Yes, you can transcribe a voice memo. Effortlessly transform voice memos into text with our comprehensive guide—boost productivity and accuracy.

What can capture thoughts, meetings, interviews, and spontaneous ideas with a simple tap? The voice memo recording app on your smartphone.

Authors like Chris Fox claim voice memos drastically increase the number of words produced in a day. We’re talking up to 5000 words an hour using voice memos!

This is a significant increase compared to traditional typing, which only yields an average of 2400 words per hour. That’s why this guide is designed to help you navigate through transcribing voice memos.

Whether you’re a legal professional, a corporate professional, or just someone looking to make the most of your recorded content, you’ll find many practical tips to master voice memo transcription.

What Is a Voice Memo?

A voice memo is a digital audio recording of spoken words. It’s a feature commonly found on smartphones and computers, allowing users to record their voice or any audible information as an MP3 file using built-in or third-party applications.

Can You Transcribe a Voice Memo?

Yes—transcribing a voice memo is increasingly common across professions. Voice memos can be transcribed into a written transcript, making the information more accessible, searchable, and easier to share.

There are several ways to transcribe audio to text for a voice memo:

  • Manual Transcription – Listen to the voice memo and type out the content word for word (we’ll cover this more in-depth below).
  • Automated Transcription Software – Faster than manual transcription but may not always be as accurate—especially with accents, specialized terminology, or background noise.
  • Professional Transcription Tools & Services – Experienced professionals transcribe your voice memos (we’ll cover this more in-depth as well—keep reading).

Each method has pros and cons, and the choice depends on factors like the required accuracy, turnaround time, and the nature of the content in the voice memo.

Benefits of Transcribing Voice Memos

Transcribing voice memos offers many benefits that enhance the usability and value of the recorded content. Here are some of the reasons you might transcribe a voice memo:

Increased Accessibility & Searchability

Transcription makes audio accessible to individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. It can also be the first step in translating spoken content into different languages for a non-English speaking audience. Plus, text files are searchable, making locating specific information easy.

Ease of Sharing

Text documents are easier to share than audio files. They can be quickly emailed, printed, or shared on various platforms without the need for audio playback capabilities.

Written Record for Documentation

Transcripts provide a written record of the spoken content—an essential for maintaining accurate records in legal, medical, and business environments. In some industries, transcription is necessary to meet legal and regulatory requirements for record-keeping and accessibility.

Efficiency and Productivity

Transcribing voice memos can save time and increase productivity, especially if you rely on quick information retrieval and effective communication. It eliminates the need to listen to lengthy recordings repeatedly.

How Does A Voice Memo Transcription Tool Work?

Step 1 – Create a voice memo.

First, you need to create a voice memo. To create a voice memo, open a recording app on your device and start recording. You can use the device’s built-in microphone or an external mic for higher quality.

Step 2 – Save your MP3 file.

Once recorded, the memo is saved as an audio MP3 file to convert into a transcript. You can access, playback, and manage these files directly within the app. Voice memos can then be shared via email, voice memo transcription apps, or cloud services.

Step 3 – Choose your transcription tool.

You could transcribe your memo manually (listen to the recording and type out the content manually). If you’re a busy professional, this isn’t the best use of your time. You can save a ton of time through a voice memo transcription tool.

Some tools use automated software with speech recognition technology to generate a transcript. Other tools leverage professional human transcriptionists to ensure accuracy—especially for recordings with technical terminology, accents, or background noise.

Automated Transcription Software

These tools use AI to convert speech to text. They are faster but may struggle with accents or background noise.

Automated Transcription Pros

Automated Transcription Cons

  • Speed – These tools can transcribe audio files much faster than manual transcription.
  • Cost-Effective – Generally cheaper than hiring a professional service, with some tools even offering free basic versions.
  • Convenience – Easy to use; simply upload the audio file, and the software does the rest.
  • Accuracy Issues – Struggles with poor audio quality, heavy accents, overlapping speech, and industry-specific jargon.
  • Lacks Nuance – May not accurately capture the tone, pauses, or emotional inflections of the speaker.
  • Privacy Concerns – Uploading sensitive or confidential audio to a third-party service may pose security risks.

Professional Transcription Services

Transcribing voice memos can be achieved through various methods, each with its own set of advantages and drawbacks. The primary methods are manual transcription, automated transcription software, and professional transcription services.

Professional Transcription Pros

Professional Transcription Cons

●      High Accuracy – Combines the expertise of trained transcriptionists with advanced software, offering high accuracy even in challenging audio conditions.

●      Saves Time – Frees up your time, as the service handles the entire transcription process.

●      Expertise – Professional transcribers are often skilled in specific fields (like medical or legal), ensuring terminologies are correctly transcribed.

●      Cost – More expensive than automated software, making it less viable for those on a tight budget.

●      Turnaround Time – While faster than manual transcription, it may take longer than automated software, especially for lengthy recordings.

●      Dependence on Service Provider – Requires reliance on the service provider’s schedule, confidentiality policies, and accuracy.

