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Anybody using otter.ai?

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

  1. motorsportwriter

    motorsportwriter New Member

    I've been using the paid version of Otter for close to a year. Definitely worth the money. Example: I recently did a 25-minute interview. If I would have tried to transcribe it, probably would have taken well over an hour. But with Otter, took me about 20-25 minutes to go through the transcript, make some minor corrections or fixes. Well worth it.
  2. ringer

    ringer Active Member

    Sounds intriguing but the Otter website is very light on details about how it all works.

    So for those who have used Otter:

    1. What's the process for getting audio from your laptop's hard drive to Otter
    2. In what format does Otter send back the transcript? Word? Or something else?
    3. If you have to cut & paste their transcript into Word, are there crazy formatting issues?
    4. The *free* service is limited to 40-minute recordings. If your recording is longer - will they accept it and simply stop transcribing at the 40-minute mark? Or do you have to kill time figuring out how to cut it before sending?

    Thanks in advance
  3. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    1. There's an import button on the Otter website. Or you can play the audio and record it on your phone, where it'll automatically transcribe. You can see the transcription either on your phone via the app or on desktop via the website.
    2. The transcript is on their site or in your app. If you want to copy/paste chunks, I suggest using the web site. It allows you to select line by line. Really easy to use. You can also click on a word or phrase and start play right from that point.
    3. No, just paste as plain text.
    4. If you have a moment, just stop the recording and then hit record again. It'll just start a new file.
    ringer likes this.
  4. ringer

    ringer Active Member

    Thanks, great to know!
    Re: #3 - If I want to copy the entire transcript and paste into a Word doc in one big swoop. Will it let me? Or will Otter insist on making me copy it line by line?
    Re: #4 - what if you've already made the recording (so it's too late to stop/start mid-interview) and it's not on a phone (it's on a laptop hard drive)... and you try to import it to Otter? Does Otter reject it because it's too long? Or does Otter take it and stop transcribing at the 40 minute mark (and I can transcribe the rest myself)?
  5. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    You can copy and paste the entire text without any issue.

    I haven't used anything of that length, but my guess from how I've seen Otter work is that it would just stop at the 40 minute mark. There's no way for it to know how long a file is that you're importing until it transcribes.

    It's really easy to use. Experiment. See what happens.
    ringer likes this.
  6. ringer

    ringer Active Member

    Solo Flyer - thanks for all the advice. Much appreciated!

    So I tried it... and here's one dirty little secret about the free plan: Otter won't let you to upload more than 3 audio files -- maximum -- ever, on a free account.

    So I bought a full-year and so far have only used it for audio that was recorded on another device (not an iphone, not an app). Here's what I learned:

    Otter's transcripts are gibberish. It's taken me longer to fix all the missed words and mis-identified words than it would to transcribe these recordings myself. Such a bummer.

    Also, when you copy and paste a transcript to Word, you lose all distinction between first speaker and second speaker -- and all the time codes. Not a huge deal, but fyi.
  7. SoloFlyer

    SoloFlyer Well-Known Member

    I haven't really used the upload feature. I record everything natively on my phone using the Otter app.

    The quality of the audio file you're importing may have an impact, especially if it's audio of a phone call.
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