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I'm looking for a speaker independent program (commercial or free) that would enable me to transcribe MP3 files containing speech recordings (especially podcasts) to text. I wanted to try Dragon Naturally Speaking, but it seems like it only supports transcribing my own speech recordings. So what are the alternatives?

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Comment by Avi: I don't believe that's possible - speaker independent –  Ivo Flipse Apr 6 '10 at 11:06
what operating system? –  studiohack Apr 6 '10 at 18:42
Windows or Linux. –  pako Oct 15 '10 at 17:05

4 Answers 4

Dragon Naturally Speaking will import mp3 files and try to transcribe them. It prefers to tune its voice recognition to the individual speaker, but does a fair job without tuning. It would probably work best if your podcast speakers sound like Tom Brokaw.

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I tried Dragon Naturally Speaking, but it did a terrible job for podcasts with unknown speakers. It only worked fairly well with my own voice after training the program. –  pako Oct 15 '10 at 17:06
Can it also import other audio files and transcribe them? –  Larry Morries Oct 12 '11 at 8:00

One possible solution would be to upload your video to Youtube, and try the automatic captions that you can enable...it is not too accurate yet, but you can download the captions file and edit it yourself, if that helps...as for copyright/piracy issues for the song, you could make the video private on your profile, if that's even possible?

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@studioback: Is this method by Youtube only applied to one's own video, not those uploaded by others? –  Tim Jun 9 '11 at 17:39
@Tim: it is for both, actually. –  studiohack Jun 9 '11 at 23:02
@studiohack: For those videos uploaded by others, how to do that? I mean, without downloading and uploading as my own videos? –  Tim Jun 9 '11 at 23:38
On most videos, there is a CC icon in the bottom, click it and then automatic transcription... –  studiohack Jun 9 '11 at 23:39
Related Question: How Use Google's YouTube Speech Recognition without uploading videos to YouTube? No answers yet; just asked it 10 minutes ago. –  fredsbend Mar 29 '14 at 0:21

Podzinger would be a great solution, but I'm not sure that ramp (the new name for the company that used to be EveryZing, who produced Podzinger) offers the service for free anymore...


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I would warn against trying Dragon Naturally Speaking--I wrote some scripts on my jailbroken iphone to copy/convert all the voicemail files from my phone to a folder on my PC and had the Dragon Naturally Speaking transcription service run against them.

The result of running the transcription against files with different speakers was absolutely unusable. I've tried some of the open source alternatives but speaker-independent voice recognition still seems limited to very small dictionaries.

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