The best way to transcribe an interview without having to do shit

The best way to transcribe an interview without having to do shit

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Transcribing interviews is a pain, there’s no doubt about it. Listening back to the conversation, it becomes painfully obvious how often people sniff, how incoherent their sentences are, and how awful your own voice sounds. Add on top of that hours of manually transcribing each word and you’ve got yourself a hellish day. Luckily, we’re here to help.

First up, what do we want from a transcribing experience? Accuracy is important, it has to be easy to use, and it doesn’t hurt if it’s free.

Being a (lazy) writer, I’m always on the prowl for an easy solution to transcribe interviews. I’ve tried dozens of free apps and trials, but the one that really stands out for English is Otter.ai. Don’t worry though, I’ll also delve into a non-English solution further down.

Transcribing interviews in English

Honestly, I don’t like being overly positive when it comes to services and products, but the free version of Otter.ai is the very best solution I’ve found so far. It’s extremely simple and easy to use:

  • You create an account
  • Upload an audio file or record directly via Otter.ai
  • Then it automatically churns out a transcript in a few minutes, split up into paragraphs with time stamps, and each section is marked by different speakers
  • Then you can edit, listen back to, and search the interview, as well as change the speakers’ names to indicate who is talking (and it’ll update automatically throughout)
Credit: Otter.ai