Transcribe logo

The definitive guide to better transcription.

How to transcribe audio faster using software

If you are looking for a tool that will automatically convert audio to text, unfortunately such a tool does not exist.

Automatic audio transcription software is still science fiction, at least as of 2016.

However, not all hope is lost.

There are efficient ways to transcribe than resorting to opening up your media player and Word, switching windows and scrambling for the mouse to play and pause the audio while you type out what you hear.

You can save a lot of time and ease the pain of transcription by using tools that are specifically designed for this purpose.

Say hello to Transcribe.

We built Transcribe during the summer of 2011, mostly as a little experiment. We realized that the app could be useful to transcribers and so we polished it and put it up online.

Since then, journalists, students, lawyers, musicians, researchers and transcriptionists around the world have discovered and used the app and have written in saying how much time they’ve saved. When we say “around the world”, we literally mean around the world. We have users from all 7 continents, including Antarctica!

Let’s get back to transcribing audio faster.

Here’s our little guide on how you can speed up your transcription with Transcribe.

We’ll cover the basics in this post. More advanced features like dictation, foot pedals and offline access will be covered in later articles.

Now the basics:

  1. If you haven’t already signed up for an account, you should do so at

  2. Visit Transcribe using Google Chrome to open the app. The reason we require Google Chrome is because other browsers do not yet support the technologies needed by Transcribe.

  3. Click on “Choose file”:

    Choose file

  4. Now select the audio file you want to transcribe. Transcribe supports MP3, MP4, M4A, AMR, WMA, AAC and most types of WAV files.

    Select file

  5. The audio file will now load in the player and start playing. Now, slow down the audio by repeatedly pressing the F1 button on your keyboard until the playback rate reaches a speed that you are comfortable with.

    Select file

  6. Start typing what you hear into the window while playing/pausing/rewinding as often as needed using the handy keyboard shortcuts. The advantage of using Transcribe over a conventional text editor + media player approach is that you don’t have to lift your hands-off the keyboard at all. You can control the audio with your keyboard while simultaneously typing into the built-in text editor. Also, your transcribed text is auto-saved on every keypress and so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your work.

But you’re probably wondering:

“I can do this myself with media player X and Word. Why do I need Transcribe for this?”.

If this process sounds trivial, we highly recommend that you compare the conventional approach to transcribing with transcribing with our app. We guarantee you will save a lot time with Transcribe, just like thousands of our users.

Still not convinced? Here are some reviews:

As usual, if you have any questions or if you think this article needs more clarification, let us know at

Read next: How to transcribe semi automatically using dictation

comments powered by Disqus