Step-by-Step Guide To Manually Transcribing Your Voice Memo

If you’re willing to take on the labor of transcribing your voice memo on your own, then we’ve got you covered. Transcribing a voice memo manually requires patience, attention to detail, and a systematic approach.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you transcribe your voice memo accurately:

1.    Prepare your workspace.

Choose a quiet place to minimize distractions and background noise. Ensure your workspace is comfortable, with all necessary equipment like headphones, a computer, and a notepad.

2.    Equip yourself with the right tools.

While not mandatory, transcription software can help slow down the audio, rewind, and fast-forward easily. Here are a few we recommend:

  • Express Scribe: A popular tool among professional transcribers. It offers features like foot pedal control and variable speed playback and supports multiple audio formats.
  • oTranscribe: A free, web-based tool that allows you to control the audio playback from your keyboard, reducing the need to switch between the audio and the text file.
  • Audacity: Use audio editing software like Audacity to enhance the quality of the recording. You can reduce background noise and improve clarity, making the transcription process easier.

3.    Listen to the entire voice memo first.

Listen to the entire recording once to understand the context, speakers, and any technical terms used.

4.    Start transcribing.

Break the recording into manageable segments. Transcribe each segment before moving on to the next. Don’t hesitate to pause, rewind, and replay complex parts as often as needed.

5.    Use transcription techniques.

Decide if you need a verbatim transcript (including all utterances) or a cleaned-up version (without fillers and false starts). If there are multiple speakers, clearly identify each speaker in the transcript.

6.    Review and edit.

After transcribing, listen to the recording again while reading your transcript to catch any missed or misheard parts. Correct grammatical errors if you’re doing a non-verbatim transcript, but ensure the meaning is not altered.

7.    Proofread your text.

Proofread your transcript for typos, inconsistencies, and formatting errors. Ensure that the transcript accurately conveys the message and context of the original recording.

8.    Format the transcript.

Use a clear and consistent format throughout the document, including speaker labels, timestamps (if necessary), and paragraph breaks.

Tips for Optimizing Your Transcription Process

Optimizing your transcription process is critical to improving both the accuracy and efficiency of your work. Here are some valuable tips and tool recommendations to enhance your transcription experience:

  • Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones to block out background noise and focus better on the audio.
  • Take short breaks every hour to rest your ears and mind, which can help maintain a high level of accuracy.
  • Familiarize yourself with keyboard shortcuts for pausing, playing, rewinding, and fast-forwarding. This reduces the time spent switching between the keyboard and mouse.
  • Use speech recognition tools like Google Docs voice typing for a rough first draft, then edit and format the transcript manually.
  • Maintain a list of frequently used terms, names, or phrases specific to the audio content, which can be helpful for consistency and accuracy.

How Professional Transcription Services Can Help You Out

Professional transcription services are pivotal in providing accurate and efficient transcription solutions.

These services are especially beneficial for individuals and organizations that require high-quality transcriptions of voice memos and other audio recordings. Here’s how they can help you out:

High Accuracy and Efficiency

Professional services employ skilled transcribers trained to handle various audio qualities and complexities, ensuring high accuracy in the final transcript.

Many services have a multi-tiered quality assurance process involving proofreading and editing by experienced editors to guarantee accuracy.

Handling Diverse Accents and Dialects

Professional services often have a diverse team capable of understanding and accurately transcribing recordings with various accents and dialects. This is crucial for global businesses and multicultural environments.

Expertise in Industry-Specific Terminology

Professional transcriptionists often have expertise in specific fields like legal or financial domains. They are familiar with the jargon and terminology unique to these areas, ensuring that specialized content is accurately transcribed.

For instance, professionals can accommodate transcription especially for law enforcement, legal teams, and financial institutions.

Time-Saving and Convenient

Professional services can transcribe large volumes of audio much faster than manual or automated methods, saving valuable time for businesses and individuals.

Confidentiality and Security

Professional services understand the importance of confidentiality, especially for sensitive information. They often have strict security protocols to protect your data. Many services are willing to sign NDAs to provide additional security for your information.

How to Transcribe Voice Memos With SpeakWrite

Transcribing voice memos with SpeakWrite is a straightforward process that combines convenience, accuracy, and speed. Here’s a detailed guide on how to use SpeakWrite for your transcription needs:

Step 1: Set up your SpeakWrite account.

Visit the SpeakWrite website and sign up for an account. You may need to provide some basic information about yourself or your organization. Select a plan that suits your needs. SpeakWrite offers various pricing options, including pay-as-you-go plans.

Step 2: Prep your voice memos.

Use your smartphone, digital recorder, or computer to record the voice memo. Ensure the recording is clear and audible. Save your recording in a compatible format. SpeakWrite typically supports common audio formats like MP3, WAV, or AAC.

Step 3: Upload voice memos.

Log into your SpeakWrite account and navigate to the upload section. Click on the upload option and select the voice memo files from your device. You can upload multiple files at once if needed.

Step 4: Specify transcription requirements.

