Saving time and effort with Notta, starting from today!
Attending lectures requires your full attention to make the most of the material. But you often can't write notes quickly enough. If you’re hard of hearing or a non-native speaker, the audio or video lecture might not be easy to understand without written prompts.
Come exam time, you’ve misunderstood a theory or simply not had enough detailed research to fully grasp the subject. Your notes are incomplete and you’re left feeling frustrated and stressed.
Have you ever considered skipping making notes altogether? Recording and transcribing lectures allows you to be fully present and actively listen during lectures. The right app to record lectures and convert them to text summarizes the key points for you and keeps them for future reference.
Keep reading as I list the 10 best apps for this purpose, including the pros, cons, and features to look out for.
|Free plan, paid starts at $8.25/month
|Live recording, file upload
|$1.50 per minute for human, $0.25 per minute for AI
|Up to 99%
|21 for AI
|Live recording, Meeting recording, Chrome extension, URL, and file upload
|$0.79 per minute for human, $0.07 per minute for AI
|$0.25 per minute
|Up to 99%
|File upload, live stream
|Live recording, meeting recording, file upload
|Meeting recording, file upload
|File upload, live recording
It’s vital you record accurate information from your lectures to avoid misunderstanding the topic. No machine transcription is 100% accurate, but make sure you choose a tool that understands different accents and languages.
When you need to digest or review a lot of information from lectures, it can take a lot of time to process transcript text. If you need the text to support the audio or video from class because you’re hard of hearing or learning in a second language, opt for a tool that can transcribe in real time. Machine transcription is much quicker than human transcriptionists.
Just reading a transcript of a lecture isn’t enough to retain information. Often, you’ll need to highlight important points, add your own comments, or even just correct the mistranscribed text. A good tool should have some basic editing settings to let you add notes and images to support the text.
Put simply, if an app is too tricky to learn, you’ll abandon it. Pick a transcription tool that’s simple to use and won't slow down your dictation during a lecture.
Best for transcribing lectures in various formats
For recording lectures in person and online, Notta provides fast, accurate transcription using advanced speech recognition technology. In class, record the lecture using your microphone. If you’re in a group call, the Notta Bot transcribes the entire meeting and separates individual speakers. If you’re watching pre-recorded lectures, then either upload the files to Notta if you have them or record the browser audio with our Chrome extension. My favorite feature is the ability to edit the transcript and add notes and images to support the text in a few clicks.
Transcribe in 104 languages
Translate transcript into 42 languages
Notta can produce up to 98.86% accuracy with high-quality audio
Your uploads and transcripts sync across all platforms in real-time
Notta AI provides a summary, chapters, and action points based on your transcript
You can record live audio, and virtual meetings, and upload audio and video files
Lots of export options including TXT, PDF, and DOCX among others
You need to be connected to the internet to transcribe audio—there’s no offline option
Notta is available for Web, Android, iOS, and a Chrome Extension.
Try Notta - the best online transcription & summarization tool. Transcribe and summarize your conversations and meetings quickly with high accuracy.
Best for fast recording and pay-as-you-go human transcription
Rev’s voice recorder tool is completely free to use and records from your microphone via your browser. There’s no setup required, besides plugging in your mic and pressing record. This could be ideal for dictating those last-minute classes with very little prep. You can download the MP3 to your device after you’re done.
The transcription part is separate, although you can click to send your recording straight to a transcriptionist for an extra fee. I like that you can trim the recorded audio before you send it to be transcribed, saving money by cutting out the parts you don't need to convert into text. If you prefer a cheaper, automatic transcription, you can upload the audio file from your device instead.
No sign-up is required to record and download your audio
Up to 99% accuracy with a human transcriptionist
You can see the turnaround time on the checkout page before you buy
Option for human and AI transcription
You won’t know how much your transcription costs until you’ve recorded the audio
It’s an online service so you’ll need an internet connection
You can’t edit your transcription once it’s complete
Rev recommends using Google Chrome on Android and Desktop or Safari on iPhone. There’s also an app that does the same thing, for Android and iOS.
