What's your favorite AI transcription service?
June 13, 2023 12:32 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking to have some of my online course lectures transcribed for students that want to read them instead of watching them, but I don't have the time or willpower to do it myself. Thanks for your advice!
posted by Fister Roboto to Technology (10 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Depending on your course, AI transcription may range from middling to hilarious in its uselessness. I had to insist that the department hire a graduate student to fix all the errors in the AI generated captions for my (physics, intermediate-level undergrad) course.

If you're an academic, then I would heavily suggest hiring an hourly worker who knows your field (either an undergrad or grad). This goes double if you have a non-midwestern-American accent.
posted by nat at 1:15 PM on June 13, 2023 [6 favorites]

If you use any kind of automated transcription service you WILL need to either edit it to fix errors yourself, or hire someone to do so.

That being said, I successfully use Whisper frequently. That blog post also goes into some detail regarding the ethics of using it.
posted by brainwane at 1:19 PM on June 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

I have used Otter for a while and it works fine for interviews - but I always check the audio for exact quotes. You could pay once and run your whole lecture series through it, then you can read through them and do a bit of editing, or pay someone just to do that part.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:18 PM on June 13, 2023

I've had good luck with both Vienna Scribe (iOS) and Aiko on the Mac.

Scribe costs $99 per year and runs the transcription on their servers (quickly), while Aiko is free and runs on your own hardware much more slowly. Both apps are based on the same underlying Whisper model (I think) and offer similar levels of accuracy. They are impressive for automated transcription but still not perfect. (You'll still need to do some editing afterwords.)
posted by dyslexictraveler at 2:26 PM on June 13, 2023

A tangential suggestion... If you are recording lectures in Zoom or Teams ... folks watching the lecture may find the transcription a useful way to navigate between different sections in the lecture (Zoom example).

Otter.ai has an integration with Zoom. My experience with otter.ai is that it's better than Zoom's default, but far from perfect.
posted by oceano at 3:09 PM on June 13, 2023 [1 favorite]

The request should be submitted to the disability access department of your institution. This should be PAID work done by a HUMAN. People who need a transcript should not have lesser access, and trust there is *no* good AI transcription right now. Please please put this through the proper channels and have real transcripts made. A student may need to make the request depending on your particular institution.
posted by Bottlecap at 4:16 PM on June 13, 2023 [15 favorites]

Seconding Whisper - I'm a big fan.
posted by kristi at 5:42 PM on June 13, 2023

I've been using Vowel for meetings. It even lets you query it GPT style about past meetings/transcripts.
posted by bitter_rabbit at 8:35 PM on June 13, 2023

I would very much recommend Academic Audio Transcription, billed to your institution.
posted by lokta at 10:57 AM on June 14, 2023

If you have any concerns or interests in your lectures as your or your employer's intellectual property, you should pay close attention to the terms of service and policies of any tool or service you are interested in using. I used the transcription tool in Word in my university's Office365 subscription to transcribe interviews I did this fall not because it's the best transcription tool - it's perfectly serviceable with some nice formatting options - but because my university already has an agreement with Microsoft to protect our intellectual property and data.
posted by ElKevbo at 4:50 PM on June 14, 2023

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