Convert audio files to text: How can one convert a large number of digital audio files to text so he can print them off?

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How can one convert a large number of digital audio files to text so he can print them off?

Question

Converting digital audio files to text for printing. A senior has asked how to convert a large number of digital audio files to text so he can print them off. He'd like to know about free applications and paid ones.

Our answer

There are many transcription services available to convert words spoken in an audio file to text. Traditionally, these services were performed by people who listen to the audio and type out the text, while very accurate the service can be time consuming and costly. Now, many transcription services rely in-part or entirely on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a software program. The program learns while listening and recognizes trends in how people speak so that it can convert speech into text. In a lot of cases where an individual has lost the ability to write or type, they can use speech-to-text services to continue their work.

Here are a few options you may want to explore:

  • 360Converter by FoxAVideo Tech is a free option that works using AI. The online version allows the user to upload the audio file and convert it to text, but it is limited to five minutes. Their offline program is free to download and has no limit. The main draw back with this option is that it may be less accurate, and would likely require editing for punctuation and names.
  • Transcribe in Microsoft Word is a new feature in the online version of Microsoft Word. It is available to all Microsoft 365 subscribers and can be accessed through Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome internet browsers. You can upload audio files or speak directly in the program. Microsoft 365 personal plans start at $8 (Cdn) per month, and you’ll get up to five hours of transcription services per month with your subscription.​
  • Otter.ai by Otter.ai Inc. is a speech-to-text program that can transcribe audio files using on smartphone or computer. You can try it for free starting with 600 minutes of transcription a month over three files. Plans for the paid version of the service start at about $8.50 (U.S.) per month.
  • Nibity is an organization based out of Ottawa that provides transcription services at a rate of a $1.40 (Cdn) a minute with savings at larger volumes. They advertise a 99% accuracy rate, likely in part since they do not rely solely on AI.

Once the text file is produced it can then be printed, either using a home printer or at a print shop.

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