Free Transcription (Speech to Text) Tool

We have received a number of requests about free, easy to use transcription software. Requests like this seem to be coming more and more frequent.  While there are paid programs and equipment for transcription, not everyone is able to purchase these. One tool that we have found that is free and available to everyone is Google Docs. There is a more recent capability in Google Docs that allows a person to dictate and the text will appear in the document. In addition to using this tool for dictation, you may also use this to transcribe a recording. Follow the steps outlined below to use this capability to transcribe an audio recording.

If you create a new Google Doc and go to Tools > Voice Typing you will get a small microphone that pops up on the left margin of the page.

You can then start speaking, or playing back a recorded interview in another window through the computer speakers, and Google Docs will start transcribing the speech or audio.

Note: You will need to have an active Internet connection for this to work since it leverages the Google servers to do the voice processing.

In our testing, the transcription quality was pretty good as long as the audio was clear and of a good volume. If you are transcribing long files, it might be best to do a few minutes at a time and then go back and cleanup each section.

A Word About Accessibility

After you have captured the transcription in Google Docs, click File > Download As... > Microsoft Office (.docx). Doing so will create a Microsoft Word document of the transcription, which is more accessible to those who may need to use a screen reader.

Instructional Technology is happy to setup a time to show you this tool in person. Please contact us if you have any questions.


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