Best for collaborating with others on pre-recorded audio or video
If you’re watching pre-recorded lectures and want fast transcription to help with your studies, choosing Happy Scribe’s AI transcription could be the way to go. Although the accuracy isn’t quite as high as other tools, there’s no limit on the length of your audio or video file, making it a good choice for lengthier classes. If you’re studying with others, you can collaborate and add notes and changes to the text in real-time just by toggling sharing on or off from the settings.
There are over 120 transcription languages, accents, and dialects
Lots of export options
Human and AI transcription options
No limit to file size or length for transcribing lectures
AI transcription includes a personalized glossary—great for dictating classes with specialist vocabulary like medical or legal
Machine transcription only provides 85% accuracy
Human transcription is pricey for longer class recordings, at $2.00 per minute
No option to record and dictate live audio
Happy Scribe recommends using Google Chrome on a desktop computer.
Best for the highest accuracy dictation, if you’re not pressed for time
Unlike many transcription services, TranscribeMe uses both AI and human transcription in its process. They take your audio or video file, use speech recognition software, and then have one of a pool of over 2 million transcriptionists ensure that it’s accurate before sending it back to you. If you’re not in a rush, this is a great option for high-quality lecture dictation with a pay-as-you-go pricing format.
Guaranteed 99% accuracy with AI and human hybrid transcription
Machine transcription is available at a much lower cost
Different levels of transcription quality available to alter the turnaround time and price
Download multiple transcripts at once via the portal
There are no speaker labels for automated transcription
Verbatim transcription is pricey at $2.00 per audio minute
Not many formats are available for exporting your transcript
No option to record live audio
TranscribeMe is a browser-based service, so use Google Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari for the best results. There’s also an app for Android and iOS.
Best for no-nonsense, quick transcription of English lectures
If you’re only using transcription every so often and you don’t want the long wait that comes with human transcription, Temi offers pay-as-you-go automatic transcription. While it only supports English right now, the simple editing interface and fast turnaround time of just a few minutes make it a wise choice if you don't need anything fancy. I love the mobile app for recording snippets of a lecture for transcribing later on.
All audio and video file types are accepted
Clean, simple editing interface
Transcription takes a few minutes
Record live audio via the mobile app
Pay-as-you-go pricing might make long lectures expensive to transcribe
Accuracy is questionable on files with heavy accents
Only supports English
Temi is a web-based service, so use Chrome, Firefox, Safari, or Edge for best results. You can also download a free mobile app on Android and iOS.
Best for transcribing classes and meetings if you use Webex exclusively
If your lectures are based on Webex, the AI assistant is a great option for capturing the audio and video and converting it into text. You’ll have the option to view the transcript in real-time alongside the video or download it after class is over. You’ll need a paid subscription to use these features, but it might be worth it if you use Webex exclusively (or it gets pricey for features you’ll likely never use). I’m impressed with the advanced keyword search—if you’re studying or conducting research, finding specific discussions is easy, without trawling through long videos.
Voice commands allow you to perform actions during a lecture without typing or clicking
AI creates a post-meeting recap with highlights and action items from your lecture
Transcription available in real-time
Download the audio, video, and transcript text after the meeting ends
Advanced keyword search
You’ll need an enterprise account for transcriptions and recaps in other languages
Expensive compared to other options
No way to upload audio or video files for dictating pre-recorded lectures
Webex is based in your browser, so use Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari.
Best for transcribing live classes
Trint dictates your lectures, either from an audio or video file you upload or by recording in your browser. It’s another good option if you’re looking to collaborate with others in a team or class, as you can share your transcript and everyone can make their notes in real-time. I was most impressed with the ability to sync Trint up to a live stream, either by pulling the audio from the stream’s URL or by integrating it into streaming software like OBS. For live, online classes, this can provide almost zero latency transcripts.
