If you’re looking to take your productivity up a notch (or if you’re just a really slow typist), the best speech-to-text software is a sure way to do it. The idea is pretty simple: You speak, and the software detects your words and converts them into text format. The applications are nearly endless, from dictating thoughts and jotting down notes to creating long-form documents without having to type a word yourself. Yet despite this, not many businesses and professionals are taking full advantage of what speech-to-text software can give them.
The good news is that the best speech-to-text software doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg — or anything at all, depending on your needs. There’s a handful of noteworthy services out there, though, and selecting the right one is important. That’s where we come in. Below, we’ve rounded up the best speech-to-text software platforms out there, with our picks covering a wide spectrum of platforms, features, and price points.
- Price: $15 per month or $150 per year
- Free Trial: Yes
- Platforms: iOS, Android
- Voice editing and formatting
- Cloud-based storage and file sharing
- AI learning adapts to your speech
If you’re already somewhat familiar with the best speech-to-text software then there’s a good chance you’ve heard of Dragon. Dragon Anywhere is a dedicated mobile speech-to-text app that delivers a high degree of accuracy thanks to its industry-leading speech recognition software that can adapt to your own speech patterns. In other words, Dragon Anywhere can actually learn how you speak, right down to your sentence cadence and word pronunciation. In the off-chance that it does make a mistake, you can edit and format using just your voice. Dragon Anywhere also allows for continuous dictation with no word limits or length cut-offs, and your text documents are stored in the cloud for easy access and sharing with colleagues when you need to.
Dragon Anywhere is by far the best speech-to-text software for mobile users, given that it’s designed entirely for use on iOS and Android devices, making it the ideal choice for translators, lawyers, accountants and other professionals who need to turn spoken dialog into written notes. It’s a bit like having a virtual stenographer. Plus, it’s useful for anybody else who wants to be able to “jot” things down hands-free. Its cloud-based sharing makes Dragon Anywhere great for group work, too.
Dragon Anywhere is a paid service with monthly and yearly subscription plans. You can pay on a monthly basis for $15, although if you like the service, then the $150 annual subscription is a better value (basically getting you two months free each year). If you want to give it a try first, there is a free one-week Dragon Anywhere trial available as well. There are Dragon software suites available for business users on Windows, and Dragon Anywhere syncs with them seamlessly. You also get a Dragon Anywhere subscription at no additional cost — a $150 value — with the Dragon Home and Dragon Professional desktop versions, which might be a better value depending on your needs.
- Price: Starts at $0.024 per minute
- Free Trial: Yes, Free Tier provides 60 audio minutes monthly for the first 12 months
- Platforms: Most devices with a microphone
- HIPAA- eligible and compatible with electronic health record systems
- Integrates with AWS cloud services
- Call Analytics extracts data and insights from customer interactions
If you need a more enterprise-grade solution, then Amazon Transcribe is one of the best speech-to-text software services for businesses large and small. It’s designed to integrate seamlessly with Amazon Web Services, so if your website and/or company already uses any of these, then setup should be a breeze. You can create text documents, transcribe conversations and videos, translate speech, and more. What really sets Amazon Transcribe apart from other speech-to-text apps (aside from its AWS integration) is its bevy of great features tailored for professional environments.
For instance, its Call Analytics feature can automatically extract useful insights from customer interactions, allowing you to tune and tailor your customer service. It’s also HIPAA-eligible and compatible with electronic health record systems for easy uploading and management of medical transcriptions and other patient data. Amazon Transcribe is purpose-built for businesses, especially larger enterprises (not to mention organizations such as hospitals), which should come as no surprise given its integration with Amazon Web Services.
Compared to other dictating software, Amazon Transcribe’s pricing structure is somewhat unique in that its monthly subscription fee is based on how many audio minutes you use, with plans starting at $0.024 per minute and scaling down in price per minute for the higher tiers. If you’re looking for the best speech-to-text software for professional business applications, Amazon Transcribe is hard to beat.
- Price: $79 for yearly subscription, $200 for lifetime
- Free Trial: Yes, basic free plan available
- Platforms: Windows; companion app available for iOS and Android
- Understands more than 100 languages
- Acts as a virtual assistant for your PC
- Remote PC control through Android or iOS mobile devices
If Dragon and Amazon Transcribe are overkill for your needs, Braina is one of the best speech-to-text software suites for individual users. We named it the best multipurpose program in our roundup of the best dictation software, as Braina can be considered more of a virtual assistant for your PC rather than a simple speech-to-text app. Think of it as being much like Siri or Alexa, but more focused on productivity (and much more powerful and versatile in this regard) while being also capable of excellent speech-to-text functions thanks to its impressive speech recognition A.I. that understands more than 100 languages.
If you feel like you could use a hand around the office but don’t want to actually hire a personal assistant, Braina might be worth a go. It’s one of the best speech-to-text software choices for small businesses, home offices, and individual users thanks to its excellent speech recognition capabilities and other features. Perform internet searches, dictate documents, translate different languages, record calls and meetings, set alarms and calendar reminders, sort through your files — you name it. Braina’s companion app even lets you do everything remotely via your iOS or Android phone or tablet when you’re away from your computer.
One major drawback of Braina is that the core software only works on Windows, the aforementioned iOS and Android companion app notwithstanding. Also, multiple people can use Braina without having separate accounts or subscriptions, which is a nice change of pace from most subscription-based software suites. There is a basic free plan available as well. If you want to unlock the full set of features, though, such as non-English language compatibility, then Braina will set you back $79 yearly or $200 for a lifetime key.
- Price: Free
- Platforms: Windows, Mac, and Linux (browser-based)
- If you have a Google account, you already have it
- Automatically converts text into document format
You might already have access to one of the best speech-to-text software apps without even knowing it, as Google Docs has one build right in. Google’s browser-based word processor (part of the broader Google Drive suite of cloud-based office software) features a Voice Typing feature, and if you have a Google account and a working mic, then you’re already set up to use it. You don’t have to pay a cent for it, either, and for free software, it’s pretty good — although it naturally lacks many of the advanced features and dictation functions of the best speech-to-text software we outlined above.
Google Docs Voice Typing is very simple: You speak into your microphone, and Google Docs dumps the text into a document. It costs nothing to use, so if you’re on the fence about whether you need speech recognition at all, then Google Docs Voice Typing is a free way to try it out before you shell out any cash for any of the best speech-to-text software suites that you have to pay for. Voice Typing is great for those who just need basic dictating software without the bells and whistles offered by paid services, as well.
Since Google Docs is browser-based, you shouldn’t have to worry about platform compatibility. It’s naturally best for use on a computer rather than a mobile device; that said, you can really use it on any device with a microphone and access to Google Docs. Everything you do with Google Docs Voice Typing is automatically stored on the cloud, too, just like any other document you’d create or edit using Google Docs. The Google Drive cloud also makes it easy to share your transcriptions with friends and colleagues if you want.