Download the best transcription software for PC [2020 Guide]

Madalina Dinita
by Madalina Dinita
Former Managing Editor
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  • If you're looking for a good transcription software solution, this article will definitely help you. 
  • The programs on our list can help you organize recordings, collaborate with your team-mates, and even use special transcription foot pedals to simplify your tasks.
  • Discover many more audio software solutions on our website.
  • Check out our dedicated Audio section for more awesome articles.
best transcription software

If you’re looking for a good transcription software, this article will definitely help you. Transcribing audio recordings is an excellent way to earn a few extra dollars from the comfort of your home.

If you decided to work in audio transcription, you’ll also need a reliable and feature-rich transcription software. In this article, we’re going to list the best transcription tools that you can use to get the job done really fast.

How to choose the best transcription software? We will help you by answering a series of questions that you might have asked :

  • Do you need a free or a full-featured version of the tool?
  • Does it support audio/video-to-text transcription?
  • Can you edit the text while transcribing?
  • Does it allow you to use voice commands?
  • Can you use a foot pedal to control playback?

You can find the answer to these questions below.

(1 to 5)
Free/Paid Audio/Video to text Dictate&Edit Voice commands Foot pedal support
Adobe Premiere Pro 5 Free version available Yes Yes No Yes
Express Scribe 4.5 Free version available Yes Yes No Yes
Dragon Naturally Speaking 5 Paid Yes Yes Yes Yes
InqScribe 4 Paid Yes Yes No Yes
Audiotranskription 5 Paid Yes N/A No No

What are the best transcription software?

Adobe Premiere Pro (recommended)

Adobe has a habit on adding more and more software tools to its Creative Suite, and many of them have a habit of eventually becoming the best of their domain.

That certainly seems to be the case with Adobe Premiere Pro as well, as it has become an industry-leading video editor that everyone uses.

The timeline-based interface is organized in a way that caters to both new and veteran users, and the toolset makes it so that you can do pretty much anything to your video files, including transcribing them.

Normally this premium-level products would be subscription-based, but you can grab it now for free.

Here are some of the perks of using Adobe Premiere Pro:

  • Easy import and export to and from other Adobe Products
  • Compatible with pretty much any video file format
  • Capable of creating professional-level videos from scratch
  • Tutorials on how to use it are easy to come by
  • Can be tested for free

Download Adobe Premiere Pro

Express Scribe Transcription Software (suggested)

Install Express Scribe on your computer and you’ll literally become a better typist. This tool lets you control audio playback so that you never miss a word.

Express Scribe supports both audio and video playback and plays most formats, including encrypted dictation files. The tool comes in two versions: a free version, and a premium one.

It is worth mentioning that the free version supports only common audio formats, including wav, mp3, wma and dct.

In other words, if you often transcribe from audio formats that are not frequently used, we recommend buying the Pro version of the tool.

Express Scribe supports professional USB foot pedals to control playback. Of course, you can also use hotkeys to control playback when transcribing into Word or other similar software.

Other features include:

  • Dock both analog and digital portable voice recorders to load recordings.
  • Works with speech recognition software to automatically convert speech to text.
  • Works with FastFox text expander for entering medical/legal phrases and common phrases with keyboard shortcuts.

Download Express Scribe Pro

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a very versatile speech recognition software that can also help you transcribe audio recordings a lot faster. If you aren’t fast at typing, this tool will save the day.

To transcribe audio with Dragon NaturallySpeaking, you first need to pair the software with a compatible recorder. Then go to Tools and open a DragonPad.

Go back to Tools, click the option Translate Recording, open the audio file that you need, and hit the Transcribe button.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking will then transcribe the audio file into the recently opened DragonPad. The only downside is that there will be no punctuation in the transcription, so you’ll need to add it yourself.

To make sure that that the transcription is flawless, you should also go over the whole text while listening to the audio recording. The tool is accurate only with one speaker at a time.

It is worth mentioning that the transcription feature is only available in the Pro version of Dragon NaturallySpeaking. You can buy it for $300. In case you do not afford such version, don’t worry.

On the link below (the official NUANCE webpage) you can choose between multiple versions and you also have a feature list for each version at your disposal.

Download Dragon Naturally Speaking

InqScribe transcription software

InqScribe is a powerful transcription tool that lets you play audio recordings and videos and type your transcripts in the exact same window.

This is an excellent feature as it gives you better visibility over the entire transcription process.

InqScribe is compatible with most media players out there. It can play audio and video files from your hard drive, flash drive, CD, server, or URL.

You can control playback using custom shortcuts and keep your hands on the keyboard at all times. The software also support USB foot pedals, but this is optional.

Once you’re done, you can share your transcripts via file or email. InqScribe can import and export data in the following formats: plain text, tab-delimited text, XML, HTML (export only), Final Cut Pro XML (export only), Spruce STL (export only), Subrip (export only), WebVTT (export only).

Download InqScribe


Audiotranskription is a useful transcription software that allows you to slow down, as well as speed up audio playback.

In this manner, you can adapt audio to your typing speed, and then speed the audio recording when proofreading your work.

The program comes with an interesting feature that automatically rewinds audio a little when you hit the pause button, so that you can hear the last two words again.

Audiotranskription also types the speakers’ names in dialogues and marks them in different colors. The tool automatically inserts timestamps while typing.

This feature comes in very handy if you want to check an incomprehensible paragraph later. However, sometimes the software inserts the wrong timestamp, but is most cases, it gets it right.

This transcription software also supports comments, meta-level or context information.

This is actually a very useful feature, allowing you to take notes and add comments, listing further details about the topic at hand.

Download Audiotranskription

The automatic transcription software currently available often fail at transcribing audio recordings. The more variables (multiple speakers, background noise, non-native speakers, etc.), the lower the performance of these tools.

For the time being, nothing replaces the good old manual process of audio transcription. Indeed, this process takes more time and involves more money.

If you really want a good transcription tool, you’ll have to pay for it. Of course, you can use a free transcription tool, but the results are simply not the same.

We guarantee you that the four transcription tools listed above will make your transcription job much easier. Select the one that best suits your needs and start transcribing right now!

FAQ: Learn more about audio transcription software

  • What is the best audio transcription software?

Although you can easily achieve great results with just about any program we’ve included on our list, there’s one program that stands out in the crowd. Express Scribe is, without a doubt, one of the best audio transcription software out there.

  • Can I use a transcription foot pedal?

Yes, most transcriptions offer you the chance of working with a foot pedal to simplify software interaction. However, you should check if the program you’re interested in supports this feature.

  • What is audio transcription software?

Audio transcription software consists of specialized programs that can help users transcribe audio content to the text as simple as possible. Most of these programs work with dedicated hardware called transcription foot pedals.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in August 2017 and has been since revamped and updated in April 2020 for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.