Using Speech Recognition Add On to Save on Transcription Time

I will be starting data collection for a new research study this week, and as I try to work out the nuts and bolts of my data management workflows, I discovered that I might save time on transcription by using the Speech Recognition Add On in Google Docs. The big upside here is that Speech Recognition is free and available to everyone on my research team.

Here is what I am going to try:

  1. Record conversations using iPhone Voice Memo App (be sure there is enough memory on phone BEFORE I go to the interview!)
  2. Share the audio recording to my Google Drive from my phone. Because I have synchronized my Google Drive with my phone, this is a one-touch solution. Very streamlined.
  3. When I am ready to transcribe, I can then download the audio recording to my laptop.
  4. Open a New Google Document.
  5. Open the Speech Recognition Add On.
  6. Start Speech Recognition Add On.
  7. Play Audio File.
  8. Watch the transcription happen automatically — or do other things 🙂
  9. Clean up the transcription (which will take a little time, but not as much time as it would take to transcribe from scratch).

Here is a quick screencast that demonstrates the workflow. I had already recorded the audio file on my phone, uploaded it and then downloaded to my laptop.


I will provide an update on how it goes with actual data. Certainly, conversation will make the speech-to-text more complicated. However, given that transcription is (a) mind-numbing and (b) a barrier to timely sharing of research findings, I think it is well worth a try.


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