Specify how you want the transcription to be formatted. SpeakWrite offers various formatting options, including verbatim, non-verbatim, or custom formats tailored to specific industries.

If you have any specific instructions or preferences (like speaker names, timestamps, or technical terminology), make sure to include these in the provided section.

Step 5: Submit your request.

Double-check your files and instructions, then submit your transcription request.

 Step 6: Receiving your transcription.

You’ll receive a notification once your transcription is complete (usually via email). Log back into your SpeakWrite account, where you can download the transcribed document. The transcript will be in the format you specified.

SpeakWrite's Accuracy and Speed

High Accuracy

Whether it’s dealing with various accents, dialects, or noisy backgrounds, SpeakWrite’s transcriptionists are skilled in delivering accurate transcript—even in challenging audio scenarios.

Fast Turnaround

One of the key advantages of using SpeakWrite is its quick turnaround time. They typically return transcribed documents in a matter of hours, depending on the length and complexity of the audio.

24/7 Availability

No matter the hour or day, SpeakWrite’s services are available. This 24/7 availability is particularly beneficial for urgent, last-minute, or unexpected transcription needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you transcribe an iPhone voice memo?

Yes, you can transcribe voice memos recorded on an iPhone. There are several methods to do this:

  • Listen to the voice memo and type out the content.
  • Use apps like SpeakWrite, Rev Voice Recorder, ai, or Apple’s built-in Voice Memos app, which all offer transcription features.

Can you transcribe a voice memo for free?

If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, manual transcription doesn’t cost anything but your time. For automated options, tools like oTranscribe or Express Scribe provide basic functionalities at no cost.

Additionally, some online platforms offer free automated transcription services, though they might impose restrictions on the length of the audio or the number of transcriptions per month.

Can I convert a voice recording to text?

Many smartphones and computers have built-in speech-to-text features that can convert voice recordings to text. Apps like Dragon NaturallySpeaking, Google Docs Voice Typing, or online transcription services can automate the conversion process.

For high accuracy, especially with complex recordings, professional services are recommended.

How do I transcribe voice to text on my iPhone?

One of the most efficient ways is to use the SpeakWrite app. It’s designed to transcribe your dictations quickly and accurately. Simply download the app, record your voice memo, and submit it for transcription.

SpeakWrite’s team of professional transcriptionists will handle the rest, ensuring your transcript is accurate and delivered promptly.

Is it possible to edit transcripts after they are generated?

Whether you’re using an automated app or a professional service, you always have the option to edit the transcripts post-generation. This is particularly useful for fine-tuning the details and ensuring the transcript matches the audio content perfectly.

How long does it take to transcribe one hour of audio?

It can take approximately 4-6 hours for manual transcription to transcribe one hour of clear audio. Automated tools can do it in a fraction of that time but might lack accuracy.

Professional services like SpeakWrite offer a balance, providing accurate transcripts with a quick turnaround time, often within a few hours for one hour of audio.

Get Started With Voice Memo Transcription Today

Transform your voice memos into accurate, written documents with ease and confidence.

Here’s how to get started:

  • Sign Up: Join the SpeakWrite family. It’s quick, simple, and the first step towards effortless transcription.
  • Upload Your Voice Memos: Your words matter. Upload your recordings easily, and let us handle the rest.
  • Receive Accurate Transcripts: SpeakWrite promises of speed, reliability, and precision. Get your transcripts back faster than you thought possible, meticulously crafted to your specifications.

With SpeakWrite, you’re not just transcribing voice memos; you’re unlocking potential, saving time, and enhancing productivity. Experience the power of professional transcription. Place an order for voice memo transcription today.

How to Mail Your Recorded Tapes


Many clients have recorded mini or standard cassette tapes to submit to us for transcription, but would rather not use their staff and resources to input these tapes into our system. In these instances, you can have these recorded cassettes delivered to us, and we will upload them into our system for transcription for you. To use this method of submission, you must have an existing SpeakWrite account. Send recorded tapes via overnight courier or USPS to the following address:

SpeakWrite Tape Processing Center
6300 Bridgepoint Pkwy
Building 1, Suite 100
Austin, Texas 78730

(800) 828-3889
Attn: Production Manager

With each delivery, you must print out a Recorded Tape Transmittal Sheet and enclose it with the tapes to be transcribed. Your package must include properly addressed and pre-paid packaging and label for the return of your tapes, using a service that provides for delivery tracking. If this is not included, we will return your tapes to you and charge your account a $10.00 delivery fee. Immediately upon our receipt of your tapes, we will input them into the SpeakWrite system for transcription. You will receive the transcription of the taped material via the email address on your account, just as any other SpeakWrite job. Your tapes will be returned to you via the delivery method you designate 48 hours after the completion of your transcript. All work transcribed will be charged at the standard, per word rate. There is no additional charge for handling or inputting the tapes. Be sure to erase all previously recorded tapes completely before recording any new dictation in order to avoid having old work transcribed by mistake or jeopardizing the quality of the newly recorded material.