Transcription tools

| April 3, 2023

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Many journalists don’t have the time to transcribe their interviews or their episodes manually. Fortunately, there are many transcription tools available today that can assist. However, some transcription tools can be costly.

Here are four affordable transcription tools, identified by The International Journalists’ Network. We’re sharing some of their reviews, but click on the link for more information on pricing, privacy, and what languages the tool can transcribe.
Otter, which has been around since 2016, was created in Silicon Valley. The software generates transcripts of interviews, which you can further edit. Otter also has a useful phone app you can use to record new recordings, or upload existing recordings. In its Pro and Business versions, Otter Assistant can record online meetings, for instance on Zoom, when you can’t attend.

Price: The free version allows 300 minutes of transcription per month, and up to 30 minutes per individual recording. With the free version, you can record interviews in real time, but you are limited to importing three previously recorded files per account.

Languages: Otter only works with U.S. and U.K. English.

Happy Scribe
Happy Scribe was created in 2017 in Barcelona. Similar to Otter, the tool can generate transcripts of your interviews which you can then edit.

Unfortunately, Happy Scribe doesn’t have a mobile app, nor does it offer subscription plans—you pay by the hour. Happy Scribe also doesn’t generate live transcriptions. It offers many more supported languages, however, like Mandarin, Persian, and Arabic.

Price: $12/hour for an AI-generated transcript, which Happy Scribe says is 85% accurate. It also offers human transcription by a professional at $135/hour with 99% accuracy.

Languages: 62 languages for automatic transcriptions, 10 languages for human transcriptions.

Google Pinpoint
Google Pinpoint was unveiled in October 2020, under the Google News Initiative. It offers much more than transcription, doubling as a project management app for journalists.

Price: Free, unlimited number of recordings up to two hours long each.

Languages: English (U.S., U.K., or Australian), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Ukrainian, and Turkish.

Privacy: Google Pinpoint follows a rigid process for responding to government requests for customer data, according to its website. It discloses information about the number and type of requests received from governments through the Google Transparency Report.

Good Tape
Good Tape was created by the Danish media company, Zetland. Launched in December 2022, testing and revisions are still taking place to improve this product.

For now, you can send an audio file to a form on their website and receive three transcripts—one without timestamps, another with timestamps, and a third in a subRip File Format, which makes it easy to add subtitles or captions to videos.

Price: Free for now. In the future, there will be a paid option with heightened privacy and expedited transcription, among other features.

Languages: Good Tape was developed through Whisper, software owned by Chat GPT’s company OpenAi. The software was trained on the internet, and the developers are focusing on fine-tuning their service in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Polish, Dutch, French, Swedish, Ukrainian, Norwegian, Finnish, Slovak, Greek, Czech, Croatian, and Danish. Users have also reported the software has worked with other languages like Farsi or Catalan.

Privacy: The recordings are encrypted, kept within the EU, and deleted after transcription.

Full review available here: