Best Transcription Software for 2017

pedals

Researching what is “the best transcription software” can be a little overwhelming. There are a lot of different answers, a lot of companies promote a free software, that is free in a very limited capacity. Also speech to text software comes up in search results, like Dragon Naturally Speaking, but that isn’t a transcription software. That’s a dictation software. We covered the differences between dictation and transcription software in this article found here.

As an experienced transcriber I’ve compiled a short list of the best transcription software available today.


Express Scribe on Amazon

Pros:

  • Free to try & very affordable to buy at $39.99.
  • Intuitive and easy to use.
  • Imports almost any audio or video file.
  • Available on Mac or PC.

Con:

There is only one major flaw with Express Scribe: You cannot set a custom time code. So if somebody sends you an audio file that has a starting time code of 01:10:05, for example, there’s nothing you can do. Express Scribe only allows you to start a file at 00:00:00.



Start-Stop Universal Transcription on Amazon

Pros:

  • Works with almost all audio & video formats.
  • They have a software package that also comes with a very handy USB foot pedal.
  • You can customize your time code setting.
  • You can type in MS Word as you playback your audio or video file.
  • Free software upgrades.
  • Free technical support.

Cons:

  • Windows Only
  • $179 price tag

FTW Transcriber

Pros:

  • Works with almost any audio & video format.
  • You can customize your time code.
  • You can type in an MS Word document as you playback your audio or video file.
  • Pay as you go price plan.
    • You can try the software for $10 for one month, or sign-up for two years at $1/month.

Cons:

  • Windows Only.
  • Free Version has ADs & is very limited.
  • Must be connected to the internet to use the pay version.
    • FTW checks if your license is valid by connecting to their server. If your internet is down, or you are somewhere without an internet connection then you cannot use the upgraded pay version.

InqScribe

Pros:

  • Works with all audio & video formats.
  • Available on Mac or PC.
  • Can set a custom time code.

Cons:

  • Price is $99 per license. 
  • You can “Transcribe + Take Notes”, according to their website. Inqscribe touts this as a good thing, however I disagree. I’d much prefer typing directly in MS Word as opposed to having export and convert the transcript after I’m done typing.

Transcription Equipment


Bose Wireless Headphones on Amazon

A pair of Bose wireless headphones with noise cancellation is an excellent investment, even though they are a little expensive.

When I get very difficult audio in, files with heavy background noise and distortion, these headphones can be a lifesaver. I’ve compared the audio using these headphones to a regular pair of headphones and the difference in clarity was incredible. With the Bose headphones I could hear words and conversations that were completely unintelligible on a regular pair of headphones.

 

Infinity IN-USB-1 USB Transcription Foot Pedal on Amazon

A foot pedal for me is a big time saver. The reason you want a foot pedal is you can rewind, fast forward, and play the video with your foot. This means you don’t have to use your hands, the mouse, to control the video.

I do not want to stop typing and grab my mouse and hit the rewind button, or even use a keyboard shortcut, as I don’t want to get my hands out of position while typing. Using a mouse to control the video will slow you down significantly.

I use a USB foot pedal by Infinity, it works with every transcription software I use and every computer, both Mac and PC, I have. It’s responsive, versatile, and well priced.


I hope this article was helpful. Let us know if you have any questions. If you have any files that need to be transcribed please feel to request a quote or visit our transcription page. Happy transcribing!

5 thoughts on “Best Transcription Software for 2017

  1. Hi, I am just starting out a home business for legal assitance work and have looked at both Start-Stop Universal Transcription on Amazon and ExpressSribe. Both have great reviews and both come in packages with pedals and headphones. Can you tell me which you prefer and why? Your is the best reviews of the products I have found so far.

    • Thanks Sarah! Express Scribe is the best software for someone who is starting out, it’s very user-friendly and runs well on every computer. Start-Stop is better for someone who is transcribing video with time code.

      Good luck with your home business!

  2. Thank you for your reviews. I have a question: Do you know if there is any way to transcribe *with a foot pedal* that does rewind and fast forward, with WIndows Media Player? (I use it for better sound clarity when Express Scribe does not work, but it’s not very useful without a foot pedal).

    • Hello, thanks for visiting our site. Unfortunately Windows Media Player does not have foot pedal functionality. You could try downloading FTW Transcriber, it’s free to try and you could see if the audio quality is any better.

  3. For poor audio, I recommend a utility called VLC – (VideoLAN.org) and you can use universal hot keys. It’s a free download. I use this to proof my Express Scribe transcripts.

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