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21 Mar 2021   Last updated 31 August 2022

How do you transcribe audio files to text?

Woman listening and transcribing audio to text
Automatic transcription

Years before the invention of voice recording, meeting proceedings had to be taken with pen and paper. Now, even with so many innovations that allow us to make sound and video recordings of meetings, audio recordings come with several limitations. For instance, you cannot scan through an audio file without leaving out some informative pieces. Also, writing out the important information from an audio file can be tasking, laborious, and time-consuming when you do it on your own. So how do you solve this problem? Simple, outsource the task to a professional audio transcription service.

In this article, you’ll learn what audio transcription means and how to easily transcribe your audio files.

What does audio transcription mean?

Audio transcription refers to a process that involves converting audio files into readable text usually called a transcript. The audio file in question could be from academic research, an interview, a meeting proceeding, a video clip of someone’s speech, or anything in general.

When audio transcription or transcript definition is done for a single person, like in a monologue, it is called a dictation. That is, only one person’s voice was recorded. Audio transcriptions that involve general discourse or conversations between two people are called interviews. Finally, when the speakers are three or more, the audio transcription becomes a focus group, conference, or workshop, which is usually the hardest of all types. That’s because a lot must be done to distinguish between the voices speaking.

People who transcribe audio to texts are called transcribers or transcriptionists. Although people use these two interchangeably. Transcribers are used in the UK English form while the latter is used in American English.

What does a transcriber do?

In the past, transcribers took down notes using shorthand. However, people do not do that anymore because it requires a lot of knowledge, and it’s grossly inefficient. To make things easy, nowadays people can take recordings on their PCs or mobile devices. Later on, the recordings can be sent to transcribers via mail. Thanks to cloud storage, people can also save their recordings online and grant access to their transcribers to do their job.

Usually, the transcriber would download the audio and play it with a professional software player. From there, he would listen and type the speech into a transcript.

Nowadays, people do not dictate punctuations with speech. Therefore, audio transcription services extend farther than speech to text. Instead of just converting speech to text, transcribers also make appropriate grammar corrections while they type for you.

How long does it take to transcribe 1 hour of audio?

The short answer to that is it depends. Generally speaking, an expert transcriber needs about 4 hours to transcribe an audio file of 1 hour. Another way of putting it is, a transcriber will need 1 hour to transcribe 15 minutes of audio to text. However, this time can differ depending on how you outsource your transcription.

When you finally decide to outsource your audio transcription, you will have to make a crucial decision. That is to choose between the types of transcription services that are available to you.

Audio transcription service is of two types; manual or automated transcription. Manual transcription, like the name, is where a human does the job. On the other hand, automated transcription occurs when a machine uses Amberscript to generate texts from an audio file.

Generally speaking, the time taken to complete a task is usually shorter when using automated systems. While humans might need up to 5 hours to transcribe 1-hour audio or video, software like Amberscript will only require minutes. That’s because humans have to first listen to the file and make grammar corrections. The delivery time for manual transcription could even be as long as 10 hours for 1-hour audio or video if the conditions are not favorable. Consider the following scenarios as examples.

  • With poor quality audio files, the transcriber would have to strain his ears to get the correct information
  • Background noises, if present, might reduce the transcriber’s efficiency, and so the delivery time will increase.
  • Also, if there are too many speakers in the conversation, the transcriber might have to stop intermittently to write names.
  • Audio files that require research will require a longer delivery time.
  • Special issues with the speakers like accents and coherence can also impact the time needed for transcription.

On the other hand, machines will create their text files from audio inputs using algorithms and artificial intelligence software. Since these automated speech-to-text services do not involve too many humans, the price is usually lesser.

However, automated transcription comes with some limitations. For instance, machines may not be able to understand and translate colloquial terms or slang. When used in such situations, one might lose the contextual value of such phrases or sentences. When you use automated transcription in terrible conditions like the above, the quality of work is usually very low.

To cover these limitations and many more, professional services like Amberscript allow you to combine the speed of artificial intelligence with humans’ accuracy. Therefore, when you use their software, you can choose to use the basic automated transcription tool or have a perfect transcription. With the perfect transcription package, you can have your work transcribed within minutes, after which a team of experts will look through and correct errors. Even though the perfect transcription comes at an extra cost and an extended delivery time, you are sure of a perfect transcript with no errors.

How to transcribe audio files to text?

Step 1 – Find a transcription service or transcription software such as Amberscript

Step 2 – Upload your video or file

Step 3 – Choose whether you’d like to have language professionals or AI transform your audio to text

Step 4 – Edit the text yourself to perfect it or change the speaker notes

Step 5 – Export the file

Who needs a transcriber?

Almost all businesses would require audio transcription services at one point or the other. However, the following are some places where speech-to-text transcription is needed the most.


One of the fastest ways to get your content to the world is by creating videos. Today, more than 5 billion people watch videos on YouTube every day. For videographers and editors, that is a lot of tasks, especially for subtitling.

While you cannot avoid subtitles because users need them for several reasons, you can learn to create subtitles and captions without stress. That is an automated process that does not require you to type all the time. With this software, you can create correct text files and get your viewers engaged in your videos.

computer screen showing video editing for trascrption


For academic research to be successful, it must involve some level of voice records and analyses. Often, researchers generate their data from interviews, focus groups, and some other methods that require them to record audio or video.

After collecting these data, they sit back to analyze these data and find patterns to make theories.
However, transcribing audio by hand can be tiring and time-consuming, considering the large volume of data usually associated with academic work.

Academic research


Like every other professional, productivity is key for any journalist that wants to be successful. You have to schedule meetings, meet deadlines while making sure that you produce catchy articles for your firm. To achieve all these, journalists need to make smart decisions. One of those decisions is to use the best tools.

There are several software tools that you can use as a journalist to get recordings from your interviews and meetings. However, the bulk of the job lies in converting these audio recordings into articles that readers can enjoy. With audio transcription services, journalists can now manage their time effectively. For instance, using the digital transcriber from Amberscript can create texts from lengthy audio files with ease and in just a few minutes. Using the latest artificial intelligence technology, the software will help you create text files from your videos and audio interviews. That way, you can have more time for other productive tasks.

Create text files from audio in minutes, besides the speed, the speech-to-text service offered by software like Amberscript can help researchers to do more with little time.

Journalist conducting interviews


As customer demand continues to grow, there is an increased need for audio transcription. The core foundations of market research and user experience lie around understanding customers properly. With so much competition going on right now, your firm cannot afford to make mistakes.

By taking down the responses of customers during UX testing, businesses can fully understand their market. However, that understanding can only be harnessed for market optimization if they can transcribe and analyze these recordings to text. This is why every business that wants to get the best from its market must take audio transcription very seriously.

UX research text books


Transcription is becoming a crucial tool in many industries of the world. And that’s because people now conduct their meetings and business agreements around the world using the internet. As the need arises for recording meetings, conferences, and more, companies must devise smart means to transcribe these sounds to words. With Amberscript, you will be able to transcribe your audio files accurately without taking much time. Also, the tool allows you to search through the generated texts to find quick insights when you need them.

  • High accurate, on demand service
  • Competitive pricing with the fastest turnaround using AI
  • Upload, search edit and export with ease.
Our services allow you to create text and subtitles from audio or video.
  • Upload audio or video file
  • Automatic or manual speech to text
  • Edit and export text or subtitles