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Audio / Speech to text (with free tiers)

Prior to Covid I was never far from my Livescribe pen and notebook. The Livescribe pen enables me to take notes while it records the audio in the room. Following the meeting at the tap of the nib on a word the audio is played back from the moment the tapped word was written. My written notes were digitised and converted into text I then copy and paste the text into a google doc. On the occasion I needed the full transcription I’d export the audio file from the pen and import it to Otter. 

Otter was also an app I’d run on my phone and with permission of the room, I’d capture full transcripts while using my Livescribe pen for notes.

Then came Covid. My pen was rendered useless as I wore headphones for video calls. Early on as I familiarised myself with Zoom and its settings I discovered Zoom could connect to Otter for live transcription and in turn provided in a side by side browser window captions for deaf, hard of hearing and those ‘listening’ with audio off or turned right down.

Over the course of the Lockdown Otter evolved to provide on-screen subtitles. For me, its major use has been to provide a record and transcribe my meetings.
It’s pretty accurate. However, I have discovered we are not! Transcription for presentations with intended even partly rehearsed, structured speech renders full sentences. Free thought discussions and conversations I have found flip mid-sentence between future and present tenses. People frequently do not complete sentences or infer a list and then fail to fulfil the points.

My solution within my workflow which facilitates closed captions as a service in my work uses Otter’s business tier. The tiers are Basic (free) Pro and Business. The free tier does not connect to Zoom and importing audio for transcription is limited to 3 before an upgrade is required.




You can use the Basic free plan of Otter as long as you'd like, but there are a few usage limits to keep in mind.

  • Transcription limit - Up to 600 minutes per month
  • Transcription duration- Up to 40 minutes per transcription
  • File imports- Import up to three audio or video files

Best #voicenote tool EVER. IMHO (in my humble opinion), 600 free #transcription minutes a month!

Here is the CC 1 month free trial code - “OTTER_TRIAL

Here are alternative options.

If you are a Microsoft 360 user Word has a speech to text and audio import for transcription built-in.



FREE - 300 minutes (5 hours) of audio per month

Just a note about how awesome Otter’s customer support is. In the early days of covid when I first used Otter to provide CC in Zoom Webinar, an Otter support rep joined my webinar rehearsal and actually talked me through the set up when I was struggling. They are fast to respond to support requests and meticulously follow up.

Let me know your solution. Any further question please comment below.