There are so many uses out there for text-to-speech software and speech-to-text software. Whether you want to narrate stories, give dictation or use voice search, these apps help. You may also need to convert an audio file to text. It; could be about documenting the text notes of an interview or transcribing a video for uploading on YouTube.
Here are several options to help you achieve audio-to-text conversion in quick and easy steps.
1. Office 365/Word
Microsoft Word has some handy built-in functions for transcribing audio files. Instead of holding a speaker up to your PC microphone and playing it that way, Word can directly transcribe straight from your audio files.
Of course, you need an Office 365 or Office subscription for this to work (though there are some workarounds to get Office working for free, even if temporarily). Of all the options on this list, this is the cleanest, and from our experience, the most accurate way to transcribe audio on your PC.
To transcribe using Word, sign in to Office 365 on your browser and open a new Word document.
Click Home, then the drop-down icon next to ‘”Dictate” (or the microphone icon) and “Transcribe.”
Click “Upload audio,” then select the file you want to transcribe and wait for the process to finish.
You can then click “Add to document” at the bottom and choose the desired format for the transcription in your Word document.
2. Google Docs
Alternatively, you can convert audio to text using Google’s free cloud-based word processing software, Google Docs, which can also convert audio to text. Again, have your audio files playing loud and clear either on your PC or nearby device.
In Google Docs, go to “Tools -> Voice typing” to turn on dictation. For Microsoft Word you need to turn on dictation/online speech recognition on macOS or Windows 10, then press the keyboard shortcut you set to turn on dictation (Win + H in Windows 10, Command key twice in Mac) and open Word.
Once you’ve set up dictation or voice typing, turn it on, open your word-processing software, then play the audio file into your PC microphone (or just play it on your PC so your mic picks it up).
3. Bear File Converter
If you want a simple audio-to-text conversion for brief notes, Bear File Converter has a decent option. Based on the Baidu recognition engine, it can do a proper job converting a clear audio with few distracting noises. However, the online software is not very accurate in converting MP3 song files to text. Also, the online software does not record for longer than three minutes.
If you’re looking for slightly better results online in audio-to-text conversion, 360converter offers a simple dashboard tool. It supports both audio and video. The results can be downloaded as a word file or PDF. There are limitations for the freeware, however. While the software is good enough to transcribe conversations and prerecorded speeches, you won’t get professional results.
If you’re aiming for professional results in MP3-to-text conversion, Sobolsoft offers better output. There are no time limits in terms of output and intuitive options which allow you to convert multiple files and split the timelines. The results are far better than previous options. However, you need to make a purchase beforehand, although a free trial is available.
Although it does not directly convert audio to text, InqScribe is an intuitive digital transcription tool which makes the manual entry as easy as possible. With this software, you can quickly insert timecodes anywhere in the transcript and work the rest just like a word processor. You can assign keyboard shortcuts and insert snippet variables to drop frequently-used text with a single keystroke. A complete product user guide is available at this link.
InqScribe is not free, but a 14-day free trial is available without the need to enter payment methods.
Converting audio to text is still a manual job in the music industry, and studios hire professional transcribers for accurate results. YouTubers usually add subtitles and captions on a video-editing software. However, the above solutions enable a degree of automation.
For more acoustic tips on Windows, see our guide for fixing your headphones when they’re not working. We also have a great list of software to help you manage your writing projects. If you want to switch between other file formats on Windows, we have guides to help you convert from VCE to PDF from HEIC to JPG.