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The Best Speech to Text Apps for Live Captions & Recording

The Best Speech to Text Apps for Live Captions & Recording

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This post is about the best speech to text apps. That is, apps to be used on your phone for live captions, to change speech to text, in order to communicate (with the side benefit of recording information, conversations and notes).

It is meant to serve as a resource for deaf or Deaf people (hearing impaired, hard of hearing) who need to understand what is being said. It has the side benefit of being helpful to hearing people who want to record information.

This is available in a downloadable PDF for my patrons, linked here.

It’s also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF’s.

Speech to Text Apps

Speech to text apps – or live captions, auto captions – are useful for pretty much everyone in some capacity.

If you are hearing, they can record your notes, translate content, help with communication.

For us hearing impaired in any capacity – deaf, Deaf, hard of hearing – they serve as a vital communication tool to help us  understand what people are saying. They take the speech (that others are saying) and put it into written form.

Some Pointers on the Apps Listed:

  • These apps are linked to the iOS (Apple) store. It is indicated in each app if it is available through Android.
  • All of the speech to text apps are FREE, but some of them require a subscription after a certain amount of trial has passed.
  • The apps that were created specifically to help us deaf in speech to text are listed first; the apps that were created by and for hearing and just incidentally help us deaf, are listed after.

Of the apps listed, I know that Ava, Sorenson Buzz, Otter, Google Live and Cardzilla are very popular with the d/Deaf community. There are many apps that are not listed; I focused on the most popular ones.

All of the apps were installed on my phone and I tried then out before listing.

Speech to Text Apps Created for the Deaf/Hard of Hearing

 

Ava 24/7 Accessible Life  by Transcense, Inc (iOS, Android)

Ava is an app designed to empower people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing by allowing to follow conversations in real time. The app provides 24/7 real-time captioning (with up to 95% accuracy, based on artificial intelligence), on your smartphone.

Sorenson Buzz Cards by Sorenson Communications, Inc. (iOS, Android)

Type it. Show it. BuzzCards is an app designed to help deaf people communicate easily with people who don’t know sign language. The app works like a deck of flashcards. You type the message and show it to the person with whom you are communicating. You can write and save cards with the message.
 

Speech to Text Apps Created for Hearing, but Have Use for Us Deaf/Hearing Impaired

These are the apps that were created by or for the hearing community but which prove to be useful for our d/Deaf or hearing impaired community.

Otter, Cardzilla and Google Live Transcribe are particularly popular.

I really liked the displays for the ones with larger fonts (like Cardzilla and Big Note), and loved how easy it is to do more with the application with Google Keep.

Check these live caption apps out:

Otter Voice Meeting Notes   by AISense (English only) (iOS, Android)

Otter records and takes meeting notes for you in real-time, so you can stay focused on the conversation and rest assured that all information (e.g. actions, highlights, photos, attendees) is captured, easily searchable, and shareable with your team. Otter.ai is also available online.

Cardzilla by Ink & Salt LLC (iOS, Android)

A fast & simple way to display your messages in large text. Communicate across distances. Pass messages silently. Grab attention when sound isn’t an option! CARDZILLA Features • Large & clear text, easy to read. • No scroll design, text automatically resizes as you type!

Google Live Transcribe  (Android only)

Available only on Android, but very popular.

Microsoft Translator by Microsoft (iOS, Android, Windows)

Microsoft Translator is a free, personal translation app for 60+ languages, to translate text, voice, conversations, camera photos and screenshots. You can even download languages for offline translation for free to use when you travel! • Text translation into over 60 languages

Hearo – Live Captions by Thomas Backes (iOS, Android)

This app performs live captioning of speech. To use the app, just hit the microphone button and begin speaking. The spoken words are converted to text and displayed on the screen. To stop the captioning, press the microphone button again. Use this app to help communicate and record what was said.

Big Note by Peter Macias (iOS, Android)

Big Note is used to communicate with people by typing text. There is a seek bar to decrease or increase/decrease text size. Easy to keep the communication going on by shaking the phone or swipe from right to left. Speech to Text with the ease of reading the highlighted text

Google Keep by Google LLC (iOS, Android)

Capture, edit, share, and collaborate on your notes on any device, anywhere. • Add notes, lists, photos, and audio to Keep. • Organize your notes with labels and colors. • Set and forget. Get reminded about a note at the right time or place.
 

Many, Many Live Caption, Speech to Text Apps

There are way more apps than listed here; this list is an attempt to highlight the best speech to text apps that are free, easy to immediately install and use.

If you know of one not mentioned, or have an experience with something listed, please share in the comments!

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Download the distraction-free PDF bundle for this post here.

Please note: it does cost me time and money to produce these PDF’s, so I truly appreciate it if you become a patron (- even $1/month) and download the PDF’s (and MP3’s, when I have them) that way.

However, I will always keep these as a free option, for those of you who have disabilities that need that access, and who may not be able to afford becoming my patron at this point.

You can become my patron by clicking here.

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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