How to Transcribe Audio to Text on Mac

Transcription helps people from all walks of life. We work with millions of journalists, content creators, and students around the world. Our experience confirms they rely on transcriptions for a large amount of their work.

A huge benefit of transcriptions is that it makes audio content searchable. There may be one key sentence in a 5-hour audio recording that you need to reference. Instead of having to skip through hours and hours of content, you can save some time. Simply search for the keywords you’re looking for continue your work.

In this article, we’re going to outline how to transcribe audio to text on Mac. By the end, you’ll be ready to convert any length of audio to text easily and effectively.

There are four different ways you can transcribe audio on Mac with

  1. Mac Dictation

  2. YouTube’s Free Video Transcript Tool

  3. Google Docs Audio Transcription

  4. Notta Web App

Let’s take a look at each method.

How to Transcribe Audio to Text with Mac Dictation

The great thing about this method is that Apple Dictation comes pre-installed on your Mac. This is the most readily available method for beginners to transcription. You can use the internal mic on your Mac to transcribe the audio.

Step 1: Open your ‘System Preferences’ on your Mac. Type “dictation” into the search bar and click on ‘Dictation.’

A red arrow pointing at the Dictation option

Step 2: Tick ‘On’ to turn dictation on. A window will pop up. Click ‘Enable Dictation’ then choose your shortcut key to activate dictation.

Two red arrows, one pointing at the On option and one pointing at the shortcut key option

Step 3: Open the ‘Notepad’ App and create a new note. Double-tap your shortcut key to activate dictation. When you start speaking into your computer’s microphone, it will type the words you say on the screen.

A screenshot of Apple Dictation transcribing voice to text

It’s pretty simple, with minimal hardware required, but it’s not the most accurate method. There will be a ton of editing required if you have a lot of audio. You’ll want to explore other methods if you're transcribing long-form content.

How to Transcribe Audio to Text with YouTube’s Free Video Transcript Tool

YouTube has automatic transcription built into most videos on its platform. Here’s how to access it:

Step 1: Click ‘More’ (...) near the bottom right corner of the video.

A red arrow pointing at the More button

Step 2: Click ‘Show Transcript.’

A red arrow pointing at the Show transcript button

Step 3: YouTube will redirect you to the description of the video. Click ‘Show Transcript’.

A red arrow pointing at the Show transcript button

Step 4: View your transcript to the right of the video.

A screenshot of the YouTube transcript

The cool thing about this is that it has timestamps for each line in the video. Unfortunately, these are not editable. You’ll have to copy and paste them into a word document. They also do not identify speakers.

How to Transcribe Audio to Text with Google Docs Audio Transcription

Google Docs includes a tool called “Voice Typing”. It uses your computer’s microphone to transcribe audio. Let’s look at how to use it:

Step 1: Open a new Google Doc and click Tools > Voice Typing or press Command + Shift + S.

A red arrow pointing at Voice typing

Step 2: A microphone will appear on the screen. Click the microphone to start voice typing.

A screenshot of the microphone in Google Docs

Step 3: Start speaking or playing audio, and Google Docs will transcribe the audio.

A screenshot of Google Docs Voice Typing transcribing speech

It’s extremely inaccurate, but it’s another quick method you can use in a pinch. The great thing about it is you can delete and add new words in real-time while it’s playing. However, that process is usually more work than it’s worth

How to Transcribe Audio to Text online with the Notta Web App

Step 1: Log into your Notta dashboard and select the transcription language.

Step 2: Click ‘Record an Audio’ on the toolbar to the right.

A red arrow pointing to the Record an Audio button

Step 3: Start speaking or playing audio and watch as it transcribes it in real-time.

A screenshot of Notta transcribing audio to text

Notta is the most accurate method out of all of the methods in this article. It uses advanced Natural Language Processing algorithms (NLP) to correctly identify the words you’re speaking. After you’re done, you can translate it into 100 different languages.

Frequently Asked Questions about Transcribing Video to Text on Mac

How to transcribe audio to text using a smartphone

Transcribing audio to text on your smartphone is much easier than it sounds:

Step 1: First, download the Notta app on the App Store or Google Play.

Step 2: Open the app, create a free account, and tap ‘New’ (+).

Step 3: Tap ‘Record Now’.

Step 4: Start speaking or playing your audio. Notta will transcribe your speech in real-time.

How to turn your speech into text

When working with speech, you want to get the best quality transcript possible. Whether you want searchable files, article quotes, or writer dictation, you’ll get the best results with Notta. Follow these steps using your Mac to turn the spoken word into written word!

Step 1: Log in to your Notta dashboard and select the transcription language.

Step 2: Click ‘Record an Audio.’

Step 2: Start speaking and watch as Notta transcribes your words to text.

How do I get the best audio transcription?

Transcription software uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to turn audio into text. It transforms audio waves into phonemes, which are the individual sounds that make up human language. In short, the way to get the best transcription is to give the software the best audio waves to work with. To achieve this:

  • Reduce background noise as much as possible

  • Get clear audio recordings by placing the microphone close to the speakers

  • Use quality equipment for the best audio

  • Record using high-quality media files

How to capture your audio and video files on a Mac

You can capture audio and video files easily on Mac using QuickTime. QuickTime isn’t only for watching videos. You can also record audio and video.

Here’s how to record audio:

Step 1: Open QuickTime. Click File > New Audio Recording.

Step 2: Press ‘Record,’ then play the audio file.

Here’s how to record a video:

Step 1: Open QuickTime. Click File > New Screen Recording.

Step 2: Adjust the crop to the size of the video you want to record. 

Step 3: Click ‘Record’ on the toolbar at the bottom of your screen.

Which apps convert audio to text on Mac?

There are a lot of apps available today that can convert audio to text on Mac. Some have more features than others. Some are also more accurate than others. The most popular apps for converting audio to text include:

  • Notta- AI transcription software with 98.86% accuracy.

  • Veed- Generate and add subtitles for your videos.

  • Happy Scribe- Automatic and human transcription services convert audio to text with 85-99% accuracy

  • Sonix- Voice-to-text conversion for audio and video

  • Otter - Generate voice meeting notes and transcribe audio

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there are a handful of ways you can transcribe speech and voice recordings on Mac. Sometimes, you have to work with what you have at the time and use less accurate methods. When you need top-notch accuracy, choose Notta.

Notta's incredible transcription software for Mac will convert speech and recorded audio to text instantly. Sign up for a free account today.

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