What is the best speech to text software for mac? I have an hours worth of audio that I need to transcribe, and I'd really like to not have to do it manually :-).

I prefer free options and I like open source so if there is a project I'd like to know. All answers are welcome though.


Tough domain. There's no open source projects, that I'm aware of. Speech to text is probably best classified as a open research problem still. If you're prepared to punt $200, there's MacSpeech Dictate. But I'd be wary of claims of 90% accuracy.

Worth noting the case of SpinVox, a company that claimed to translate Voice Mail into text messages automatically, but had to use call centres full of workers in South Africa and the Philippines to do so accurately.

  • 1
    I tried out Macspeech Dictate, didn't like it and its expensive on top of that... Honestly, I can't believe its 2009 and there is no solution for this yet. – GiH Nov 10 '09 at 18:01
  • It's complex as hell stuff. Just think about how bad Text to Speech is, and computers were BUILT to deal with text! (Well, numbers, but text is numbers anyway when you get down to it) – Phoshi Nov 10 '09 at 20:43
  • I haven't been able to find anything, I think Macspeech dictate is the only option... – GiH Nov 11 '09 at 5:34
  • Speech-to-text works usually only well when there's no background noise and the voice is very clear. That's often not the case if the audio wasn't especially recorded for that purpose. – Georg Schölly Apr 10 '10 at 6:08
  • FWIW - I bought MacSpeech Dictate a month ago - oh boy ... they haven't bothered to update it for two OSX releases, it crashed in the middle of training, and the accuracy was really bad, while the audio recordings used as source material where very good ... if it was $29, I'd say, sure, but at ~5x that price, it looks like Nuance bought out MacSpeech just to shut it down, if that's the case, they succeeded: I got my money back. – OverToasty Jan 23 '14 at 15:26

One thing you could try (although not on a daily basis) is uploading the audio as a video to Youtube, then asking YouTube to transcribe the video, giving you English captions...can take up to 24 hours for YouTube to do this, however...The caption file is even downloadable and you can edit them yourself, so you could copy and paste the text to wherever you wanted...


Found VoiceBase to be the best free transcribing tool and it is online so you don't need to install any software and works everywhere. I use to record voice memos in my iPhone and send them there.

Files of around 5MB/7 minutes (500-600 words) take 5-10 minutes to get transcribed (they send you an email when finished). It is sometimes inaccurate (ie. transcribes bias instead of buyers) and doesn't do any punctuation but I'd say 80-90% of the transcription is correct. It definitely saves a lot of time and keystrokes.

  • Are you affiliated with Voicebase? – Daniel Beck May 6 '12 at 20:16
  • lol, not at all. does it sound like spam? I'd been trying several free text to voice and found this one to be the best and since it was free I thought people would benefit from adding it here – Xavi Esteve May 6 '12 at 21:12
  • Well, it's just that we get a ton of spam, so excuse us. Just being a bit cautious these days, that's all! – slhck May 6 '12 at 21:28

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.