How to Use Google Docs to Transcribe Audio

How to use Google Docs to transcribe audio

Want to use Google Docs to transcribe audio? Google Docs has a built-in Voice Typing feature that records what you're saying and converts audio to text as you speak. It's free, easy to use, and handy if you find dictation faster than typing.

Bear in mind that Google Docs can't transcribe pre-recorded audio or video files though. For that, you'll need to use a third-party tool like Transcribe instead.

In this guide we'll walk you through how to transcribe in Google Docs, answer some of your frequently asked questions, and introduce you to Transcribe as an innovative alternative.

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How to transcribe in Google Docs in seven steps

Step 1: Open a new or existing page in Google Docs

Step 2: Activate voice typing

To activate voice typing in Google Docs, select Tools from the menu bar, then click Voice typing.

A small floating box with a microphone icon will pop up. To move the box to a convenient spot while you work, click on the top of the box and drag it.

Step 3: Choose your language

Click the dropdown menu above the microphone icon to select the language you want to transcribe.

Step 4: Start transcribing your audio

Once you've chosen a language, you can start transcribing. Click on the microphone icon to activate Voice Typing. Start speaking once the microphone turns red, and your words will appear on the screen as you talk.

Note: If you've never used Google's speech-to-text tool before, you'll need to grant permission to your microphone. A pop-up will appear when you click on the microphone - select Allow when prompted.

Step 5: Use voice commands to add punctuation

Google Docs voice typing offers a range of voice commands that you can use to add punctuation to your text: "period" (for a full stop), "comma", "exclamation point", and "question mark". You can also use voice commands to start a "new line" or "new paragraph".

Please note that the punctuation function only works with a few selected languages, including German, English, Spanish, French, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese.

Step 6: Finish your transcription

To finish transcribing, click the microphone icon and it will turn black to show that it's stopped recording.

Step 7: Proofread and edit your transcript

Once you've finished transcribing, proofread and edit your transcription using the standard Google Docs text editing tools to make sure that it's clear and accurate.

How to transcribe an audio file in Google Docs

Unfortunately, Google Docs doesn't have the functionality to transcribe pre-recorded audio files. The only workaround is to play your recording out loud and see if the microphone can pick up the audio. If the recording is clear enough, Google Docs may be able to transcribe it.

Otherwise, you'll need to use a third-party tool like Transcribe instead. Once you've got your transcript and saved it as a TXT, DOCX or PDF file, you can then open it in Google Docs to edit it there, if desired.

Tips for transcribing effectively in Google Docs

The accuracy of Google Docs' transcriptions depends on how clearly you speak. Here are some tips to help you get the most accurate transcription possible:

  • Make sure you're in a quiet room, with no background noise or echo

  • Speak slowly and clearly

  • Ensure nobody speaks over one another

  • Consider using a plug-in microphone - not just your computer microphone

  • Make sure your microphone is neither too close nor too far from your mouth

Is Google Docs the best option for transcribing audio?

Although Google Docs' transcribing feature is free, fast, and easy to use, there are some drawbacks. The main limitation is that software is only designed for live transcription, and you can't upload and transcribe pre-recorded audio or video files. If you want to transcribe recorded audio, you'll need to use a third-party tool like Transcribe.

The accuracy of Google Docs transcriptions can vary, especially if you speak with an accent. This can make it harder to rely on the quality of your transcription results, which can lead to extra time spent reviewing and correcting your transcripts.

What's more, Google Docs doesn't have the option to add timestamps or speaker separation. All in all, the transcript you get back is only really suitable for personal use - it won't be ready to share with other people without heavy editing.

Fortunately, there are alternative transcription services that deliver more accurate, reliable, and professional results.

Transcribe: The best alternative to Google Docs voice typing

Transcribe is a great alternative to Google Docs for transcribing both live and pre-recorded audio, and video too! You can import audio and video files in a variety of file formats, and you'll get more professional and accurate transcriptions, complete with timestamps and speaker separation

Transcribe supports more than 120 languages and dialects, and is on hand to offer professional support when you need assistance. Once you've got your written transcript, you can save it as a TXT, DOCX, or PDF file and open it in Google Docs to edit it there.

How to transcribe audio with Transcribe

1.

2. Upload your audio or video file

You can import files from any app or cloud storage system, including Google Drive and Dropbox. You can also record and review conversations in real time with our live transcription service. Check out our guide on how to get a real-time transcription.

3. Choose your language

Select the language of your recording from more than 120 languages and dialects.

4. Start the transcription process

Your transcription will be ready in a matter of minutes thanks to our speedy AI software.

5. Your transcription is ready!

Now that the transcription is ready, you can proofread and polish the text in the app, online or in your preferred file format - with or without timestamps. With our standard version you can export your transcribed text to TXT, or upgrade to our PRO service to export to PDF, DOCX, SRT, and JPG.

Frequently asked questions about transcribing in Google Docs

How do I turn on transcription on Google?

To turn on voice typing on Google Docs, select Tools from the menu bar, then click Voice typing. A small floating box with a microphone icon will appear. Click the microphone to start transcribing. If you've never used the transcription tool before, a pop-up box will appear asking you to grant Google Docs permission to access your microphone. Click Allow, and transcription will be turned on.

Is Google Docs voice typing free?

Yes, Google Docs voice typing is completely free to use.

Why is Google Docs voice typing not working?

If the voice typing feature isn't working for you, it could be because of one of the following:

  • Microphone access not enabled - make sure you've granted microphone permission to Google Docs

  • Incorrect microphone settings - check that your microphone is unmuted, and properly connected and configured

  • Outdated browser - update your browser to the latest version

  • Connectivity issues - check that your internet connection is stable

  • Language not supported - check that you've selected the correct language, and that your language is supported

How to transcribe video in Google Docs

Unfortunately, you can't upload and transcribe videos in Google Docs. The only workaround is to play the video out loud and see if the microphone can pick up the audio. Otherwise, you'll need to use a third-party tool like Transcribe instead. Once you've got your transcript and saved it as a TXT, DOCX or PDF file, you can then open it in Google Docs to edit it there, if desired.

Conclusion

We hope you've enjoyed learning how to transcribe audio using Google Docs - and the alternative methods at your disposal. For more help and advice, check out our guides on how to transcribe audio and how to transcribe video.

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