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Anybody using otter.ai?

Discussion in 'Journalism topics only' started by JayFarrar, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Got tipped by a friend about a site called otter.ai that is, essentially, a free transcription service.

    I gave it a look, and it seems pretty incredible but I haven't put it to use yet.

    My friend has the paid version and says it saves huge amounts of time as you no longer have to transcribe your own interviews. You can also turn it on and record zoom and youtube meetings and press conferences, and it generates a transcript.

    I think it will be a game changer for how I report, but I was wondering if anyone else was using it.
  2. rubenmateo

    rubenmateo New Member

    I think someone else mentioned this elsewhere, but I think it’s great for longer interviews. For shorter ones, 10 minutes or less, I prefer doing it myself since I usually have to fix punctuation and some off words in Otter transcripts that takes about as much time to go through as does listening to the whole thing.
  3. Elliotte Friedman

    Elliotte Friedman Moderator Staff Member

    I have used it and I like it
  4. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    I pay an annual fee for Otter -- $50, I think -- and it's money well-spent. I record interviews on my phone and upload the audio files to Dropbox. Then on my computer, I go through Otter to pull the files from Dropbox and it works its magic. It doesn't take long for the transcription to be done. However, it's probably about 85 to 90 percent accurate. If I'm doing a Q&A, I have to read back over the transcript while listening to the interview and make changes. (Their/there; are/or; four/for...stuff like that.)

    Still, it's a bunch quicker than doing the transcribing yourself.

    You can use it for free for a certain number of minutes or transcriptions.
  5. This seems interesting.
  6. Danwriter

    Danwriter Member

    I've been using Rev.com for a couple years now and it has changed my workflow. Most of time now I use their AI service at $0.25 per recorded minute and have found it to be 80-90% accurate, and I can interpolate the accuracy gaps. Really helps with lengthy/dense technical quotes that I can just cut and paste and correct (when paraphrasing isn't warranted). Most of the time I hate transcribing, so it's worth the (very tax-deductible) costs, which are now more affordable than ever.
  7. PaperDoll

    PaperDoll Well-Known Member

    I only tried Otter once, at an international soccer event with multi-speaker press conferences and a mixed zone. I watched the live transcript appear, and it didn't reflect reality. I'm not sure if it was the accents, the sport-specific terminology, or the chaos.

    The colleague who recommended Otter said it learns as one uses it, so I probably didn't give it a fair trial.

    I blame soccer. ;)
  8. Danwriter

    Danwriter Member

    ...although worth noting that these services have a very Uber-ish business model, with actual human transcriptions put out for bid among a self-selected pool of workers. It's a tight squeeze for most of them, balancing speed vs accuracy, especially if English isn't a first language. For journos it's an interesting interaction point with capitalism. Like being in a store and wondering if that shirt you're thinking of buying was made by a Uighur.
  9. Flip Wilson

    Flip Wilson Well-Known Member

    If I want 100 percent accuracy, I know a person who transcribes. She charges $1 per recorded minute. But for a hour-long Q&A that's due the day after the interview, I've paid it.
    lakefront likes this.
  10. justgladtobehere

    justgladtobehere Well-Known Member

    Everybody gotta go Otter.
  11. PaperClip529

    PaperClip529 Active Member

    I use Otter for longer interviews. It’s a lot easier and quicker to clean up the misses than it is to transcribe it all myself.
  12. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    I use Otter for all situations that I can. For longer interviews, it saves the bulk of transcription. I just have to go in and clean up errors.

    For short interviews, it's nice to be able to jump right to an answer with a single click. Really helps on deadline.
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