Any multimedia that is included in your course needs to have a text alternative so that all students can access the content even if they are not able to view the video or recording. They may need this due to a disability, or because they are in a location where video streaming is restricted or censored. There are three different times to create a transcript for your recordings:

  1. Before a Recording– You can use a transcript tool to help you create a script before you start your recording. Think of it as rehearsing your lecture, with your audio turned into a text script/transcript as you practice. Once you are done, you will have a script/transcript to read off of when you are recording your final lecture.
  2. During a Recording– You can use a transcript tool while recording your lectures or multimedia, which will create the recording and the transcript text at the same time. Please test out the combination of your lecture and transcript capture before you create your final recording. Some of the transcript tools will only convert audio to text if the tool window is the main window in use and once you click to another window it will stop capturing your audio to convert to text.
  3. After a Recording– You can play your multimedia into a microphone and a transcript tool will pick it up and generate the text for you after you have already recorded your lectures or multimedia. Please note this is not very reliable and if you wait until after the recording and the transcript tool does not properly pick up your audio, you will have to manually type out the transcript.

Though there are some powerful tools out there, please note that transcription software has problems, in general, with homophones, punctuation, and paragraph breaks. It is important to always review your transcripts before posting them, to make sure that the technology has accurately captured your lecture.

Below are some tools to help you create transcripts for the multimedia or lectures in your course: is a tool that generates text as you speak into your microphone. This tool will only work if you are using the Google Chrome browser. This tool is unique because you can turn it on and have it running in the background or as you are presenting your PowerPoint document and it will still capture everything you say.

Sample of creating text from an audio input

Account Needed: No

Cost: Free

*Please note this tool only works when using the browser Google Chrome.

Google Docs

Google Docs has a functionality that will transcribe your voice as you are speaking to assist you in creating transcripts for your multimedia. Voice Typing requires that the google doc is the main window in use and if you click outside of the google doc, the Voice Typing will stop capturing your audio.

Voice Typing

  1. Check to make sure that your microphone works.
  2. Open a document in Google docs with a Chrome browser.
  3. Click Tools > Voice typing. A microphone box appears.
    Google's Voice Text Logo, which is a microphone button used to record audio and convert it to text
  4. When you’re ready to speak, click the microphone button.
  5. Speak clearly, at a normal volume and pace.
  6. When you’re done, click the microphone again to end the voice typing.
* Instructions came from Doc Editors Help

Account Needed: Yes, a google account

Cost: Free

*Please note this tool only works when using the browser Google Chrome.

Mac Dictation

Mac Dictation will allow you to speak in your microphone and it will convert your audio into text. This can be used with Microsoft Word on a Mac to help capture transcripts for a recording. The only thing to consider is once you click on a different window on your Mac, the dictation will stop capturing your audio. If you are using Mac Dictation to create transcripts, you will need to have you Microsoft Word open the entire time (you cannot switch to PowerPoint or Panopto).

Sample of Mac Dictation with some sample text converted from audio

To start Dictation in Microsoft Word for Mac, open up a blank word document > Click Edit > Click Start Dictation.

Account Needed: No

Cost: Free with a Mac Computer

*This tool is only available on a Mac


oTranscribe is a free, open-source tool that will assist you when you are creating transcripts. Unlike some of the other tools on this list, it does not transcribe for you– you still need to write your transcript, but this tool makes it easier. You will upload a video or audio file and oTranscribe’s built in audio/video player and text editor will open. You will not have to switch between windows to create your transcript. oTranscribe also has features in the built in audio/video player to assist with playback. You can slow down the recording, speed it up, and easily rewind the video as you are creating your transcript.

Sample of oTranscribe tool with a video uploaded and some sample transcript text

Account Needed: No

Cost: Free


Transcribe allows you to upload a video or audio file and has a built in text editor so you do not have to switch between different screens when creating a transcript.

Sample of the Transcribe page with an audio recording

There are audio controls that will allow you to slow down or speed up the recording playback to help you type the transcript without having to play/pause the recording and rewind if you missed something.

There is also a Dictate option, which will allow you to speak into a microphone and Transcribe will convert your audio into text. You might find it easier to repeat sentences back from the recording instead of typing all of the text out for the transcript.

Account Needed: Yes

Cost: You can register for a free trial for 7 days or purchase a year subscription for $20.

*Please note this tool works best when using the browser Google Chrome.


VoiceNote will capture your speech and turn it into text.  This tool offers a live version (web version) or your can install a plugin for Google Chrome.

Sample of VoiceNote captureing audio and converting it into text

Account Needed: No

Cost: Free

*Please note this tool only works when using the browser Google Chrome.

Windows Speech Recognition

Windows Speech Recognition (for Windows 7 or higher) allows you to talk into your microphone and your audio will be converted into text. Windows Speech Recognition can also be used to navigate your computer without using a keyboard or mouse. There is a training tutorial on your computer that will help train your computer to understand what you are saying. This tool works best if you have a text editor (Notepad or Word) open and you are talking into your microphone.

Sample of Windows Speech Recognition being used with Microsoft Word to generate text from audio

Account Needed: No

Cost: Free with Windows Operating System

*This tool is only available on a Windows 7 and higher