Video to text

Updated: 20 September, 2020 07:53 IST | Jaison Lewis | Mumbai

While video meetings are great, you might need to take down everything being said for future reference. Here are a few ways to do it effortlessly

With work moving online, it's great that we have been able to translate meetings to Zoom calls. However, taking notes or transcribing the meetings have been difficult. After all, how do you pause someone to say you need to write something down, with faces from seven other screens watching. But, tech can make life easier.

To begin you will need to record your video call. Zoom and several other videoconferencing apps have built-in video recorders. Zoom goes so far as to record the audio as a separate file, which is very useful for transcribing. Once that's done, here's where to head next.

Transcribe using Word

If you happen to have an Office 365 account, the web version of Word now has a transcribe feature that automatically converts audio files into text. The result is not 100 per cent accurate, actually, none of the options provide that accuracy. However, it is a fair starting point that will save you hours of typing. You will need a premium membership for this to work and there is no time limit on how much audio can be transcribed in a month, though there is a limit on file size. goes one step further than Word. It can add itself automatically to a video conference call to record audio and take notes. I have used it on a few occasions and it works well. The recordings can be transcribed from within the Web app. Again, as mentioned, it isn't 100 per cent accurate, but you can edit the text to make the necessary corrections. The transcription option is only available to paid users. However, the free version lets you store 3,000 minutes of meetings with time-stamped notes and sharable links. You can also trail the transcribe feature to see if you like it.


Descript isn't a transcribing app in the strictest sense of the word. In fact, it is a podcast recording application. You can import audio into the application and it will transcribe for you. Descript lets you organise your transcription in the way a script is laid out. Complete with detecting how many people are talking and easily adding a name against their audio/transcription. It also makes editing audio very simple, because you just have to edit the text to remove anything in the audio that is unnecessary. It's perfect for making concise clips edited down to what is important. The free trial lets you transcribe two hours of audio.

Vocalmatic is a web version of a transcriber. It works off your browser and you can upload audio or video to have it transcribed. The cost of transcription is between R420 to R1,050 an hour, but you can try out the quality of transcribing with their 30-minute free trial. You can choose your transcription to be subtitles for a video or with the default formatting that you may want to send out as minutes of a meeting. Once uploaded, the file is processed by the company and a script file is sent back. A five-minute audio file I uploaded took about four minutes for the text. Again, the text was not perfect, but it provided a base to work from.


If you aren't happy with the computer automatic transcriptions then you might want to get a human involved. Fiverr is a great place to find a human transcriber, who will actually listen to the audio and take down the notes that you need. It isn't the cheapest option in the world, but it will be a lot more accurate than the computer version. This, of course, depends on the talent you hire from there. You can get up to 30 minutes of time-stamped transcription done on the site for under Rs 400.

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First Published: 20 September, 2020 07:42 IST

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