Apps

Is there an app that can convert speech to text?

Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge
On the record: Samsung Galaxy phones convert speech to text

It would be a new low for The Big Tech Question if the answer were no, wouldn’t it? In fact, a few hundred million people have already got an app installed that can convert speech to text, they just don’t know it. I was one of them until this week.

As a journalist, I occasionally need to record interviews with people I meet, and I normally turn to the bog standard voice recorder app installed on the phone I’m using at the time. It was while fiddling with the Voice Recorder app on my Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge this week that I noticed a previously undiscovered recording mode – Speech-to-Text.

This mode can convert up to five minutes of speech into text, which is transcribed on the fly and appears on screen as you or your interviewee speak. As with most of these services, the accuracy of the transcript isn’t gobsmacking, but it’s more than good enough if you’re recording a memo or interview and later want to jump straight to the part of the audio where they mention something specific. You can simply scan the text for the key phrase, dab your finger on that part of the transcript, and the audio will play from that point forward. You don’t have to re-listen to the entire recording to find the bit you want to listen to again.

So how accurate is Samsung’s Voice Recorder Speech-to-Text? We dictated the first three paragraphs of this article so you can see for yourself:

It will be a new load for the big tic question of the honour and the the know wouldn’t it in fact a few 100 1,000,000 people have already got an app installed look and Canton scribe audio into written text I just don’t know it I was one of them until this week As a journalist I cage the need to record interviews with people I meet and are normally turns the book standard voice recorder app installed in the phone I’m using at the time it was while filling with the voice recorder app on my Samsung Galaxy S7 edge this week that I noticed a previously undiscovered recording mode speech to text this mode could and kincumber at up to 5 minutes to speech into text which is transcribed on the fly and appears on screen as you or your interviewees speak as with most of these services the agassizs the transcript is and gob smacking but it’s more than good enough of you recording the memo or interview and 8 want to jump straight to the part the audio when in making tians something specific you can simply scan the text the key phrase that your finger on that part of the transcript and the audio will play from that point forward you don’t have to listen the entire recording to find a bit you want to listen to again ….

As you can see, it makes a ropey start. The Big Tic Question is our sister site for vets, for example, and that’s a unique way of expressing the term “a few hundred million people”. And God bless Samsung for even daring to believe I’d have the word kincumber in my vocabulary (apparently it’s a suburb in New South Wales). That said, it gets the gist of the text right. You wouldn’t cut and paste the transcript straight into copy, but it would certainly be handy for scanning through an interview and jumping to the point in the recording you want to transcribe manually.

Samsung Voice Recorder
What did you say? Voice Recorder will spell it out

A few things to note: the app relies on Samsung’s cloud-based S Voice technology, which means you’ll need a decent data connection to run the app. You also need to give the app a few seconds to catch up before pressing the Stop button at the end of the interview, or else your transcript will be chopped off before the end. You can export either the audio, the text or both together from the Voice Recorder app for later reference, dumping the files in Dropbox or many other services, which is really handy for jobbing journalists or obsessive memo takers.

The Voice Recorder app appears in the Samsung folder of many Galaxy devices, but you may also be able to download it your device from the Google Play store.

About the author

Barry Collins

Barry has scribbled about tech for almost 20 years for The Sunday Times, PC Pro, WebUser, Which? and many others. He was once Deputy Editor of Mail Online and remains in therapy to this day. Email Barry at barry@bigtechquestion.com.

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