3 Top-Rated AI Transcription Tools

By: Saumya Srivastava on April 30, 2024

Ditch the frantic note-taking during meetings and get an accurate record of every conversation with automatic transcription in AI-enabled transcription tools. These tools use predictive analytics, [1] machine learning, [2] and generative AI [3] models to listen and convert spoken words in audio or video recordings into clear, searchable text. 

By simply uploading the pre-recorded files or connecting with online meetings, AI transcription tools can automatically record, transcribe, translate, summarize, and even analyze the accurate transcription text for sentiments and topics. This automation simplifies note-taking during meetings and frees up time to focus on the conversation itself. 

This article lists three top-rated AI transcription tools based on verified user reviews and our research team’s analysis, sorted alphabetically. Per our analysis, the listed products focus on transcribing live meetings or pre-recorded sessions.

We selected products for this article based on their average ratings between April 2022 - April 2024, which may differ from their current overall average ratings.

1. Fathom

As an automated transcription tool, Fathom offers AI note-taking capabilities to record, transcribe, highlight, and summarize meetings for users so they can focus on the conversation. While attending the meeting, users can highlight key points from the conversations. This creates a record of crucial points for reference later within the transcript.

AI-enabled transcription features:*

  • AI summaries: Summarize the transcribed meeting notes using AI. The AI tool offers multiple versions of the summary text as templates with a concise overview and key points. 

  • AI action items detection: Identify actionable items discussed during the meeting using AI. The feature recognizes multiple speakers and automatically tags them to the highlighted points with speaker identification. 

  • AI follow-up email drafts: Draft a follow-up email for fellow team members or project stakeholders using the detected action items from the automated transcription. The feature offers a pre-written email summarizing the next steps and assigning team ownership. 

Starting price: Available for free

Customer support options: FAQs and a help center

Who should consider Fathom’s AI capabilities? 

Client servicing teams and consultants who attend multiple online project-related meetings and are looking to reduce the note-taking burden can benefit from Fathom. The tool automates online note-taking in real time and highlights key points for future reference. It also allows setting up automated follow-ups based on the highlighted action items in the notes. This prevents team members from missing out on critical tasks and ensures all attendees are updated on the task or project progress.

Fathom

Fathom

4.97 out of 5 stars

337 reviews

Pro tip

Look for tools that store transcribed data in cloud storage or secure servers with encryption at rest and in transit. This helps safeguard the business information from unauthorized access.

2. Otter

Otter is an AI meeting assistant that allows OtterPilot to record audio, write notes, capture slides, and generate summaries for users in their absence. Users need to connect the meetings calendar with the tool and set up auto-join and auto-share features for it to create and share transcribed conversations and meeting notes once the meeting ends. The tool connects with Zoom, Google Meet, and Microsoft Teams.

AI-enabled transcription features:*

  • Live notes and captions for Google Meet: Integrate with Google Meet and launch a dedicated panel within the Meet call. This panel utilizes AI to capture the conversation and transcribe it in real time.

  • Live recording transcription: Upload pre-recorded audio or video content files into the system and transcribe them using AI. 

  • AI chat: Live chat with Otter’s AI assistant to get answers to meeting questions. This includes the name of the speaker, the topic being discussed, and other meeting conversations. 

Starting price: $10 per user, per month

Billing cycle: Annual

Customer support options: Knowledge base, chat, and a help center

Who should consider Otter’s AI capabilities?

The tool helps small business owners or solopreneurs prioritize meetings (during any clashes) with an AI meeting assistant. The assistant can take their place in the meeting to record and transcribe conversations with notes and speaker tags. In addition to real-time transcription, users can also transcribe pre-recorded training, meetings, or other important discussions by simply uploading the file into the system.

Otter

Otter

4.47 out of 5 stars

81 reviews

3. Sonix

Sonix’s transcription capabilities include an AI analysis tool to extract actionable insights from the transcribed conversations. In addition to summarizing the transcripts, the tool generates structured body content with chapter headings for any audio or video file. These chapters come with a timestamp and the name of the speaker for quick content navigation.

AI-enabled transcription features:*

  • Topic detection: Identify and categorize every topic within the transcript using AI. The feature also provides a topic summary and relevant timestamps when each topic is discussed in the recording.

  • Entity detection: Use AI to identify and categorize people, places, and topics discussed within the transcripts and provide their relationship to each other and content within the transcript. 

  • Speech analysis: Uncover the emotions behind the speech in the live meeting or recording using AI sentiment analysis.

Starting price: $22 per user per month

Billing cycle: Monthly

Customer support options: Email and knowledge base

Who should consider Sonix’s AI capabilities? 

The tool is worth considering for small business sales and marketing managers focusing on customer queries by analyzing transcribed and record conversations. It automatically identifies key topics, saving significant time in sifting through large recordings. Extracting entity information further helps build a comprehensive understanding of the customer conversations. This helps in studying specific fields or identifying key players in the discussion.

Sonix

Sonix

4.85 out of 5 stars

130 reviews

Pro tip

Opt for a tool that offers live and recorded file transcription to capture live conversations as they happen and transcribe pre-recorded audio or video files without switching between systems. This saves time and simplifies the workflow for quick decision making.

What are the benefits of using transcription tools with AI capabilities?

AI transcription tools solve common challenges of manual data entry, translation, or transcription. Below, we discuss some common benefits of AI transcription solutions based on their features.

