I had a chance to interview a childhood hero of mine and captured the interview with my smartphone. Is there an online service that can turn that audio file into a written transcript accurately and inexpensively?
Turns out that I too have needed a transcription service too and often have audio content that I want turned into text, but without me having to slog through the task. At first I thought about just trying to feed the audio to a dictation system like Siri to see what would happen, but then I came to my senses; that’d still be a whole lot of work.
Instead, I asked a group of colleagues and got a couple of strong recommendations for an online transcription service called rev.com. At approximately $1/minute I figured that my ten minute sample audio file was an easy enough test and submitted it. The results were quick, highly accurate and generally exceeded my expectations! Here’s how it all went.
Before we go further, however, let me say I have no relationship with the company, don’t know any of the founders, and they don’t even know I’m writing this article. I’m just pleased to find a company offering something so darn useful and affordable!
Okay, where were we? Ah, heading over to rev.com…
Straightforward enough and $1/min is certainly affordable for just about every project, even schoolwork or college homework. Notice they also offer captioning service (note: automated captions are generally pretty awful) and document translation services too. C’est bon!
I don’t need my audio file translated into Swahili, however, just transcribed. I clicked on the Transcription graphic to proceed.
In my case, the interviewee simply recorded himself speaking into his smartphone as a fast and easy way to send me the desired information. Ten minutes of a monologue, he might be ready for late night television! 🙂
What he sent was the saved output of the Voice Recorder app on the iPhone, an m4a file. You could also upload an mp3 file easily enough, I’m sure. I proceeded by clicking on “Upload Files”. Select the desired file, click to proceed and in just a few seconds I was seeing this estimate of transcription cost:
Notice that if you want the transcript timestamped (lawyers and the courts often desire timestamps, for example) or want to get every single utterance including the ‘ummm’ and ‘errrr’ and coughs and such you can add either or both for $0.25/min. If I added both of these, it would bump up the price of my transcript a modest $5.00. But the default is much better.
Next step is payment and I won’t bore you with the process of entering my credit card info. If you want to use my card, the number is… um… wait a second! I see what you tried to do there! 😛
If you have a multi-person audio recording or someone with a particular ethnic or regional accent, you can then specify that information to make the transcript more accurate:
And that’s it. Done. Now it’s just a waiting game. Rev.com says that transcripts that are under an hour should be turned around in less than 12 hours. All I know is that I submitted my job at 7:00am and at 7:58am I received this email:
A click on the link and the information was displayed to me directly in the Web browser. It’s excellent!
Notice the Download button on the top right. A click and you’re given a few output file format options (Microsoft Word, PDF or plain text) along with:
That’s all there is. I’ve become an instant fan and admirer of Rev.com and its fast, affordable and accurate transcription service. I’ll be back and will definitely use them again, and encourage you to try them too.
Note: If you do give them a try, or if you have another transcription service you prefer, let me know in the comments!
Pro Tip: While you’re here, check out all our other technical support help on the site. That’s kinda what we do here at AskDaveTaylor. 🙂