The Apple Voice Memo app (and Android's equivalent) is a great tool for recording audio on-the-go using your smartphone. Many of us use our phone's built-in voice recorder on a daily basis, whether that's for recording interviews, focus groups, meetings or lectures.
Once you've got the recording, chances are you're going to want to be able to access the content quickly and easily. Skipping through the audio file to find the relevant section can be frustrating, which is where transcribing audio to text comes in handy.
In this guide we'll showcase the best ways to transcribe your voice memos, from doing it by hand to using an automated transcription service like Transcribe.
If you're an android user, you can transcribe voice memos with the free Gboard app. However, many users report the tool to be glitchy and unreliable, with lots of errors in the text. For Apple users there's no built-in transcription tool for voice memos, only a dictation tool for transcribing live audio.
The same applies to other free services like Google Docs and Microsoft Word. If you want to use these free tools to transcribe a voice memo, you'd have to play the memo out loud for the software to hear, which is an inconvenient and time-consuming process.
The final option when it comes to free services is to manually type up the transcription yourself. This is a long and arduous task if you're not a professional transcriber, and while it's free in theory, whether it is in practice depends on the value you put on your time.
Transcription services using real-life humans are great when it comes to accuracy, however these services are typically slow and expensive. An hour of audio takes approximately four hours for a professional to transcribe, and the average price they charge is 75 cents to $1.50 per minute. That works out as $45-$90 per hour of audio transcription, and you might have to wait days or even weeks to receive your voice memo transcription.
Automated transcription services are the best way to transcribe your voice memo. They're fast - since they're automated you'll receive a transcript within minutes - and since they use AI software rather than humans, they're typically much cheaper too.
Take Transcribe. Upload your voice memo to our app or online editor, and you'll get clear, detailed notes in a matter of minutes. What's more, an hour of transcription time costs as little as $2 with our PRO subscription. Depending on the quality of the audio in your voice memo, you might need to make a few tweaks to the text, but the time it takes to do this vs to type the entire recording out by hand is significantly less.
2. Upload your voice memo
You can import your voice memo directly from the Voice Memos app on your phone. Open the Voice Memos app, select the recording you want to upload and tap 'share'. Select Transcribe from the list of apps (if it doesn't appear automatically, click 'More' > 'Edit', then select Transcribe and tap 'Add'. Select Transcribe and the voice memo will upload to our app.
3. Choose your language
Select the language of your voice memo from more than 120 languages and dialects.
4. Start the transcription process
Your voice memo transcription will be ready within minutes. Make yourself a cup of tea and we'll send you a notification when it's complete.
5. Your transcription is ready!
Now that your voice memo transcription is ready, you can proofread and polish the text in the app, online or in your preferred file format - with or without timestamps. When you're ready, export it to TXT, PDF, DOCX, SRT or JPG.
And there you have it - a written version of your voice memo that's ready for you to skim, repurpose and share.
Get written transcripts of interviews you've recorded using your smartphone to help you turn the interview into an article and meet those important deadlines. Skim the written text for soundbites and important quotes to add to your stories
Get written notes from your lectures and seminars just minutes after class has ended. You can search for key themes, condense the notes and create summaries to share with your classmates or to use as revision material.
A transcript of the interviews and focus groups you conduct as part of your academic research makes it easy for you to search for key quotes to include in your reports.
As well as making it easy for you to share minutes and meeting summaries, transcriptions can be repurposed and used for reports and articles to support your marketing activity.
Written By Katie Garrett
From doing it yourself to using Word, Google Docs or, best of all, the Transcribe App or online editor, learn how to transcribe audio with our helpful guide.
Learn how to prepare for a recorded interview, how to transcribe an interview and how to edit your interview transcription with the help of our useful guide.