For years, voice transcription technology has been available but terrible. Unless you talked like a robot, the typed result looked nothing like what you said. Now there’s a new round of services for those who are better at talking with your mouth rather than your thumbs, and they’ve gotten a lot better. Here are our six faves.
Dragon Dictation (iPhone)
This new transcription app has been slobberingly adored by Mashable, The New York Times, and the rest of the web. It’s free for a limited time only, and does a mighty fine job. Once you’ve spoken, you can save the text in an email, SMS or onto your clipboard. The basic design is very user-friendly, and the price is right.
This one costs $0.99 and doesn’t let you email your notes out of your iPhone, but it does have a handy “pause” feature that allows you to take a little break without having to start a new file.
This is a useful app for the Blackberry, but don’t let the $1.99 download price fool you. They have a slate of complicated and expensive plans for emailing the transcriptions out of your device that should make you wary.
Google Voice (any phone – but extra yummy with Android)
Designed to transcribe your voicemail messages, I often find myself leaving myself messages! The quality of the transcripts vary greatly. I’ve had results that are 90% accurate and as low as 30% accurate. According to Google, the automated engine is improving everyday as more people use it and the system learns how to correct itself. Keep yourself under 3 minutes or prepare to be hung up on.
Voxie Pro Recorder (iPhone)
Just add humans! A paid transcription service, manned by folks who are living and breathing, will turnaround lengthy transcriptions in mere minutes. But it will cost you. After the $1.99 download fee, you can expect to pay $5 for the first 250 words and 2.5 cents per additional word. There are no length limits.
Find a Dial2Do number in your area and use it as a repository for all of your transcription needs. E-mails, text messages, and Tweets can be sent by prompting the system to redirect your message. You can also organize using extrenal apps such as Evernote and Xpenser. Out of things to say? Listen to local weather, The New York Times feed or get the headlines from Yahoo News.
Don’t rely too heavily on any of these transcription apps, especially not in crowded, noisy places. But if you want to take fast notes or record a thought for later, they will do just fine.
I find many of these services VERY useful as a blogger. Even if accuracy is a questionn mark, I often know the context I said something in and can fill in the blanks rather painlessly. This is an example of technology that has come a long way over the past few years. It has also gone from being a “premium” item to free in many cases.
Let us know how you utilize speech-to-text transcription services and which one you prefer.