Record lectures live from your smartphone
Customize your personal dictionary
Live streaming feed integration to create transcripts in a few seconds
Record audio and video in your browser
Wide range of export options
Mobile app only works for enterprise customers
It’s expensive compared with competitors with similar features
Trint recommends using Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, and Edge. There’s also an app for recording on the go for enterprise users, available for iOS and Android.
Best for summarizing long lectures
Otter is designed with recording online meetings in mind. This works really well with online lectures and classes, as you can invite Otter Pilot to join calls in Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams. AI records and transcribes the whole conversation and can summarize specific points for you. Otter stands apart from other lecture transcription tools because of the clever conversational AI tool. Ask Otter any question about the class you recorded and using language learning, and it’ll reply with answers in plain English. This can be a huge help when revising!
Works in Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams
Record using your microphone for in-person classes
Option to automatically transcribe files when added to Dropbox
Filler words are ignored during transcription for clearer comprehension
Only supports US and UK English
Slow transcription for long lectures, taking at least as long as the file duration
Otter is best with Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge on desktop, and Android and iOS for the Otter app.
Best for making clips of transcribed meetings
Tl;dv is a smart choice for accurately capturing lectures in Google Meet, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams. There are free and paid plans that record your meetings, transcribe them into over 30 languages, and save them to your account for future reference. You can even integrate it into your favorite apps to save and share clips of videos. I use Notion for note-taking, so I love that it’s a few clicks to import clips and transcripts with ease. It's a no-fuss app that works well with the most popular meeting platforms for those live classes you want to save for later.
Clip moments of your recording to share or save
Timestamp videos for later reference
Search for keywords in previous recordings
Records audio and video in high-quality
No option to record using your microphone without being in a meeting
For Google Meet, you can download the Chrome extension. To dictate meetings in Zoom or MS Teams, you can download the desktop version of tl;dv for macOS and Windows.
Best for transcribing video files
VEED is a suite of tools made for creators, but its transcription features work quite well for dictating lectures and classes. You can upload video or audio files, and even record live from your microphone to add to a project. My favorite feature is that you can combine existing files and new recordings together, which is helpful if you need to support a video with extra information. In a few moments, you can view and edit the transcript text. When you’re ready, download the transcript file.
Add real-time recordings from your microphone to existing video and audio content
VEED can translate your transcript into over 100 languages
Transcription is fast and accurate
Complicated video editor interface, even when you just want a plain text transcript
You can't download transcripts without a paid plan
VEED is a web-based tool, so use Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.
Your individual needs will determine which is the best app for recording and transcribing lectures. However, we’d of course recommend Notta—it offers 104 transcription languages, up to 98.86% accuracy, live recording, browser audio, and meeting transcription in real-time, plus lightning-fast processing. What’s not to love?
Here’s how Notta converts your lecture recordings into text.
Log into Notta and visit your Dashboard page.
Click ‘Import files’ and drag and drop the lecture recording from your device, or provide a YouTube, Dropbox, or Drive URL.
Click the name of the file in ‘Recent Recordings’ to view the full transcript text.
Using Notta, you can summarize a voice recording once you’ve created a transcript. Click the ‘magic wand’ icon to generate an AI summary. It’ll condense the main points from your transcript into chapters and action points.
Most transcription software allows you to upload an audio or video file for transcription. For example, with Notta, click ‘Import files’ and drag the call recording from your device into the popup window. In a few moments, your full transcript is ready to view.
You can record directly from your microphone into a Google Doc to transcribe a recording. Open a Google Doc, then find ‘Voice Typing’ in the Tools menu. Plug in your microphone and click the ‘Microphone’ icon to start dictating.
There are many transcription tools to choose from, each with its own unique features. It’s important to weigh up the pros and cons we’ve listed in this guide and try out the free trials to test them in the real world. My final piece of advice is to always try your best to upload as high-quality an audio or video file as you can for the most accurate results. Many lectures start off with long periods of silence, crosstalk, or unintelligible speech, so if you’re paying per minute, or your plan limits your uploaded file length, use a tool to cut these down so you only transcribe what you need.