Creating transcripts with Otter

Otter is an app that produces transcriptions from live conversations as well as mp3s. The transcriptions are normally high-quality although some editing is required.

The free plan allows 600 minutes of live recording a month but only 3 imports of audio files for transcription in total — and, even then, only the first 40 minutes will be transcribed.

Guide to getting an mp3 file transcribed by Otter

a. Go into your Otter account and click on Import.

b. Import the audio file either by dragging and dropping the audio file into the new window that appears, or by clicking on Browse. (If you have a video file, this can also be imported here.)

c. When the import has been completed, click Done.

d. You will need to refresh your browser window to show the imported file in the Recent Activity column.

e. The Recent Activity column is not updated in real-time. So, you can either keep refreshing the web page to see when the transcription is shown as completed, or you can set up notifications so you’re told when the processing is completed.

You set up notifications by doing the following:

  • Click on the downward arrow by your account name in the left-hand sidebar and then click on Account settings.

  • Click on Notifications.

  • You can then choose whether you want to receive a push notification on your computer or an email notification.

f. When the transcript is shown as ready, click on the file name.

Then click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner of the next window and then on Export Text.

g. You have various export options to choose from:
Export format. It’s wise to choose an editable format like TXT or DOCX (Microsoft Word) as the transcript will invariably need some editing and formatting.

Below are the other options you have:

Filename: You can type in the file name you want to use.

Include speaker names: This isn’t necessary if there’s only one speaker, but it can be helpful if there’s more than one speaker because Otter will separate the words spoken by different speakers.

Include timestamps: Timestamps can be useful if you are going back to check the text against the video. Otter includes a much smaller number of timestamps compared with YouTube.

Merge same-speaker segments: It can be helpful to do this so the text isn’t broken up in lots of different segments.

Export as monologue: This exports the text in one segment without any breaks, which can make it a wall of text.

Remove Otter branding. Enabling this option removes the text ‘Transcribed by’ from the bottom of the file.

h. When you have chosen the options you want, click on Continue in the top right-hand corner. Otter then asks where you want to save the file.

i. Finally, you can open the transcript file, edit and format the text, and then paste the finalized text into your Roam database.

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