How to Convert Skype Audio to Text with Transcriber - dummies

How to Convert Skype Audio to Text with Transcriber

By Loren Abdulezer, Susan Abdulezer, Howard Dammond, Niklas Zennstrom

Transcriber helps you convert your Skype audio to text. Without Transcriber, converting your Skype audio files into text can be a long and difficult process. Fortunately, Transcriber shaves hours off the task of transcribing long audio sessions, organizing text by topic and speaker, and publishing the transcript in print or on the Web.

Transcriber’s features allow you to

  • Import MP3 files.

  • Create labels with the names of individual speakers.

  • Create new sections when there is a change of topic.

  • Segment audio portions and sync them with written files.

  • Zoom and telescope the timeline.

  • Incorporate the names of speakers in the timeline.

  • Export transcription files as text or XML (getting not only the text but also the time codes).

Transcriber is available at no cost from for download for Windows, Mac, and Linux. Just click Download from the vertical menu and choose the version to download. Windows users will want to download the Windows.exe file.


Transcriber has many fancy features. But just a straight transcription, in many cases, gets the job done. Here is the two-minute tutorial to get you quickly up to speed:

  1. Launch the software.

    You are prompted to locate your digital recording (typically, an MP3 file).

  2. Open the sound file.

  3. Begin transcribing by pressing the Tab key and typing what you hear. To stop the playback, press the Tab key again.

    Repeatedly pressing the Tab key starts and stops the playback. As you get acclimated to transcribing, you will find that you often press the Tab key at the start of a word or phrase, type the word or phrase, and press the Tab key as you are about to resume listening and transcribing. In this manner, you can just about do nonstop typing while slowing the audio track to keep pace with your rate of typing.

Transcriber has a ton of bells and whistles, including the ability to mark your transcript with annotations on background noise, include music, identify different speakers, and even overlap speakers for any segment of your recording. Here are some tips for using the more advanced features of Transcriber:

  • To rewind the audio playback a few moments, press the triangular-shaped rewind symbol. This feature is useful when you are trying to transcribe something difficult to hear or when the person is talking at 90 miles an hour.

  • To advance the playback to a later point in the timeline, press the fast-forward button. There are bound to be moments where there is a pause or natural break. Press the Enter key and continue typing.

  • Every time you press the Enter key, you insert a new segment in the timeline, and the text window where you are transcribing inserts a new line, starting with a bullet point. Your timeline at the bottom of the window has dividing lines between segments. To move back and forth between segments, press the up arrow or down arrow key. In this manner, you can swiftly move to just about any portion of a long recording and rework the text for a particular segment.

  • If you want to split a segment into two smaller ones, position your cursor in the text at the place you want to make the split and then press the Tab key to begin the audio playback for the segment. When you get to the moment in the audio playback when the segment should be made, press the Enter key to insert the segment.

  • To join two segments into one, press Ctrl+Backspace. Every now and then, save your file. The file that gets saved has not only a text transcription but also a time coding for each of the segments. This information makes it easy to create captions for audio and video recordings.

  • If you have a long recording such as an hour in length, want a word-for-word transcription, and need to have all this done quickly, make three copies of your audio file and distribute them to three people. Have one person transcribe the first 20 minutes of the recording, another person transcribe the second 20 minutes, and a third person do the remaining portion. The three transcriptions can easily be merged.

  • As a practical matter, if you need to do a word-for-word transcription and are reasonably comfortable with the software and the typing, plan on spending two-and-a-half to four times the audio recording time for creating the actual transcription.