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How do I convert an audio recording to text?

Updated February 21, 2017

Audio can be quickly converted to text using speech-to-text software, sometimes called "dictation software." Modern dictation software has been developed to the point that speech is recognised with an accuracy that will increase productivity. Typically, dictation software relies on the live broadcast into a microphone for dictation. However, there's a handy trick you can use to transfer an audio recording into a text document.

Purchase and install your dictation software. This type of software is typically relatively pricey for a reliable and accurate product, but the package you'll get is usually worth it. Some dictation software to consider includes Dragon Dictation, MacSpeech, and Turbo Dictation.

Plug one end of the 1/8-inch stereo audio cable into the headphone jack on your computer.

Plug the other end of the 1/8-inch stereo audio cable into the microphone jack on your computer.

Change the input of your dictation software to the "Line in" option. The specific method for changing this setting differs from program to program, but this option is usually found in the Input tab of the Preferences window.

Start the dictation software.

Play the audio recording from the program in which it resides (iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc.).

Once the recording is finished, you'll have a full text transcription of your audio recording that will be much more efficiently referenced than the recording itself.

Things You'll Need

  • Dictation software
  • 1/8-inch male-to-male stereo audio cable
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About the Author

Scott Danielson has been writing since 2004. He has written for music blogs, most notably Edison's Wax Cylinder. Danielson has a Bachelor of Arts in communication from Ohio University.