Transcribing audio into text—whether an interview, an important business meeting, or a voice note to yourself—has always been a valuable exercise. Once you’ve got things in writing, you can organize notes from the conversation, find important takeaways, and create content to share with others.

In the past, you’d need one of three things to make this happen: the ability to write uber-fast, someone else to take notes, or the money to pay a transcription service to do the work for you.

But those days are over now that AI transcription software is here. These apps use the power of AI to automatically transcribe any source of audio, whether pre-recorded or live, in real-time.

Today, I’m reviewing one of the breakout stars of the AI transcription space: Otter AI.

**Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my links, at no extra cost to you. Please read full disclosure for more information.

1. What is Otter AI?

Otter AI is a cloud-based AI transcription software that helps you turn any live or pre-recorded audio or video into text. It can even join live meetings to transcribe them for you.

Below, you’ll find my in-depth Otter AI review—I’ve tested each feature and given you my unbiased thoughts so you can decide if this software is right for you and your company.

2. What is An AI Transcription Software?

AI transcription apps use artificial intelligence and natural language processing to process audio files, recognize words, and turn them into fully formatted sentences and paragraphs for you to review.

Besides transcription, some AI transcribers can analyze the text to create smart outlines or summaries of what was said. They can even determine who spoke and when.

3. How Does Otter AI Work?

Otter AI, at its core, provides all of the standard transcription services you would expect from AI transcription software.

  • Transcribes both live and pre-recorded audio and video into fully-formatted text, so you can refer back to any meeting in seconds.
  • Creates smart outlines of each transcription, splits it into speakers, and gives you a word cloud based on the content.
  • Powerful features for businesses and teams such as editing functions, team sharing, add any notes or highlights, and you can even assign tasks from within the transcription.
  • Join live online meetings and transcribe them in real-time, or just send your bot to do it for you.
  • There’s now a new feature called Otter AI Chat, where you can ask Otter questions that may have been answered within the meeting. Pretty insanely cool.

It’s truly a powerful app for individuals, business owners, and teams.

4. AI Transcription Software: Full Otter Review

So what can you do with Otter AI? Let’s take a closer look at the dashboard and full capabilities.

Platform Overview

When you fire up the app, you’ll see this screen:

Left Menu – Main Navigation

On the left is the main menu. You can navigate between the home screen, your “Conversations” (or transcriptions), and conversations shared with you.

Under the main menu, you’ll see a space for Groups, Direct Messages, and Folders. These features help teams using Otter AI organize conversations and communicate within the app.

Top Menu – Start A Transcription

On the top right of the screen, you have a few ways to start a transcription.

You can paste a meeting URL into the text box to record the meeting live. You can click “Record” to start recording your voice right away. Or you can click “Import” to import audio or video recordings.

Right Menu – Sync Your Calendar

You can also sync your Google, Microsoft Outlook, or Zoom account to Otter AI to see upcoming meetings and schedule transcriptions in advance.

All The Transcription Features Available in Otter AI

Here’s a list of all the great features Otter has to offer, with their newest ones being some of my favorites! Then go below to see these features in action.

  • AI Otter Chat for Meeting: Ask Otter a question and it will reply back based on answers in the meeting.
  • Live Meeting Transcription: Watch it transcribe in real-time (like subtitles) for your viewing audience.
  • Editing and Sharing Meetings: You can edit the transcription and highlight or add notes.
  • Speaker Identification: The AI can identify who is speaking.
  • Automated Meeting Notes: Summarize the meeting in a few seconds.
  • Slack Integration: Integrate with Slack to work with AI Chat.

A. Live Meeting Transcription

I find this to be one of the most helpful features of Otter AI.

You can ask Otter Assistant, an AI transcription bot inside of Otter AI, to join your live meeting on Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. Once inside the meeting, the assistant will record everything that was spoken. (You can even see the live transcription on the Otter AI platform as you speak.)

There are two ways to do this:

  1. Paste the URL of your meeting to the app’s top bar.
  2. Connect your calendar to Otter AI in advance, and set the meetings you want Otter to join.

And this is what it looks like when you’ve scheduled a live transcription:

If you set a transcription in advance, Otter AI will show up to your meeting at the start time in your calendar and start transcribingeven if you show up late or miss the meeting!

