You have just returned to the office after a brilliant interview, ready to write your masterpiece, when suddenly the sense of dread hits you – it's time to transcribe.
Although often seen as a laborious task, transcribing can be useful to reinforce key points from your interview, especially when you're writing complex stories that need greater attention to detail.
However, if you are short on time and need to publish quickly, it might be worth checking out these transcription tools for journalists.
They require audio files to be as clear as possible, with minimal background noise and distorted speech, but these options are cheaper than using commercial transcription services which are more expensive.
This new tool has recently been developed by two students from Dublin University, and uses the Google Speech API to transcribe audio files in a matter of minutes.
Simply go to the website, enter your email address, upload your audio file and select the language it’s in. The site will charge you €0.09 cents per minute, which works out as €2.70 (approximately £2.30) for a 30-minute transcription.
Click 'submit' and wait for Scribe to transcribe the file. When the process has been completed, you'll receive a link to your transcription on the Scribe website.
If you want to make sure the transcription is accurate, you can listen back at this point and edit the text, also attaching hyperlinks where you need to.
You'll find that interviews recorded in person transcribe more accurately than those over the phone, and punctuation isn't always 100 per cent correct, but if you're happy to scan through afterwards, it's great for getting the audio on the page.
Trint works in a similar fashion to Scribe, allowing users to upload a file directly to the website, choose the language, and receive the file via an email link.
Before uploading, the tool reminds you to upload clear conversations with little background noise, however it struggles slightly with transcribing English spoken with a stronger accent.
The final product gives you in almost every instance a clear transcription, along with timecodes for individual paragraphs.
Users are offered a free trial to try out the tool, after which you can choose from a range of plans. The options include paying monthly according to how much audio you want transcribed, which costs £13.20 per hour or £100 a month for 10 hours of transcription – and there's also a monthly roll-over on unused hours.
Pop Up Archive
Users can pay from $15 (£12) for one hour monthly, all the way up to $300 (£231) for 25 hours every month – however you should bear in mind that unused hours don't carry over to the next month. Customers are free to move between plans – including back and forth from free to paid – and, in these cases, are charged for their exact usage rather than a flat fee.
The tool transcribes audio recorded in English in real-time, noticeably slower that Scribe and Trint, but we found the quality very good, with a few punctuation errors in transcriptions of phone interviews, and timestamps matched to the millisecond. Pop Up Archive can also differentiate between voices – useful if you have more than one interviewee in the clip.
Once you've uploaded your file, you have the option to add metadata, includin title, format, collection, images, and any relevant tags, if you'd like your audio to be publicly available in the site's archive.
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