13 Transcription Tools For Professional Transcribers

Last updated on November 2, 2020

Transcription Tools For Professional Transcribers

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Online transcription is an interesting career.

As transcribers, we transcribe all sorts of things, from murder cases to sizzling interviews to motivating and inspirational podcasts.

But in every industry, there are tools that help with maximum productivity. Here are 13 tools for professional transcriptionists, most of which can be purchased from Amazon.

1. Express Scribe

Express Scribe is a well-known transcription tool. It is an audio player specifically designed for transcribers. It is made to be compatible with keyboard hotkeys, meaning that you can control it using the keyboard.

For example, Express Scribe has the following default keys: F4 – Stop, F8 – Fastforward, F9 -Play, F7 – Rewind.

It also works in conjunction with a foot pedal but the free version only supports the AltoEdge foot pedal.

There is a free and a paid version. The free version has 4 features: home and small business license permit, foot pedal support, DCT dictation and ability to play all major file formats. 

The paid version has extra features such as Sony recorder format support, large enterprise or government use permit, technical support, additional file formats such as AVI, WMV and MOV, to mention but a few.

There are other similar players such as Inqscribe and FTW. 

You can learn more about Express Scribe on Amazon if you want the pro version.

2. Foot Pedal

Infinity Foot Pedal

A foot pedal, also known as a WAV pedal, is exactly what it sounds like. It is set up in such a way that your feet can rewind, pause or play audio/video files. The concept here is that your hands focus on typing only.

It is a tool that a lot of professional transcriptionists use, to help speed up transcription work. 

There are two types of foot pedals: USB and Serial. These are differentiated by the connector (head) which is inserted into the computer.

However, USB models are easier to acquire while the use of serial ports is fast becoming outdated.

A well-known and trusted foot pedal is the Infinity USB Digital Foot Control with Computer plug (IN-USB2)

You can read more about the Infinity USB Foot pedal review

3. Freemake Audio Converter

This is a free tool used to convert audio files from one format to another.

As you have probably realized, some audio file formats work on certain devices but refuse to work on others. This amazing free software converts your audio to over 50 formats! For example, it can change MP3 to WAV and M4A to MP3.  

Some key audio formats you might use with this tool include MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC, AC3, M4R and AAC, and many more. 

4. Freemake Video Converter

This is an awesome tool that professional transcriptionists should have as part of their arsenal. 

It helps you convert one video format to another. It can also convert your videos into audio files.

Once you convert the video into an audio file, you can then load the audio file onto your free Express Scribe software. Remember the free ES version doesn’t support video files.

You can also use it to extract (download) videos from the web. Surprisingly, it supports over 500 formats and is absolutely free!

5.   Headphones

Yet another common tool for professional transcriptionists and one that is very important if you want to up your listening skills.

Purchasing a good quality headphone is a worthy investment. Check out this article to see some of the factors you need to consider when buying headphones.

Read also: Best headphones that you can buy going for $50 and below

6. Ergonomic Chair

You may not be enjoying your freelance transcription career as much as you should be, simply because you do not have this vital transcription equipment.

If you want to make hours and hours of typing away at your PC comfortable and enjoyable, you need an ergonomic chair!

A good ergonomic chair:

  • helps with lower back support
  • promotes good posture
  • prevents muscle fatigue
  • allows for proper blood circulation

A bad seat will harm your back and increase the risks of developing cardiovascular complications!

The qualities of an ergonomic chair are:

  • It ‘embraces’ your back naturally (takes the natural shape of your back)
  • Its height is adjustable so you can set your best position
  • It has comfortable armrests so you don’t tire out from hanging your arms in the air
  • The seat is padded (not too hard) so you don’t get numb
  • It extends up to your neck

I hope you plan on investing in an ergonomic chair soon. 

7.  DFX Audio

The DFX Audio Enhancer is a tool for improving audio quality. Once installed, it can reduce background noise, increase the volume of the audio, give the audio file a more crisp quality and allow you to adjust the audio between different controls. Here’s how to use the DFX tool.

Another helpful tool is Adobe Audition

8.  Slice Audio File Splitter

Yes, this is also a transcription tool. You can use it to slice audio files!

If you have a team of transcribers, and you want to send bits of a 2-hour audio file so that they can send the transcripts back quickly, this is a tool that will come in handy. 

You can choose to slice the audio files into several segments, say 2 or 3 segments or according to duration, eg 20-minute duration.

Again, if your audio has long periods of silence in between, it can detect them and cut out the silence, helping you to work faster.   

9. Audacity

Audacity is yet another free audio editing and recording software.

It can be used to record live audio, convert records in digital formats, as well as clean up audio recordings.  I use it to merge audio recordings that some of my clients send me, into one.

Use it where it fits best. 

10. Dragon NaturallySpeaking Premium 13

There comes a time in a transcriber’s life, every once in a while, when they aren’t able to transcribe files due to a cold or lethargy brought about by burnout. If you have short files that need to be transcribed, Dragon Naturally Speaking will come in handy.

The dragon naturally software recognizes speech and automatically converts it into text. 

On average, DNS will speed up your transcription speed by up to 6 times. Once done, you can go through the word document it creates and correct the minor errors or format it as you wish.  

