Everyone knows that the recording and transcription course of requires a whole lot of arduous work. That is why many individuals flip to transcription providers for his or her wants. Otter takes an modern strategy to the duty, providing real-time transcripts of conversations and conferences as they happen. It additionally integrates different options resembling cross-conversation speaker identification, good search instruments, and glorious cell apps, although some options are a bit tough across the edges. Though Otter’s extra correct than most automated providers, it is nonetheless not a viable different to human-based providers at this level. Till Otter has extra time to enhance its applied sciences, we suggest Editors’ Selection Rev on your vital transcript jobs. For impromptu conferences or private notes although, Otter may fit properly for you.

Worth Plans

Otter is free for now, although the corporate says it’s going to cost a subscription charge sooner or later. It stays unknown when the pricing change will take impact and whether or not it will likely be a flat subscription charge or primarily based on the variety of minutes of audio you document. We hope that Otter continues to allow you to document an infinite variety of recordings and doesn’t cost further charges like some human-based providers do. On a optimistic notice, this subscription charge implies that Otter is not going to put advertisements into its app or monetize your recordings in any means.

For comparability, Scribie’s automated transcription service is totally free, although it doesn’t have a cell app. Trint is the one service that presently gives subscription pricing. Its least expensive plan expenses $15 monthly for as much as three hours’ price of uploaded audio. Temi, the opposite automated service, prices $zero.10 per minute.

Freelance-based providers value extra, given the human capital they require and the improved charges of accuracy. Most cost on a per-minute foundation often within the $1 to $three vary. Rev, for instance, expenses a base charge of $1 per minute for every minute of audio you order. It, together with others, additionally bump up the value should you add further choices to the transcript job resembling speaker identifications and timestamps or even when the audio recording is simply of poor high quality.

How Otter Works

At its core, Otter is an ambient transcription service that depends on automated speech recognition (ASR) to course of your recordings in actual time. All you could do is hit the document button, begin talking, and watch your phrases seem within the app. It provides in correct punctuation and separates particular person audio system (with blended outcomes) and even tracks playback to the right line. In our expertise, it takes a few minutes for the transcript to point out up within the app, however after that, it updates in close to real-time. We take a look at Otter’s accuracy in a later part of the evaluate.

Otter’s ASR expertise is just like that of different providers we reviewed, together with Scribie, Temi, and Trint. The underlying expertise is developed by a bunch known as AI Sense; it notably integrates with the video-conferencing service, Zoom. In case you are curious, there’s nothing particular concerning the identify, Otter. Sure, it sounds a bit like “utter.” Nonetheless, my contact supplied a greater rationalization: otters are cute animals. In any case, I agree that otters are cool creatures and do admire the brand.

In its privateness coverage, Otter explains that it encrypts its providers with SSL and protects accounts with two-factor authentication (oddly, although there isn’t a strategy to allow this but on the time of writing). It is a good suggestion to learn by means of AI Sense’s privacy policy for your self. One optimistic factor is that you may simply delete your information at any time; that is pretty normal throughout all transcription providers. Automated providers are additionally inherently safer since there may be not one other human on the top of the method who has entry to your (probably) delicate information.

Really Cell Transcripts

Otter gives apps for each Android and iOS. Setup is straightforward; simply obtain the app from the respective app retailer and create an account. We put in the app on each a Google Pixel working Android eight.1 and an iPhone eight with iOS 11, although nearly all of our evaluate refers to our expertise with the Android model.

The app makes use of a primarily white interface with the occasional blue accent for emphasis. It appears to be like clear and fashionable, however I’d admire a darkish mode as properly. Navigation is managed by tapping one of many 5 icons within the backside menu: Dashboard, Conversations, Document, Teams, and Settings. You possibly can’t swipe to navigate between screens, nevertheless, which is annoying. Dashboard exhibits all of your newest account exercise, together with related fast actions for many objects. The Conversations part lists all of your recordings in reverse chronological order. You possibly can seek for particular phrases throughout the transcripts or for the identify of the dialog itself. An possibility to rearrange recordings into folders could be useful, which is one thing that Trint gives.

In case you click on on a selected dialog, you’ll be able to view the transcript in its entirety together with some fundamental data up high concerning the recording date, time, and its complete size. Within the higher proper nook, you’ll be able to share the recording and set modifying permissions. Alternatively, you’ll be able to share the hyperlink Otter generates immediately. To edit a selected half, merely maintain down on it and hit the Edit button. It’s worthwhile to faucet on every part individually to make edits; you’ll be able to’t, for instance, scroll to a different part and make modifications in a single easy session. This can be a little bit of a nuisance on condition that Otter is not very correct with the way it identifies new audio system or breaks within the dialog.

Otter additionally permits you to edit the title of a transcript, however you’ll be able to’t change the date. This selection could be helpful should you uploaded a file on the internet interface (extra on this later) after the unique recording occurred. You possibly can scrub by means of a recording by way of the playback controls on the backside and it highlights the phrases because the audio performs. A high menu permits you to management the playback pace (zero.5x-2x) or delete the recording solely.

