To transcribe audio and dictation can be a tedious and sometimes difficult task. Equipment to complete this task can be expensive, and even the most experienced transcriber can struggle with the demand of understanding every word spoken, and accurately conveying that in a document.

Did you know Google Docs has a simple solution that is free, easy and requires no fancy apps or equipment? We use this method regularly to transcribe audio from meeting notes, articles, blogs and more. We even use it while providing Web Design Consultation to customers.

Google Docs has a dictation tool built in called Voice Typing. As it comes pre-installed it requires no plugins, so the user is able to start using straight away. The tool listens to the user’s voice and transcribes it into the Google Doc, both quickly and accurately in an open punctuation style.

The tool is extremely intuitive and precise, being able to understand the difference between ‘two’ and ‘too’. It can also spell individual’s names such as Kyra Smith or Chris Johnson perfectly. What’s more, at the end of each sentence, the tool automatically corrects words it initially misheard. This means it reviews the sentence once completed. Google Voice Typing is able to identify words that make no sense, and understand there is an error in its understanding of what was said and self-correct. Google voice typing can learn to identify mannerisms in the user’s speech and adjust where necessary.

Other users have reported that the tool is not just accurate in English, but other languages as well.

How to Transcribe Audio Using Google Docs and Voice Typing.

As we mentioned, we have used this method for some time to transcribe quickly within Google Docs without using additional software or transcribing services. The simple process is to playback the recording via headphones and speaking the audio content back to Google Docs for transcribing.

Transcribing Audio With Voice Typing Requires a Quiet Space

The Voice Typing tool requires a quiet space, with very little background noise or interference from other people speaking.

Transcribing needs to be done by listening to the audio via earphones, and the user then speaking the words heard out loud. Currently, voice typing will not transcribe from a recording played via a phone speaker or computer speaker. For this reason, ensure voice typing only hears your own voice and not the recording. (** See below on more options to use different methods)

Open Google Docs to Voice Typing

Open Google Drive, select New, select Google Docs, select Blank Document. Note: an existing document can also be transcribed to, it is only in this example a new Google Doc is used.

Start Voice Typing Tool

Click on the Tools menu option and select Voice Typing. Once clicked, the Voice Typing button will appear on the left side of the Google Doc. Select your language for accurate voice transcribing. Yes, several different languages are available.

Transcribe Audio with Voice Typing

Play Audio File Using Headphones

The best way is to playback the audio files that need transcribing through your phone while using your headphones. Press play on your phone media player. You will be repeating what you hear into your computer’s microphone.

Click the Voice Typing Button to Start Transcribing

Now click on the Voice Typing button and begin to speak what is being heard from the headphones. The microphone icon will change to a red colour to indicate it is recording. As you speak, the Voice Tool will transcribe straight into Google Docs.

Voice Typing Google Docs

Some Extra Tips for Better Voice Transcribing

  • Do speak clearly and slightly louder than a normal conversation (no need to shout).
  • Don’t speak fast, although the tool is able to keep up with a user speaking quickly, it’s accuracy drops dramatically.
  • Don’t navigate to another window or close the Google Doc, otherwise, the Voice Tool will stop transcribing.
  • Do monitor the recording by checking that the Voice Typing button is red either to the left of the Google Doc or on the Google Doc window’s table within the internet browser.
  • Do watch along as speaking, sometimes a problem will occur and the tool may stop transcribing while your speaking.

Links and Other Options to Transcribe Audio with Google Docs

Learn More About Google Voice Typing

There are methods on the Internet where you can use the LINE IN and LINE OUT to send the audio back to your computer. How this works is to use a cable to plug into the back of the computer into the headphone jack and then back into the computer via the microphone jack. This way you will be playing the audio back into the computer for transcribing.

How to Automatically Transcribe Audio: Watch YouTube Video

From YouTube Comments “To use voice from files you must first enable the internal sound. Go to the sound icon in the taskbar, click on Recording, then right click the window, click on Show Disabled devices, then choose Stereo mixing and enable it.”