Of course, you cannot compare it to human transcription, and that is why I talked about using Dragon Naturally Speaking to transcribe short files, because they’ll be a bit of editing to do thereafter. 

Here’s a video that shows you how to transcribe using Dragon. 

Another tool that is almost similar is VoiceBase, an automated transcription tool. I sometimes use it to transcribe short files too. 

11. Internet Download Manager

If you’ve been an internet user for a while, you will agree that slow internet or prolonged downloads can be very annoying!

Raise your hand if you once tried to download a file, only for the power to go off.

With the IDM software, you can increase download speeds by up to five times and the software can also resume downloading any unfinished downloads.

This minute program will prompt you to grab audio, video, or document files on web pages that you visit.

As such, when a client sends you a large audio or video file, once you open the page with the attachment, the IDM will pop up, asking to download the file.

A huge advantage of IDM is that it downloads files very fast! There is a free  30-day trial after which you will be prompted to buy IDM. 

12. WinZip

WinZip is a tiny yet very mandatory software to have on your PC. It is used to compress files. For example, you can put 5 MP3 files into a folder, use WinZip to compress them and put them into a single folder.

While you might not need to compress any files, you will need this software to unzip or extract Zip files. If a client sends you Zip files containing 10 audio files, you’ll need to have WinZip installed to access the compressed files.

If a client sends you Zip files containing 10 audio files, you’ll need to have WinZip installed to access the compressed files. There is a free 30-day trial after which you will be prompted to buy it. 

 Buy WinZip 17 Standard. for only $29.95

13. Grammarly

Finally, we have Grammarly.

Grammarly is one of the leading grammar checker software in the world.

Writers, editors, transcribers and even tutors use it to detect and correct grammatical errors in text. You can install it as a Chrome extension.

Once installed, it will highlight erroneous text in red. Additionally, it will give suggestions on how to correct it. Ideally, you use this in clean verbatim transcription jobs or when writing podcast show notes for your clients.

It is particularly useful when you have used software to convert audio to text.

Remember that good grammar is essential if you are to submit client-ready transcripts.

Final Words

Transcription is like masonry. You might possess the skill but without a hammer, wheelbarrow, concrete mixer, spirit level and crane, you can never make any good of it.

Get these 13 transcription tools and enjoy your transcription career to the full.

Happy transcribing!

About the author

Virginia Nakitari is a work from home mom passionate about making money online. She's here to show you legitimate companies offering full-time, part-time and remote jobs from home! Stay tuned!

  • You did it again!
    this is a handy package for transcribers, expressed word for word, in the simplest language.

    I hope new (and continuing) transcribers learn a thing from it.

    All the best as you help more freelancers 🙂

    • Too obvious huh? 🙂 You would be amazed to learn how many newbie transcribers think that using the speakers on their laptop is enough to help with listening to an audio, all the way through.

  • Wow!! What an article? A real eye opener and just at the very time I needed to put together all the tools I need for my freelancing. Thanks Sheeroh.

    Am I allowed to add a 14th tool? – SMK – The best resource for learning all their is about transcription. I am where I am with transcription because of you. GOD BLESS YOU ABUNDANTLY.

  • Thanks so much sharing, this is all useful info.

    One thing i want to add though is there is another software called Wavepad it is like Audacity.

    I am using that and it works almost same.

    Keep sharing 🙂

  • Hi, Sheeroh.

    Hope I`m not infringing or breaking any comment rules here.

    Any transcriber interested in purchasing the Dragon Natural Speaking tool so hat we can co-share on the cost? From the reviews on Amazon, it can be installed on more than 4 laptops. Comment below.

  • Awesome Sheeroh – spot on – I look forward to your articles always well written and very very informative Really helpful for us budding freelancers. Thank you for sharing and meet with you soon

  • Hi Ruth. This is my first time to hear from you after searching for quite long. I will soon get in touch for more assistance.

  • Hi Sheeroh for this informative piece,

    Im currently a newbie at Castingwords and almost giving up, but with the knowledge you have shared i hope to improve.

  • Thank you Sheeroh, just finished reading this. It is really helpful. The more I read your articles the more I get encouraged. Am at that step where what remains is “just taking the plunge” so-to-speak, and begin. Great article.

  • Thank you for this so-useful information specific for a transcriptionist. I have spent hours reading manuals and websites only to find out they were written for record producers and movie makers. Interesting, but not useful to the “simple” stuff I want to do. I will try each thing you have suggested. Thanks, again, Sheeroh.

    • I know right? It’s usually info on apps that are journalist, recorder or movie-maker friendly but very little on WAH transcribers. That’s why I decided to compile this list. Glad you liked it!

  • Sheeroh, Thanks so much for your article. I feel I need to meeti you in person the next time I am in Nairobi. I wish for you to be my mentor. You are such an awesome instructor and very resourceful. I live in Uganda, and need as much support as I can.

  • Thanks Sheeroh for this article. I have been thinking of starting a transcription journey but i dint know where to start. Now with this info there is some hope. I plan to acquire the tools one at a time. Eventually i will be where most of you are. God bless you abundantly. When am set be sure i will come knocking at your door again Sheeroh, for more guidance on my newbie steps.

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