How to convert an audio file to text

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Are you in the habit of recording the lessons you take at university and are you looking for a practical and fast way to transcribe them? If so, I’m happy to report that you’ve landed on the right guide, at the right time. In fact, if you allow me a few moments of your precious time, I can explain how to transform audio into text using a series of useful tools that allow you to transcribe what you have heard, both manually (with a high degree of precision) and automatically ( sometimes more imprecise, but simpler).

The operation, I’ll tell you right away, is feasible both from a computer, using Windows and macOS, and from mobile, on Android and iOS/iPadOS. It is also possible to act directly from the browser, using some very interesting online services. So? May I know what are you still doing standing there? Position yourself comfortably, take a few free minutes just for yourself and start immediately to concentrate on reading what is reported below.

I’m sure that, in the end, you will be able to tell you that you are more than satisfied and that, if necessary, you will even be ready to provide useful tips in this regard to your friends who are also interested in the subject. Having said that, I can only wish you a good reading and a good job!

How to convert an audio file to text

If you want to find out how to convert an audio file into text , the instructions you need to follow are the ones you find below. As anticipated at the beginning, you can do this both from a computer , from Windows, macOS and from the Web, and from smartphones and tablets , using the appropriate apps for Android and iOS/iPadOS. To find out more keep reading!

Express Scribe (Windows/macOS)

Express Scribe

If you want to turn audio into text acting like a computer, I strongly suggest you consider using Express Scribe . It is an excellent program for both turning audio to text on Windows and for turning audio to text on Mac . It allows you to slow down the speed of your recordings, so that they can then be transcribed manually more easily, and to configure a series of advanced controls to stop and resume playback on the fly. Basically it is free, but eventually it is available in a paid variant (at a cost of $70) which also allows you to play video files and use recording files in the formats of Sony, Philips, Grundig and Olympus recorders.

To download Express Scribe to your computer, go to the program’s website and click on the Download now button (on Windows) or on the Download button for Mac (on macOS).

When the download is complete, if you are using Windows , open the .exe file obtained and, in the window you see appearing on the desktop, press the Yes button , then click the Next button and wait for the program installation procedure to complete.

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If you are using macOS , however, open the .dmg package you just obtained and, in the window that appears, click on the Agree button , then drag the Express Scribe icon to the Applications folder on your computer, right click on it, select Open from menu that appears and press the Open button , in order to go around restrictions wanted by Apple against non-certified developers (an operation that must be carried out only on first start).

Now that, regardless of the operating system used, you see the Express Scribe window on the screen, click on the Load button located at the top left and select the audio file on your computer on which you want to act. Alternatively, click on the Insert item to load a recording from a portable recorder connected to the computer.

After completing the above steps, click on the Play button at the bottom to start playing the audio file and transcribe it by typing the text in the field Type notes for the currently selected dictation here.

If necessary, then use the buttons to stop and resume audio playback and those to go forward and backward that you find at the bottom. Instead, using the cursor located under the Speed ​​heading, you can increase or decrease the playback speed.

Once the transcription is complete, click on the File menu and on the item Export notes attached to it to export the text obtained in the form of a TXT file. Alternatively, you can send everything via email by pressing the email icon that you always find at the top of the screen. If, on the other hand, you have not completed the transcription and therefore wish to save your work and resume it at a later time, click on the floppy disk icon .

Listen N Write (Windows)

Listen N Write

If you’re using a Windows PC , you can also turn an audio file into text using the Listen N Write program . It’s free and allows you to make manual transcriptions, complete with automatic pausing, and recordings.

To download the program to your PC, visit its website and click on the download link located under the heading Listen N Write Free .

When the download is complete, extract the ZIP archive obtained and start the .exe file contained within it. In the window that appears on the desktop, select Italian from the drop-down menu for choosing the language, click on the OK button , then on the Next one (four consecutive times), then on the Install button and, finally, press the Finish button .

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Now, start the program, selecting the relative link that has just been added to the Start menu and, in the smaller window of the two that are shown to you, click on the folder icon , select the audio file to be transcribed to import it and press on Play button to start playback.

If necessary, you can increase or decrease the playback speed by clicking on the Playback item and pressing on the items Decrease playback speed or Increase playback speed . By pressing the smiley icon , however, you can activate the intelligent playback function which enables automatic pausing for a few seconds.

To proceed with the actual transcription, instead, type the text listened to in the other window of the program visible on the desktop, the one with the text editor, complete with all the formatting tools. When finished, click on the floppy disk icon at the top and save your text in TXT or RTF format. You can also print it directly by clicking on the printer icon .

Dragon Professional Individual (Windows)

Dragon Professional Individual

If the software solutions for transforming audio into text already proposed have not satisfied you because you are looking for a tool for automatic transcription, you can consider turning to professional and commercial software such as  Dragon Professional Individual by Nuance.

It is only for Windows (until some time ago there was also a version for macOS, but it is currently no longer developed), it supports Italian and, thanks to a learning system of the user’s way of speaking, ensures a high rate of success in automatically recognizing audio files for transcription, as well as for dictation.

Unfortunately, a free trial is not available, so if you want to use it you must necessarily buy it directly (in case you are not satisfied, however, you can request a refund of the amount paid within 30 days of purchase). It is sold at the base price of 399 euros via its website.

oTranscribe (online)


You don’t want or can’t download new programs on your computer and would you like to understand if there is any tool to transform an audio file into text online ? The answer is yes. There are several solutions of this type, but personally I recommend that you contact oTranscribe .

