6 Ways to Easily Convert Audio Files to Text

Featured Audio Text

There are so many uses out there for text-to-speech software as well as speech-to-text software. Whether you want to narrate stories, give dictation or use voice search, these apps help you do a good job. However, there are times when you need to convert an audio file to text. For example, 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. Voice Typing in Word/Google Docs

Before looking to outside sites and software for help, you might want to try this rather cheeky little workaround, which should work whether you use Microsoft Word, Google Docs, or any other fully-fledged word processing software.

Convert Audio Files To Text Google Docs Voice Typing

First, have the audio files you want to convert ready to play either on the device that you’re storing them on or on the same computer you have the word processing software on. Next, enable voice typing in your word-processing software.

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).

2. Bear File Converter

BearFile Audio to Text

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 in 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.

3. 360Converter

360Converter

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 wouldn’t get professional results.

4. Sobolsoft

SobolSoft Audio to Text Converter

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.

5. InqScribe

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

InqScribe is not free, but a 14-day free trial is available without the need to enter payment methods.

6. Use Speech-to-Text Apps on Your Phone

speechnotes-android-app-speech-to-text

If your audio source is on a different device, you can use standard speech-to-text apps on your phone to transcribe the audio. Speechnotes is a highly rated Android app which does a pretty decent transcription. This method is absolutely free and gives nearly accurate results for audio files. However, you can only take notes separately and can’t transcribe the results into the audio or video source.

Conclusion

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. The results will vary from one app to another. 100 percent accuracy is not possible with any solution, but InqScribe does give good results.

Are you aware of any other solutions that give professional quality audio to text conversion results?

Sayak Boral Sayak Boral

Sayak Boral is a technology writer with over ten years of experience working in different industries including semiconductors, IoT, enterprise IT, telecommunications OSS/BSS, and network security. He has been writing for MakeTechEasier on a wide range of technical topics including Windows, Android, Internet, Hardware Guides, Browsers, Software Tools, and Product Reviews.

5 comments

  1. Great article about a burgeoning and useful field.
    Any insights into speech-to-text apps that synchronously turn speech to text–like during the virtual meetings that are now part of everyday life?

  2. I am currently transcribing audio to text for a 3 1/2 hour strata meeting. There are lots of participants talking over each other, during the meeting. Is 360Converter going to be my best option? I currently have 10 pages of text and i’, onlyu 45 minutes into the meeting!

    1. 3 1/2 hours? No matter the software, there’s some work cut out for you.

      You should use Sobolsoft to get a first draft (white noise and all.) Followed by InqScribe for manual entry with time stamps. 360Converter is a freeware so there are limitations: “each user now is allowed to transcribe 300 seconds each time to serve as many users as possible.”

      Please come back later to share your experience.

  3. Hello Sayak,

    Privacy is a main concern and finding an OFFLINE text-to-speech software despite many hours of research has proven unfruitful. While Dragon TTS software does have an offline database it needs to be trained by the dictator. In the context of converting lecture speech to text are you able to find any software(s). A good example might be taking a recording a TV news presentation and converting it to text.

    I don’t care if it takes up 500 GB and takes 5 hours to decode and it does not need to be 99% accurate either – at least, it’s useful to have a start point.

    Please comment back and let me know if you find anything of interest (even if it can be used in conjunction with any other softwares to achieve OFFLINE text-to-speech transcription).

  4. Hi Paul

    If privacy is your main concern, why not go with Microsoft Word’s dictation tool for an initial draft. Based on my experience, it gives quite a bit of accuracy. The trick is to go line by line, and frequently pause the video. That’s neatly perfect for news presentations and anything spoken at a moderate pace. You only have to insert periods and commas once the lines are transcribed.

    While the Dictation tool is for offline use, you need a subscription to Office 365 or purchase a full license to be able to use these latest features. It’s more convenient to use two different devices at close proximity, so your news dictation notes can come from a smartphone or another laptop.

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