Applications Advocates - Transcribe
Transcribe is great for anyone needing to quickly convert audio into a transcript
We caught up with our latest Applications Advocate Research Technology Specialist, Peter Micklem, who let us in on a great feature hidden in plain sight, Transcribe.
Peter outlines the main features of Transcribe, why you might find it useful, and tips for getting the most from it.
Keep an eye out for future articles in this series.
Name of application
Transcribe feature in Word for web.
How to find and use it
Word for web is part of the Nexus365 suite – access via https://portal.office.com/. You’ll find the Transcribe feature under the Dictate icon on the Home ribbon.
Bear in mind this is exclusively online, you won’t find Transcribe in the Word application you might have installed on your local machine.
Mac users will need to use Chrome or Edge browsers for now.
What it does
Transcribe takes live or pre-recorded audio and converts it to a transcript, letting you select the passages you’re interested in with an intuitive interface.
It recognises different voices and lets you label them, which is great for interviews or discussions.
Transcribe also supports a wide range of languages, not just English.
The recording is stored securely in your OneDrive and the transcription takes place in the Cloud. This also allows it to make use of the latest AI tech from Microsoft, which seems to be a blue cat!
How it looks
Once the cat or Azure Cognitive Services has finished processing the file, an audio player and the transcribed passages appear on the right of the page.
You can also choose whether to include the speakers and timestamps when the text is copied across.
If there are words that Transcribe hasn’t got 100 per cent correct, you can click the timecode to hear that passage again and edit the text as needed.
When you click the 'plus' icon next to the text passage you need, the text is copied straight into your document.
The audio files you upload are stored safely in a OneDrive folder, unambiguously called 'Transcribed Files'.
Transcribe – best bits and top tips
It is secure, which is important for interview recordings which are inevitably personally identifiable and hence fall within the scope of data protection rules.
It is free to use – albeit with a monthly limit of five hours or 200 MB for uploaded recordings. However, recordings made live from within Word are unlimited. There are plans for this feature to be available in the mobile version of Word, which would make this a practical tool for in-person interviews.
It’s a life-saver for…
Researchers needing to transcribe interviews – it also allows them to rapidly find the relevant passages by searching for text directly in the Word document in the usual way.
What makes it better than its closest competitor?
Competing with Microsoft’s blue cat is the namesake of another carnivorous mammal, the otter. However, Otter.ai hasn’t yet been through a third-party security assessment (TPSA) by our information security colleagues, so isn’t currently suitable for anything other than public recordings.
It is convenient to have the feature built-in to a word processor that is freely available as part of Nexus365. As new features are added, hopefully the accuracy will get even better and integrate with other proofing tools like spell check. Having the recordings stored in a secure location is also a great benefit.
Word’s Transcribe feature is much easier than extracting the text from the 'captions' i.e. subtitles of a Teams video recording. Microsoft Stream only makes these available as vtt files, which contain timestamps and need a lot of cleaning up. More technically minded users might find it easier to download the video file, extract the audio track and then upload it into Word.
Do you have a favourite application?
Get in touch and let us know. To find other applications in this series, just type 'Advocate' into the search box at the top of this page.