This year, I’ve decided to go all-in on any service or device that will make me more productive, without worrying if it has some small cost. For the past two months, I have been using Otter.ai, which is a service that will transcribe audio and video files into text. After a simple setup to integrate with Dropbox, I have an excellent system for turning audio and video files into Microsoft Word and PDF files.
I now have an “Otter” folder in Dropbox. When I drag audio and video into this folder, Otter.ai detects the new file and transcribes it. About 45 minutes later, I receive a message that the audio has been transcribed. A text file of the transcription is now in that same dropbox folder! You can select other formats for delivery to your dropbox, and you can log in to the otter.ai interface if you later decide that you want a word file, pdf, etc.
This service works for all sorts of recordings. Zoom recordings, podcasts, downloaded youtube videos, voice memos, etc.
I’ve used Otter.ai for all of these and to transcribe podcasts on which I have appeared, pulling out my excellent insights (ok, mediocre insights) and turning them into posts on medium.
One of the books that I review below (Post-Corona by Scott Galloway) was developed this way. Galloway took all of his podcast interviews, media appearances, and lectures transcribed to text and then used another piece of software to bring together related paragraphs based on terms and frequency of use. Voila! Galloway had created a rough draft, and he went to work editing. In two months, he was able to “write” a best-selling book.
As an educator, I somehow lucked into a huge discount ($50 per year). Higher paid plans include additional features, including live transcription of zoom calls.
Web Link: https://otter.ai/
J. Scott Christianson is a technologist and an Associate Teaching Professor of management at the Trulaske College of Business, where his interests are focused on the impact of technology on society. You can connect with him on his website, LinkedIn, Twitter, or by following his newsletter, The Free-Range Technologist.