Best 10 Apps to Record Lectures and Convert to Text

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.

List of Best Apps to Record Lectures and Convert to Text

Price Accuracy Languages Transcription Methods Screen Recording
Notta Free plan, paid starts at $8.25/month 98.86% 104 Live recording, file upload Yes
Happy Scribe $10/month 85% 119 Yes Yes
Rev $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 Yes
TranscribeMe $0.79 per minute for human, $0.07 per minute for AI 99% 15 File upload No
Temi $0.25 per minute 90-95% 1 File upload No
Webex Assistant $12/month - 100 Live meeting Yes
Trint $40/month Up to 99% 32 File upload, live stream Yes
Otter $10/month - 1 Live recording, meeting recording, file upload Yes
tl;dv $20/month 96% 35 Meeting recording, file upload Yes
VEED $10/month 95% 100+ File upload, live recording Yes

What Makes a Great Lecture Transcription Tool?

Accuracy

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.

Speed

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.

Ability to Edit and Add Notes

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.

Easy To Learn

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.

The 10 Best Apps to Record and Transcribe Lectures

1. Notta

Best for transcribing lectures in various formats

Notta

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.

Notta Advantages

  • 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

Notta Drawbacks

  • You need to be connected to the internet to transcribe audio—there’s no offline option

Available Devices

Notta is available for Web, Android, iOS, and a Chrome Extension.

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2. Rev Voice Recorder

Best for fast recording and pay-as-you-go human transcription

Record directly onto Rev to get AI or 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.

Rev Advantages

  • No sign-up is required to record and download your audio

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing

  • 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

Rev Drawbacks

  • 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

Available Devices

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.

3. Happy Scribe

Best for collaborating with others on pre-recorded audio or video

Upload audio and video to get AI transcription with Happy Scribe

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.

Happy Scribe Advantages

  • 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

Happy Scribe Drawbacks

  • 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

Available Devices

Happy Scribe recommends using Google Chrome on a desktop computer.

4. TranscribeMe

Best for the highest accuracy dictation, if you’re not pressed for time

High-quality human-AI hybrid transcription with TranscribeMe

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.

TranscribeMe Advantages

  • 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

TranscribeMe Drawbacks

  • 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

Available Devices

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.

5. Temi

Best for no-nonsense, quick transcription of English lectures

Fast automatic transcripts with Temi

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.

Temi Advantages

  • All audio and video file types are accepted

  • Clean, simple editing interface

  • Transcription takes a few minutes

  • Record live audio via the mobile app

Temi Drawbacks

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing might make long lectures expensive to transcribe

  • Accuracy is questionable on files with heavy accents

  • Only supports English

Available Devices

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.

6. Webex Assistant (previously Voicea)

Best for transcribing classes and meetings if you use Webex exclusively

Webex Assistant transcribes meetings in real-time

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.

Webex Assistant Advantages

  • 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

Webex Assistant Drawbacks

  • 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

Available Devices

Webex is based in your browser, so use Chrome, Firefox, Edge, or Safari.

7. Trint

Best for transcribing live classes

Collaborate on lecture transcripts with others in real time

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.

Trint Advantages

  • 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

Trint Drawbacks

  • Mobile app only works for enterprise customers

  • It’s expensive compared with competitors with similar features

Available Devices

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.

8. Otter

Best for summarizing long lectures

Dictate video lectures in real-time with Otter Pilot

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!

Otter Advantages

  • 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

Otter Drawbacks

  • Only supports US and UK English

  • Slow transcription for long lectures, taking at least as long as the file duration

Available Devices

Otter is best with Google Chrome, Safari, Firefox, and Edge on desktop, and Android and iOS for the Otter app.

9. Tl;dv

Best for making clips of transcribed meetings

Transcribe Google Meet and Zoom lectures with tl;dv

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.

Tl;dv Advantages

  • 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

Tl;dv Drawbacks

  • No option to record using your microphone without being in a meeting

Available Devices

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.

10. VEED

Best for transcribing video files

Upload audio and video from lectures to automatically transcribe with VEED

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.

VEED Advantages

  • 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

VEED Drawbacks

  • Complicated video editor interface, even when you just want a plain text transcript

  • You can't download transcripts without a paid plan

Available Devices

VEED is a web-based tool, so use Chrome, Edge, Firefox, or Safari.

FAQs about Recording and Transcribing Lectures

What is the Best Recording and Transcribing App?

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?

How Do I Convert Lecture Recordings to Text?

Here’s how Notta converts your lecture recordings into text.

  1. Log into Notta and visit your Dashboard page.

  2. Click ‘Import files’ and drag and drop the lecture recording from your device, or provide a YouTube, Dropbox, or Drive URL.

  3. Click the name of the file in ‘Recent Recordings’ to view the full transcript text.

How do I Summarize a Voice Recording?

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.

How do I Convert a Call Recording to Text?

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.

Can Google Transcribe a Recording?

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.

In Summary

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.

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