Benefit

Description

Reduced manual data entry

The core function of AI transcription tools is to automatically convert spoken words into text. This eliminates the need for manual typing, saving significant time and effort. AI can transcribe audio or video much faster than a human, speeding up the decision-making process. Compared to manual data entry, which can be prone to typos and misinterpretations, AI achieves high accuracy levels, especially with clear speech. 

Searchable text

As mentioned earlier, AI transcription tools convert speech to text. This creates a digital document that can be searched using keywords and phrases. Just enter the phrase or word into the search bar and the feature will give all relevant results. The text search capability saves a lot of time and effort of manually sifting through the document or audio/video files.

Real-time captioning

Also known as real-time transcriptions, this capability provides word-for-word conversion of the conversation during the meeting. The text is displayed on the screen, allowing specially-abled people having difficulty in hearing to follow the conversation, fostering inclusivity in such sessions. Even for others, this AI transcription tool feature is a comprehension in situations with strong accents, background noise, or fast-paced speaking. 

How much does AI transcription software cost?

Transcription software offering AI capabilities can cost as low as $5 per month or up to $24+ per month, depending on various factors, including the available AI capabilities, number of users, training, and integration. Most AI transcription tools typically include the following pricing plans:

  • Free trials: Range from seven to 30 days and give users access to either all or limited AI features of the software. These no-cost trial plans are ideal for users who wish to try out a tool before purchasing it.

  • Free versions: Offer free forever features such as note-taking and summarizing or perpetual access to basic AI transcription features, including speech-to-text and note-taking. These free plans are ideal for small businesses on a budget.

  • Entry-level plans: Start at $5 per month and offer access to standard features. These are suitable for businesses with basic transcription needs, such as speech-to-text, document storage, and multiple language support for translation.

  • Mid-tier plans: Range from $12.49 to $24 per month and offer advanced AI-enabled transcription features, such as summarization, AI chat, entity detection, topic detection, and sentiment analysis. These are suitable for businesses that have outgrown basic transcription tools but don’t require the full range of functionality offered by enterprise-level systems.

  • High-end plans: Costs much more than mid-tier plans and offers a range of advanced AI capabilities, including unlimited features from entry-level and mid-tier plans. These plans are suitable for larger enterprises with extensive customization and scalability requirements for transcriptions.

Hidden costs associated with AI transcription software

Besides the software license, additional costs may include:

  • Training and consulting: Additional guidance or training on using the AI transcriptor offered by the software provider may come at an additional cost.

  • Third-party integrations: While many AI transcription tools offer integrations with popular third-party services and platforms, some integrations may incur additional costs such as subscription fees or usage-based pricing. 

  • Data storage: Digital storage is a part of most AI transcription tools’ subscription plans. However, lengthy files may require additional storage, which the software vendors may charge for.

Frequently asked questions when selecting AI transcription software

Here are some common questions to ask software vendors:

  • Does the tool offer language translation?

Language translation in transcription is beneficial when working with global teams or creating training materials for global employees. However, different tools may support different languages, making it important for users to check which are required by their business, teams, or clients. Some common languages include English, French, German, Spanish, Mandarin, and Arabic. 

  • Does the tool support different audio/video file formats?

Users may require importing audio/video files and exporting the transcribed documents from the AI transcription tool. This requires checking the supported formats for different files and documents. Common formats include MP3, WAV, MP4, and MOV for audio/video, and .doc, .txt for documents. 

  • What are the security measures to protect transcribed data?

Some AI transcription tools offer role-based access controls and two-factor authentication to protect sensitive business information. While role-based access manages who can view, edit, or share transcriptions, two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security by requiring a second verification step, such as code or push notification, when logging in to the user account.


Methodology

To be considered for this list, products had to:

  • Have at least 20 unique product reviews published on Software Advice within the past two years, with an average rating of 3.0 or higher (as of April 23, 2024).

  • Meet our market definition for transcription software: “Transcription software assists businesses with the conversion of speech to text format through voice dictation or file transcription.”

  • Show evidence of offering AI capabilities as demonstrated by publicly available sources, such as the vendor’s website.

*Our research team identified these features from vendor websites (as of April 23, 2024) based on their analysis of what users find valuable in or expect from AI-enabled transcription software. This list is not exhaustive. For additional capabilities, refer to the vendor's website.

Research for this article was provided by Rakshat Chhokar.

For the section titled “How much does AI transcription software cost?”, only products with publicly available pricing information and AI features, as of April 23, 2024, were considered for pricing calculations.

Editorial independence: We select and rank products based on an objective methodology developed by our research team. While some vendors may pay us when they receive web traffic or leads, this has no influence on our methodology.

Definitions

  1. Predictive analytics uses data, statistics, algorithms, and machine learning to predict future outcomes based on historical data. Predictive analytics is defined by four factors: a focus on prediction, a quick analysis measured in hours or days, a focus on the accuracy of the predictions, and a focus on how easy the analysis is to understand. In other words, predictive analytics has to quickly and easily predict realistic future outcomes based only on past data.

  2. Machine learning (ML) is a computer science that uses data to learn in the way humans do. It is a category that falls under artificial intelligence (AI). ML uses data and algorithms for different technologies, including deep learning, neural networks, and natural language processing (NLP). By analyzing data, ML can learn patterns and make decisions without the need for human intervention.

  3. Generative AI refers to AI techniques that learn a representation of artifacts from data, and use it to generate artifacts that resemble but don’t repeat the original data, including text, images, video, audio, structures, computer code, synthetic data, workflows, and models of physical objects. Generative AI also can be used in art, drug discovery, or material design.