Taking notes by keyboard, or even worse for some, by hand with a pen or pencil, is akin to the dark ages. It is not a task that most people yearn to do. Otter.ai is a voice to text conversion tool that can help you avoid making notes into digital documents and be more productive.

I have been using Otter.ai for over two years and have found nothing comparable to it. Although its primary purpose is aimed at business users who want to transcribe Zoom or other meetings, I have only occasionally used it for that.

Otter.ai Pricing

Let’s start there because that is what every reader wants to know upfront. How much is this thing and should I stop reading now? Keep reading. Please.

The sweet thing is Otter.ai has an amazing Basic Plan that is free for up to 300 minutes, that’s 5 hours, of transcription. If you are in need of way more, because you are recording long meetings or wanting to do transcription on the fly, the Pro plan starts at $100 per year (annual plan) with up to 1,200 minutes of transcription. Business plans are for power users with 6,000 minutes per month, $240 per year.

This Is How I Use Otter.ai

I use a separate digital voice recorder, called Easy Voice Recorder, that is available for both iOS and Android. It is well reviewed, a rock solid digital recorder, and I will put the links below. I have the premium version that I think was $5 a few years ago.. I record all of my notes and ideas and sometimes entire articles by voice and then I upload them to Otter and it quickly transcribes them. That is mostly how I use it.

I am attaching the screenshot above to show you how the voice recording MP3 gets converted to text. One of the things I like the most is it takes my content and gives me Summary Keywords. I often find these quite helpful across recordings and transcriptions. The “Outline” feature to the right is new and I’m not sure it is capturing it the way I would, but I like the potential there.

You can see in the transcribed portion that I have had a conversation with myself about “Does ChatGPT really save me time?” and I have blurred out one minor bleep of a word, plus the transcription was not perfect in this one. As I work through various testing of the ChatGPT service, I am also building a series of takeaways I will share in a few weeks. If you are interested in those ChatGPT articles, here are a couple of popular ones:

ChatGPT Success Completely Depends On Your Prompt

MORE FROM FORBESChatGPT Success Completely Depends On Your Prompt

ChatGPT Hack For Summarizing Your Work

MORE FROM FORBESChatGPT Hack For Summarizing Your Work

My use of Otter could change as they have updated their plans and pricing for the coming renewal periods, however, right now, I still work this way with the service. There is a built-in recording function in the web version and the mobile apps, but I use a separate digital voice recorder and then upload my MP3 files to Otter from my iPhone. This could change because it appears the plans will only allow so many uploads to the service on the basic or the pro plan. so I may have to change my method and use their recording tool to dictate my notes.

The other major feature that I appreciate is that you can listen to your recording and correct the text, as the tool highlights where you are in the recording, so you can pause it and fix the written portion as needed. Yes, it is a bit time-consuming, but in the overall process, it is not needed that often.

It is less than ideal that it does not allow punctuation as you go, on the fly, or that it does it for you where it thinks punctuation should be; that is probably my biggest complaint about the Otter service.

But again, I do not use the service as an on-the-fly content creation method. Most often, sitting with my laptop in a quiet place, I open Google Docs and use the voice typing option and dictate my content, my article and Google’s Voice Typing function is amazingly good. It lets me add punctuation as I go. It is only available via Google Chrome, I believe, so that is a bit of a bummer, but it works so I will not complain.

Overall, if you are looking for a way to get your ideas from voice recordings or from Zoom or other recorded meetings you have had, Otter.ai is a powerful tool and can save you time and effort.

Links to Otter.ai on Google Play and App Store:

Otter.ai Android Mobile App

Google

Otter.ai on the Apple iPhone App Store

App Store‎Otter: Transcribe Voice Notes



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