The subsequent tab over, Teams, means that you can set up contacts for simply sharing conversations. Otter’s strategy to sharing is among the higher implementations we have seen. Different providers like Rev and Trint allow you to arrange collaborators or groups, however neither allow you to achieve this seamlessly on cell. The settings part is fundamental; there is a toggle to limit audio importing and streaming to a Wi-Fi connection, together with the usual suggestions and sharing hyperlinks. The one different possibility is to coach Otter to acknowledge your voice. This course of entails recording your self studying again textual content so it could actually get an excellent grasp in your voice mannequin. I want there have been further safety and privateness settings right here.

Otter’s iPhone app appears to be like nearly an identical to its Android counterpart, albeit with a number of minor enhancements. For instance, within the Setting s part of the app, it permits you to add a profile picture and import contacts out of your telephone or Google account. As a substitute of together with the search icon within the high nook of the Dashboard and Conversations part, it strikes it down beneath the header. I hope that Otter makes a concerted effort to maintain these two platforms per one another going ahead.

Net Interface

Otter’s net interface options the identical clear and fashionable design type as its cell apps. It could profit from a darkish mode as properly. Alongside the left rail, there are only some menu objects: Conversations, Teams, Suggestions, and Log Out. There’s notably no account part or a top-level search bar, which is disappointing. It is price noting that the online interface modified a number of occasions all through my testing, and I hope to see the search bar and assist sections return quickly. There are additionally efficiency points. For instance, after I tried to open an older transcript, Otter received caught on the Loading Knowledge display screen. The identical transcript labored effective on cell.


The conversations part works the identical means because it does on cell; it lists your whole recordings in reverse chronological order. You may also share, export, or delete a transcript from this view. Choosing one opens up the playback controls and a replica of the transcript itself. The highest part shows a play/pause and 15-second rewind/ahead buttons. To edit the textual content, merely click on on the pencil icon to the best of every part. As a substitute of letting you edit every little thing all of sudden, it requires you (as with the cell app) to click on into every particular person part earlier than you can also make any modifications. Earlier iterations allow you to seek for particular person phrases in a transcript, however that characteristic appears to have disappeared for now. Otter does generate a sequence of static key phrases underneath the title, however you’ll be able to’t click on on them to search out situations throughout the transcript, for instance. Till Otter finalizes all these options, I like to recommend sticking with its cell apps.

You may also change the speaker IDs for particular person blocks of textual content. Sadly, this is not very correct and it typically mislabels paragraphs as both having too many or too few audio system. That mentioned, it does have some intelligent options. For instance, when you add an ID to a piece, it mechanically goes by means of the remainder of the transcript and provides it to no matter paragraphs it detects as having the identical speaker. It makes use of the identical data to detect the identical speaker in every other conversations or recordings. This solely partially labored in testing, but it surely’s a promising characteristic.


To check out the accuracy of the transcription providers, I uploaded the identical 16-minute recording to every one. The unique recording of a three-person convention name got here from an Olympus VN-722PC devoted voice recorder. It isn’t a straightforward recording, however all of the voices are clearly audible. Though this isn’t Otter’s major function, it is the easiest way to match its ASR engine on to different providers.

Otter completed the transcript course of in about six minutes. The entire automated transcription providers accomplished the duty within the vary of three to 4 minutes. The quickest human-based transcription, Rev, solely required round an hour for a similar process.

As a substitute of evaluating the whole thing of every transcript, I selected three paragraphs, one from every speaker on the decision. For every snippet of the transcription, I marked an error wherever there was a lacking or an additional phrase. I calculated the general error charge by dividing the overall variety of errors into the overall variety of phrases throughout the mixed sections (on this case, 201 phrases). The pattern for part A is a brief introductory part. Part B is barely longer and makes use of extra complicated vocabulary. Part C is even lengthier and accommodates some technical language.

Otter produced glorious outcomes for an automated service (it solely had an error charge of 17 %), but it surely nonetheless fell wanting the human-based service I examined. For comparability, Rev solely had an error charge of three % and Scribie turned in a closing copy with six %. Check out the total chart beneath for the whole breakdown.

Complex Accurracy Test

I retested all the automated providers, together with Otter, with an easier recording (2 folks, in-person) and calculated the error charge, in the identical method, utilizing two samples, as an alternative of three. The automated providers fared higher with this process as a complete, however they nonetheless weren’t excellent. Otter truly fell to the center of the pack with an error charge of 21 %, although this was not too far off from Trint’s 14 % or Temi’s 20 %. The total outcomes of the second take a look at seem beneath.

Simple Transcript Test

Speak and Transcribe

Wherever and every time you will have an vital dialog, it is best to have some strategy to document it and switch it into usable knowledge. Otter’s give attention to real-time transcriptions and sharing make it an modern possibility within the area. It is extra constantly correct than any automated transcription service we examined, even when it could actually’t compete with human-based providers. After a number of iterations, Otter may very properly be a front-runner within the class, however for now, we suggest utilizing Editors’ Selection Rev for reasonably priced and correct transcripts.

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