It is, in fact, a totally free online service that allows you to manually transcribe audio files (and videos, including those from YouTube) from the browser, then saving everything locally in TXT, MD, OTR formats or on your account. Google Drive.

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To use the service, visit the relative website, click on the English item at the top left and select Italian from the menu for choosing the language that opens. Then click on the Start transcribing button, press the Choose audio (or video) file option and select the audio file on your PC on which to go.

In the new page that will be shown to you after the import has been completed, you will find a player at the top of the screen through which you can manage audio playback. At the bottom, however, there is the editor for transcription, with all the tools for formatting.

To start playback click the Play button , while pressing the two triangles icon you can go backwards or forwards in the imported audio track. By pressing the Speed ​​button and moving the cursor to the left or right, however, you can reduce or increase the playback speed.

Once the transcription is completed, export the text file obtained by clicking on the Export button located on the right and deciding, via the menu that appears, whether to export the transcript in TXT, MD, OTR format or upload the file to your Google Drive account.

If the functioning of the service has not convinced you because you prefer to rely on an automatic transcription solution, you can consider the use of Google Docs , which supports the dictation function, which can be useful for the purpose in question. To use it, go to the Google Docs home page, start creating a new document or open an existing one, click on the Tools menu and choose the Voice typing option from the latter.

Transcription Tool (Android)

Transcription tool

If you have an Android smartphone or tablet , I inform you that you can transform audio into text using the Transcription tool app , which among the various solutions available on the market for mobile devices is, in my humble opinion, the best. Enables manual transcription of selected audio (and video) files, as well as dictation and archiving of transcripts.

To download the app on your device, visit the relevant section of the Play Store and press the Install button (if you use a device without the Play Store, you can instead go to alternative app markets). Then start the app by pressing the Open button that appears on the screen or by selecting the relative icon that has just been added to the home screen and/or drawer.

Now that you are viewing the main screen of the app, follow the short introductory tutorial that is proposed to you, then press the (+) button at the bottom, tap on the item Transcribe audio and select the audio file on which to act.

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Once the audio file has been imported, tap the Play button at the bottom to start playback and start unwinding the recording by typing the transcript in the Text field . If necessary, you can forward or rewind audio playback using the appropriate arrows , while to stop it, press the Pause button .

You can also add further audio recordings in real time by pressing the button with the microphone at the top, and you can quickly access the dictionary, vocabulary and other useful commands and functions by pressing the button with the three vertical dots located at the top right . To archive the transcripts, instead, press the button with the box and the arrow .

Transcribe (iOS/iPadOS)


Various apps are also available for iOS/iPadOS to transform audio into text. Among the many, I suggest you turn to Transcribe , which supports over 80 languages ​​and allows you to automatically transcribe recordings, voice memos and all audio (and video) files available on the device. It’s free, but you have to pay for the transcription (5.49 euros for an hour of transcription or 32.99 euros for 10 hours). However, new users get 15 minutes of free testing.

To download the app to your device, visit the relevant section of the App Store, press the Get button , then the Install button and authorize the download using Face ID , Touch ID or Apple ID password . Then, start the app by touching the Open button that appears on the display or by selecting the relative icon that has been added to the home screen and/or App Library.

Now that you see the Transcribe main screen on the display, follow the short introductory tutorial that is offered to you, then press the (+) button at the bottom right and select the location from which to take the audio file to transcribe.

Next, adjust the settings for playback speed, language, punctuation mode and tap the Transcribe button . Once the process is complete, you will be able to view the transcript obtained from the screen that is shown to you by selecting the recording of your interest in the All transcripts list of the app .

If needed, you can also edit the transcript by tapping in the text entry area. Furthermore, if you wish, you can export the transcript by tapping on the share icon (the one with the square and the arrow ) at the bottom right and choosing the option you prefer from the menu that appears.

If, on the other hand, you want to create an audio recording right now, tap the button with the microphone and the audio track at the top right. After doing this, the audio capture will immediately start and the transcription will start at the same time. When the process is complete, press the Stop button and then the Save button to proceed with the saving.

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How to turn video audio into text

Photo of a laptop

Are you wondering if there is also a system to transform the audio of a video into text ? Well, I’m happy to report that the answer is yes.

To carry out the operation in question, all you have to do is extrapolate the audio track from the movie of your interest, as I explained in detail in my guide dedicated specifically to the subject, and give “feed” to the tools already mentioned in the previous lines the audio file obtained.

How to turn WhatsApp audio into text

Convert WhatsApp audio into text

Have you received voice messages on WhatsApp that you would like to transcribe and you don’t know how to do it? I inform you then that it can be done without particular difficulties by resorting to the use of special applications, available for both Android and iOS .

If what you are using is an Android device, you can transform a WhatsApp audio into text using Transcriber for WhatsApp , which is completely free and which you can download from the relevant section of the Play Store (if you use a device without Play Store, you can instead turn to alternative app markets).

After downloading the application, open WhatsApp, then the conversation that contains the voice note of your interest and press and hold down the voice message in it for a few moments, in order to highlight it. Subsequently, select the icon with the three vertical dots , select the Share option from the menu that appears and then tap on the Transcribe item .

If you have an iPhone, however, to succeed in your intent you can contact the Audio to Text for WhatsApp app , which is paid (it costs 1.99 euros) and allows you to convert voice notes (and videos) into text and supports over 50 languages. To use it, purchase and download the app from the relevant section of the App Store.

Subsequently, open WhatsApp, then the conversation that contains the voice message you wish to transcribe, then make a long tap on the voice message , select the Forward item from the menu that appears, press the share icon (the one with the square and the arrow ) and choose the Transcribe option from the menu that appears to you.

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