What’s the easiest way to get transcripts from my session recordings?

Posted on: 01 Mar 2020


Technology is moving quickly and this article is now out of date. Click here to read an updated article on current methods of transcribing coaching recordings.

An updated 2023 version of this article is available here



Not so long ago, the most reliable way to get a decent transcript for a session recording was to either pay a human to do it or to transcribe it yourself. The problem with these two options however were that the former could be quite expensive, while the latter, depending on your typing speed, could be a very arduous process!


You’ll be happy to know that now, thanks to technology advancements in voice recognition, automated transcript services can produce a reasonably good transcript of a session recording. Of course, it’s good practice to review any transcript you don’t do yourself, and especially so for machine generated transcripts. While the accuracy of transcript software is continually improving, the quality of your transcript will be affected by speech, accents, recording quality, the number of speakers and how much cross-talk there is. Nevertheless, even with the inaccuracies, correcting some words here and there is certainly easier than typing a transcript from scratch.



The transcript service we’ve used so far with success is Otter.ai. It provides a free plan that allows you to get automatically generated transcripts with speaker identification and timestamps for up to 600mins of recordings. Note that an individual recording can be a maximum of 40 minutes in length, but you could cut the recording in half and submit it as two recordings, if you don’t want to upgrade to the paid plan (which by the way is very affordable and gives you 6000 minutes with recording lengths of up to four hours). NOTE: One of the tricks to using Otter.ai successfully is to identify the speakers in the recording. In addition, Otter’s privacy policy states that you should obtain permission from anyone in your recordings before submitting a recording to Otter. We suggest adding this to your coaching agreement.


If Otter.ai doesn’t ring your bell though, you might like to try one of the other services available.


Free and paid monthly plans:


FreeTranscipts!com offers a free plan including 300mins of machine transcripts per month, and if you want more, you can pay them per recording minute to have a human edit your transcripts for better accuracy and they’ll give you the same number of extra free machine transcript minutes.

Descript is actually a podcast creation suite, which also offers transcript generation. The $10/month paid plan includes transcription.


Pay-per-minute under $1:


Temi offers a free trial of one recording of up to 45 minutes in length and thereafter $0.25/min. Transcripts include speaker identification and timestamps.

Scribie offers automated transcripts with 80-95% accuracy for $0.10 per minute and manual transcripts with 99% accuracy for$0.80/min.

TranscribeMe! offers 98% average accuracy transcripts for $0.79/min. If you want 99% accuracy with a guarantee it’s $1.25/min and finally, for those who want 100% accuracy verbatim transcripts with speaker ID and timestamps, that’s $2/min.


Rev offers guaranteed quality transcriptions for $1.25/min, or $1.50/min if you want verbatim or time-stamped transcripts.


To see other options not mentioned above, you can click here to see some of The Best Transcription Services of 2019 from PC Mag. It provides a table of then transcript services, where price and inclusions can be compared at a glance.


Even though we appreciate the inherent learning value of transcribing your own session recordings – you notice some very fine coaching nuances that can otherwise be missed – the time cost does tend to outweigh the benefits, and you can still notice some coaching nuances by correcting an automatically generated transcript.

Our recommendation? Choose a high quality recording with little background noise and speakers without heavy accents, submit the recording to an automatic transcription service and then review the transcript yourself for accuracy – you will learn a lot about your coaching in the process!