How to transcribe your audio or video to text fast

In 2021, transcribing an audio or video to text is no longer as tedious as it once used to be. Transcribe is the most comprehensive and secure transcription software that helps you transcribe audio and video at least 2-3x faster.

Here's a step-by-step guide to help you transcribe your audio or video to text:

1. Choose between automatic transcription and self transcription

Transcribe audio to text using automatic transcription or self transcription.

Automatic transcription: For clear and well-recorded audio, Transcribe offers state-of-the-art machine transcription software for automatic conversion of audio and video to text. Upload your audio or video file in one of the several file formats we support and download a transcript. Start Transcribing Now.

Self transcription: Prefer to Transcribe on your own? Transcribe 2-3x faster by using features like voice typing (dictation) and our integrated editor + media player. Skip to Step 3 to learn more.

2. For machine transcription, click on "New Automatic Transcription"

Before uploading the file to be transcribed, you can set various options such as choosing to see a preview first or configuring timecodes to be inserted in the transcription.

Various automatic transcription options.

After upload, you will receive an email as soon as the transcription is ready.

Our transcription software usually takes about half the amount of the audio file's length to convert the audio to text. So for eg, an hour long audio or video file will take around 30 minutes or less to be transcribed.

Once you have the automatic transcript, you can either export it as a Word document or as a subtitle (SRT or VTT) file if you enabled the option during upload.

We've designed Transcribe from the ground-up with privacy and security in mind, and so we delete the audio and video files you upload after processing them and do not keep any copies of them. Read more about how we handle your data securely here.

3. For self-transcription, click on "New Self Transcription" or "Edit Transcript"

You can use our Self transcription software to either edit the automatic transcript you created in the previous step, or you can also use it to create a new transcript yourself, using the nifty time-saving features we'll describe below.

If you need to edit an automatic transcript, click on "Edit Transcript" when view the automatic transcript:

Edit an automatic transcript

If you need to create a new self transcription, click on "New Self Transcription" from Step 1 above.

Click on "Choose audio/video" to select the recording that you wish to transcribe. We support several common audio and video file formats.

Choose an audio or video video for self transcription

Once you choose the file, a media player will open up right above the text editor.

4. Control the playback of the audio or video file

Transcribe provides handy keyboard shortcuts to control the playback of the audio or video file. For example, you can slow it down, rewind or skip forward using these shortcuts.

  • Esc: pause/resume
  • F1: slow down
  • F2: speed up
  • F3: rewind 2 seconds
  • F4: forward 2 seconds
  • F6: insert timestamp

Mac users: switch your F1-F11 keys to function as standard function keys

5. You are now ready to transcribe the audio by using Dictation (voice typing)

Click on the green "Dictate" button. Once it turns orange, you can begin speaking.

When the green dictate button turns orange, you can start dictating.

Simply listen to the audio in a headphone and repeat what you hear in your own voice. Transcribe's fast & highly accurate dictation engine will convert your voice to text.

We typically find this method to be 2-3x faster than typing.

While we work on improving the quality of fully-automated machine transcription, you can leverage dictation as a time-saving technique. We support English, Spanish, French, Hindi and almost all other European & Asian languages. Please read this detailed guide on converting your speech to text using dictation.

6. Transcribe audio or video by slowing it down

If you're unable to transcribe via voice typing, Transcribe's tightly integrated player & editor can still halve the time it would have otherwise have taken you switching between a media player and an editor, while juggling with a mouse and keyboard.

Integrated media player and editor.

You can slow the audio or video down, listen to it and just type along. Be sure to use the handy keyboard shortcuts mentioned in Step 4 to effortlessly control the audio playback to match your typing speed.

Transcribe will auto-save every keystroke. The transcribed text is stored in your browser and is not sent to our servers. This data is persisted even if you restart your browser or computer as long as you don't clear your browser's cookies or cache.

7. Use Templates and auto loop features for additional efficiency gains

Be sure to explore the Templates feature using which you can set certain shortcuts to expand into longer words or sentences. For eg, you can set "S1:" to expand to "Speaker 1:" automatically, when you type "S1: ".

You can also use the auto-loop feature to get the audio or video to automatically pause for a few seconds while you type and then resume, without you having to press pause and play each time.

8. Configure a Foot Pedal for even more time-savings

Using a foot pedal allows you to free up your hands to focus on typing while using your feet to control audio playback. If you do a lot of transcriptions or you're a professional transcriptionist, you can save yourself a lot of idle time using a foot pedal. Saving 2 seconds with every play/pause will quickly add up to a good increase in productivity, allowing you to hyper-optimize your workflow and do more transcriptions in less time.

Transcribe supports the following foot pedals:

  • Infinity USB Foot Pedal
  • Olympus RS26, RS27, RS28
  • vPedal vP-1 USB pedal
  • Philips ACC2310

After you load your audio or video, simply click on the foot pedal icon in the toolbar below the player to get started.

9. When you are done, export your transcript

When you are done transcribing, you can export the text as a .doc file to your computer - just click the export icon in the toolbar above the editor. We affix the date and time to the end of the downloaded file's name so you can easily track multiple versions of your work.

If you enabled the subtitle feature in our automatic transcription software, you will also be able to download the transcript as a subtitle or captions file in SRT or VTT formats.

Still have Questions?

Please refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for potential answers. If you have any other questions or just want to say hello, feel free to email us at: