Fun with iDictate Transcription

Waxy.org: Daily Log: Fun with iDictate Transcription

At work, we’ve started using iDictate for transcribing audio. After sending them an MP3, they send back a written transcription within an hour or two for about $.01/word. (They split the audio into manageable chunks, distribute it to typists around the world, reassemble the text, and send it back.)

(The service costs one cent per word, and turnaround time is anywhere from 24 minutes to 24 hours. There is no monthly charge, nor any minimum job size or frequency.

This sounds fantastic! Not the “trying to stump them with lyrics” part — though that’s funny — but as an excellent way to get more out of my daily commute. Driving — I live 45 miles from work through brutal Silicon Valley traffic on Highway 101 — represents a significant amount of time. I love to think while I drive, but it has often frustrated me that I “lose” so many of those ideas. I tried writing on a pad of paper, but as I mentioned it’s pretty brutal traffic. My most recent plan was to get the iTalk accessory for my always-with-me iPod. It’s pretty good, but it just got alot better with news of this iDictate service! The iTalk is sweet — snap it in and it turns the iPod into a high quality voice recorder that generates MP3s.

There are two issues that have really prevented me from using the voice recorder much. First, and primarily, since so much of my life is text-based — websites, newspapers, books, blogs, email email email, post it notes, scraps of paper — it is hard to integrate actionable audio content with my standard workflow. Second, when I’m in my car I’m generally listening to my iPod with my iTrip that uses the same port as the iTalk.

The first problem is solved because I can now convert my audio files into text. Integration solved. The second problem is solved because when I don’t want to switch accessories on my iPod, or otherwise interrup my tunes, I can use iDictate over the phone on their toll-free number.

I’m still setting up an account, but I’ll try this on the way home and I predict it will be great. I’ll summarize my experience after I’ve done a few test drives.