Where can I find software that to convert a recording into typed text on on a computer running XP

Anonymous January 20, 2014
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I am looking for a program that has speech-to-text conversion capabilities.
I have a record that needs to be transcribed but it is already on the computer and I want it put into a text doc. Is there anything that may be able to help me with that? Free would be great and it needs to work on XP.


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  1. Oron J
    January 20, 2014 at 11:29 am

    The short answer is that I don't think you'll find quite what you're looking for.. The longer answer is...

    There are various speech recognition packages out there many of which will run on Windows XP. Have a look at this Wikipedia article, and in particular check the Open Source section.

    That said, what you need is continuous speech recognition (i.e. "Dictation", rather than issuing commands to the computer), which only a handful of programs will do. The best known, and possibly the best, are Nuance's Dragon Dictate and Dragon Natuarally Speaking, which are fairly costly. Those programs need to be trained in the voice of the speaker (usually by getting you to read a page or two of text). They also tend to lag behind the speech, so need to "rise up for air" periodically which can really slow down the process (this depends greatly on your hardware, of course). The end result is that unless your recording is of your own voice, you probably won't be able to get a decent automatic conversion to suit your needs.

    Another approach you could try would be to upload the recording to Youtube as a video (the video component can be blank, of course), and get Google's automatic captioning do the conversion for you (click on the "cc" icon at the bottom right to find the option). In my experience (with real videos), the accuracy is far too low to be of practical use, but it's an entertaining experience, and who knows - it may work better for your recording!

    Finally, if you can't find an automatic tool to do the job, there are a few excellent packages that facilitate the process of transcribing. I can personally recommend Express Scribe (NCH software) and F4 (audiotranskription.de), both of which are free and do a similar job. They facilitate transcription by allowing you to slow down the voice (without changing its pitch), control start/stop with pedals (or in the case of the second program, with the F4 key), rewind the voice a little when resuming, so you can catch up, and so on. I've installed it in an academic environment and found the users were very happy with this solution, so it may well work for you too.