseline of expectations.

Pretty much all of us will be looking for accuracy, speed and affordability, but not necessarily in the same order. Whichever service and app you choose to go with, the app should have an easy and clean user interface that makes it simple to upload recordings straight from your phone and order transcriptions. Most apps on the market do this, and some allow you to edit recordings and the transcripts you receive in-app as well.

Still not sure what app is best for you?

If you still don’t know which speech to text app will provide the kind of transcript you need, many of the services mentioned above offer free trials. 

Trying out services will help you ascertain exactly what you want from a transcription provider and the trade-offs found between accuracy, speed and cost. It’s important that you find one that suits all of your transcription needs.

Take Note provides 99% accuracy rates and guaranteed delivery times offering you excellent value. Get your online, no-obligation quote today.

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Thomas Carter