Can I use Dragon Dictate for Mac to transcribe MP3's of my dictation?
June 25, 2014 7:35 AM   Subscribe

So I'm trying to decide whether I'd prefer to send MP3s I dictate into a digital voice recorder to an overseas personal assistant to be transcribed or if there's some way to do so with technology. Even if it wasn't 100% exact I could still clean up the files later. So the question is: is there a way to do this? I have the latest version of Dragon Dictate for Mac and the files are digital. Is this possible?
posted by rileyray3000 to Technology (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Don't know about Dragon Dictate, but there's this: Dirty, Fast, and Free Audio Transcription with YouTube.
posted by O9scar at 7:40 AM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

From their website,

Powerful transcription
Dragon Dictate for Mac, version 4 now allows you to accurately transcribe an audio file of any single speaker’s voice from podcasts or pre-recorded audio files. Create transcription-only profiles to accurately transcribe based on recorded sources instead of requiring a live source for training.

Supported formats include MP3, MP4, M4A, M4V, WAV, AIF, and AIFF.
posted by Wilbefort at 10:37 AM on June 25, 2014

Yes, it is technically possible. But it's hard to say of the quality will make it worthwhile.

My experience with Dragon was that it did a pretty decent job of a single speaker (me) speaking clearly "dictation style." You can spend a lot of time in the setup training Dragon to recognize your accent and speech. That helps.

However, it was pretty useless at transcribing interviews -- casual speech with less clear enunciation and two speakers. Not happening.

If you say you already own Dragon Dictate - give it a shot with one of your files?
posted by pantarei70 at 11:04 AM on June 25, 2014

Not sure if the Mac's built-in dictation is any better or worse than Dragon, but maybe it's worth checking out.

More info here.
posted by John Kennedy Toole Box at 11:29 AM on June 25, 2014 [1 favorite]

Apple's Dictation app does not work with recordings, and it does not allow training and so is not as accurate as Dragon Dictate. I think it's based on the same technology, but Dragon's training really does make a difference.

The quality of the recorder and microphone will also contribute to how well this works.
posted by Wilbefort at 12:04 PM on June 25, 2014

Andy Baio's original method of MP3 transcription via Amazon Mechanical Turk is still pretty awesome, though now that Google Reader is no more, you have to replace the Reader audio player he used with something like SoundCloud. That method is what I use for my interviews, and I've taught my officemate how to use it, too. Downsides: It does cost a little money, and if your MP3 is more than five minutes long, you'll have to use a program to chop it up. But it works quite well if you have the patience to go through the steps to set it up.
posted by limeonaire at 8:29 PM on June 26, 2014

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