Answered By: Emily Gilbert, Health Sciences Librarian
Last Updated: Jan 09, 2019     Views: 2

The best free and reliable way to transcribe audio is to do it manually. This can be tedious, especially if you're not a quick typer, but you can use oTranscribe to make the process a little easier. oTranscribe is a browser-based tool that allows you to have your audio file and transcription in one window, and it has keyboard shortcuts to help you manage the audio seamlessly as you type. Best of all, your audio file is never uploaded or stored anywhere else.

To get started, make sure your audio file is saved to your computer. Then go to oTranscribe.

First, click the button to select your audio file:

Once your file is in oTranscribe, you can use the buttons at the top to play, fast forward, rewind, or adjust the speed. Then, start typing your transcript in the space below. You can use the buttons to the right of the writing area to format the text. 

You may also want to use keyboard shortcuts to make it easier to format and control the audio as you type. Here are the keyboard shortcuts supported by oTranscribe:

Audio playback
Esc: Play/pause
F1 (or Ctrl+1): Rewind
F2 (or Ctrl+2): Fast-forward
F3 (or Ctrl+3): Slow down
F4 (or Ctrl+4): Speed up
Ctrl+K: Jump to time (brings up window)
Ctrl+0: Return to start


Text editing
Ctrl+B: Bold
Ctrl+I: Italic
Ctrl+U: Underline
Ctrl+J: Insert timestamp
Ctrl+S: Manual backup
Note: On OS X, use Cmd instead of Ctrl.

As oTranscribe is browser-based, it will not periodically save your document like you may be used to in Word. Therefore, every now and then it's a good idea to copy what you have transcribed and paste it into Word.

When you are finished, copy and paste the text into your assignment. 

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