iPhone Voice Note Transcription Tip

On May 29, 2009

I was thrilled a few weeks back when yet another app, QuickVoice Pro brought voice to text transcription. For me that is among the Holy Grail’s of productivity. Being able to simply speak and have your voice transcribed accurately is so much faster and easier than sitting and trying to type on a keyboard. This is particularly the case since I do not touch type and I permanently destroyed one of my wrists a few years ago.

Until now, though, the iPhone apps available limited notes to 30 seconds of transcription. This is the case with such applications as Jott, reQall and SpinVox. And when QuickVoice Pro added speech transcription they decided to use SpinVox’s technology and services and, as a result, are also limited to 30 second snippets. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a huge huge benefit to me, but 30 seconds is 30 seconds and I often have more to say than that.

Well there is now a solution that it works beautifully for voice notes of any length.

Yesterday I wrote a post over on Gear Diary about my initial experiences with the new version of MacSpeech Dictate. Version 1.5 of the software is based upon Dragon NaturallySpeaking version 10. As a result, it’s faster and more accurate than ever before. There was, however, an initial bummer in that it would not accept the built-in microphone on my MacBook Pro for audio input. The idea of having to put on a headset every time I wanted to transcribe something did not make me happy. This is especially the case since the new MacBook’s have excellent built-in microphones. I did some searching around and found a workaround and now the mic works perfectly. In fact I’ve been dictating this entire post.

Here’s where the magic takes place — while messy around this evening I decided to record something on my iPhone using a voice note application. I recorded a message of a minute and 30 seconds. Then started MacSpeech Dictate, held my iPhone over my MacBook, and hit play. The iPhone played my note, MacSpeech Dictate heard and transcribed it, and the result — completely unchanged from what the program presented me — is below.

Would you take a look at this. I’m sitting here right now with nothing but my iPhone in my hand and I’m recording it using an iPhone application known as quick voice pro-. I’m going to then take my iPhone and hold it up over my MacBook Pro and hit play while MacSpeech Dictate is listening for my voice in order to transcribe text. My hope is that I will now be able to record on my iPhone for as long as I like and have it later transcribed on my Mac using MacSpeech Dictate. There has been the opportunity to do a certain degree of this using applications but until now there was 30 second limit to what you could do and how you could do it. At this point this recording is over a minute and 10 seconds long and my hope is that once we reach a minute and 30 seconds and I hit stop it will transcribe the entire piece of text that I’ve simply been saying and will make it available on my Mac.

In other words, the iPhone can now record as much as you have to say and it can simply and quickly be transcribed without any additional hookups or work so long as you have a copy of MacSpeech Dictate. (I assume it works just as well with Dragon NaturallySpeaking if you use Windows.)

Now that is what I call productivity.