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This Women-Led Speech-To-Text Service Aims to Make Transcription Accessible and Affordable

keyboard typing

Have you ever transcribed an interview before? Even if you aren’t a journalist by trade, perhaps you’ve had to do some audio transcription in order to create a text version of a video or a podcast or some other project. It’s incredibly time-consuming, but it’s also an important job, both for the sake of increasing accessibility as well as increasing access to information.

Unfortunately, many audio-to-text services are very expensive, so outsourcing this task might be too pricey for you. Speech-to-text programs aren’t always accurate, either, and they can easily cost hundreds of dollars for a license. Enter Transcribe Online, a new service currently in beta that aims to make transcription more accessible and affordable.

The new company was co-founded by Katie Klabusich and Raquel Hosein, with Wagatwe Wanjuki serving as Chief Communications Officer. In an interview with The Establishment, Klabusich explained that she had set her sights on young freelance journalists in particular: “I wanted to make Transcribe Online mass available; that is how you change people’s lives, especially the ones who are trying to change the world. The idea was always about making it affordable; the base level will cover most writers.”

Transcribe Online is an automated tool for transcribing audio; there’s no human on the other end typing it up for you. Instead, it’s an AI that deciphers an audio file; the AI can also type up spoken word on the fly. Klabusich admits that the service is hardly error-free, but the AI looks pretty impressive in their demonstration video:

The company has recently launched a Twitter and a Facebook, and their website opens up with a sign-up page to receive updates about the service. Prices are listed on the FAQ page, as well as an email address for inquiries, but the actual service does not appear to have launched quite yet.

However, it sounds like the launch is imminent, since according to Klabusich, “It’s not fair for us to wait until we’re perfect. We may not be perfect at launch, but we’re not doing this to get our egos stroked and charge hundreds or thousands of dollars, when we need this tool, like, yesterday.”

(via The Establishment, image via Leslee Lazar/Flickr)

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Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (relay.fm/isometric), and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (robotknights.com).