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Transcription software assists in the conversion of human speech into a text transcript. The primary meaning of the term "transcription software" has changed over time, with the introduction of new technologies such as natural language speech recognition. References also depend on the purpose for the transcript. The term "transcription software" can refer to a completely automated solution, or to software which helps a human transcriber manually convert spoken audio into text transcripts. In the latter case, the term digital dictation is sometimes used.
Transcription software, as with transcription services, is often provided for business, legal, or medical purposes. Compared with audio content, a text transcript is searchable, takes up less computer memory, and can be used as an alternate method of communication, such as for closed captions.
The definition of transcription "software", as compared with transcription "service", is that the former is sufficiently automated that a user can run the entire system without engaging outside personnel. However, the advent of software-as-a-service and cloud computing models blur this distinction.
Transcription software products and vendors
A number of transcription software tools are available for research and/or for commercial use:
Automatic (Natural Language Recognition) tools
- CMU Sphinx - A robust Open Source speech recognition system developed at Carnegie Mellon University
- Nuance - Dictaphone, Dragon NaturallySpeaking, eScription, MacSpeech Scribe, PowerScribe
- Yap Speech Cloud - Speech-to-text platform acquired by Amazon.com
- HTML5 — Web Speech API
Manual tools (digital dictation, transcription assistants)
- MAXQDA - Qualitative analysis software with a fully developed transcription tool.
- Sony Digital Voice Editor