I tested this feature by pasting a Zoom link into the menu. It took a few moments for the assistant to show up, and then I got a notification saying, “ is in the waiting room.” When it arrived, it was a black Zoom window with the words “Samantha’s”

It took another few moments before the transcription started, so I missed a few sentences at the beginning of the meeting. (Luckily, it was a fake meeting for testing purposes, and I was only talking to myself.)

The transcription was accurate and well-formatted, a testament to their natural-language processing technology. I can see this being extremely helpful for any kind of business or content creator who wants a clean copy of their meetings without having to take notes.

B. Live Zoom Meeting Captions

I haven’t been able to test this feature yet, but Otter AI makes it possible to provide live captions during a Zoom meeting for anyone to view. This is fantastic, particularly for those that:

  • Have any auditory or hearing disability and rely on subtitles for meetings.
  • Anyone attending a meeting that isn’t in an area where they can listen to the voice conversations.

All of the transcriptions generated during the meeting would also be saved into a conversation inside the app for later viewing and editing.

C. Live Audio Transcription

Another way of transcribing audio inside of Otter AI is to click the “Record” button and just start talking. You can do this while having a conversation with someone, like for an in-person meeting or interview, or you can simply record a voice note to yourself.

I tested this feature, too. It was accurate and did a great job of formatting the text. As I talked, I could see each word popping up on the screen in real-time.

This is a great speech to text function for those that are driving or have their airpods in while multitasking.

D. Audio and Video File Transcription

Finally, you can upload pre-recorded audio and video transcription files to Otter AI to have them transcribed. Depending on the size of the file, it may take a little while for the transcription to finish.

I tested this with a Ted Talk that I found on YouTube to see how it would handle a longer recording.

It did take a while to transcribe, but when it was finished, it was accurate and formatted, just like the other transcriptions.

This time, the software split up the text into multiple “speakers,” even though it was just one person presenting the talk. But that doesn’t really distract from the experience. In fact, having it broken down into paragraphs made it easier to read.

Editing and Reviewing Transcriptions

With Otter AI, generating the transcription is only half of the fun. Once the text is generated, you can edit and manipulate it in multiple ways.

To view and edit your transcriptions, click on “My Conversations” in the main menu. When you’ve chosen a transcription to edit, you’ll see this editing window:

The top bar features helpful information about the conversation, including keywords, which can help you categorize each conversation or find relevant conversations quickly. The editing process is quick and easy.

In the main part of the screen, you can review the transcription and edit any mistakes you find in the text. (Otter AI is not perfect—sometimes words will be misinterpreted.)

You can also edit speakers’ names or tag team members as speakers if the speak identification got it wrong. If the app hasn’t correctly broken up the text into each speaker, you can edit that, too.

If you want to listen to the audio again, you can click anywhere on the text to play the recording from that exact moment.

Finally, you can write notes and gather tasks from the meeting. Select a portion of text, and you’ll get a menu of options like attaching an image, creating a highlight, adding notes, or assigning that piece of the text as a task to someone in your team.

All of your notes and highlights are saved on the right sidebar for easy review. You can also simply type notes and takeaways inside the right menu.

Plus, for longer pieces of text, Otter AI will automatically generate an outline of the conversation to summarize what was said. This is what it looked like for the Ted Talk I transcribed:

To be honest, it was kind of random and didn’t seem to summarize the key points. But it might work better for a straightforward business meeting than a creative presentation like a Ted Talk.

Sharing Transcriptions and Notes

Once you’ve edited the transcription, you have the option of sharing it.

One way to do that is by sharing it directly inside the app. If you have team members on Otter AI, you can give them editing privileges so that they can add highlights, tasks, and notes, too. The Google Drive-like sharing menu allows you to invite others and set permissions.

You can also choose to export your transcription into other formats to use outside of the app. Choose from plain text, PDF, Word, Google Docs and SRT. You can also decide if you want to export notes and highlights or not and if you want to include the audio file.

Otter AI Mobile App

If the web app and integrations weren’t enough, Otter AI also has a powerful mobile app for recording conversations on the go.

Similar to the web app, you can upload audio and video files into the app to transcribe them, or you can click the recording button and start a voice note right away.

I tested the mobile app, and it worked just as well as the web version. All of the conversations are synced to your account and available from your computer and all mobile devices.

This would be a helpful tool for content creators or individuals who want to record ideas and drafts while away from the computer.

Otter AI Chrome Extension & Apps

The Chrome extension makes it possible to transcribe meetings from Google Meet. It can also add a link to view an Otter AI transcription for any meeting appointment inside your Google Calendar.

You can also use Otter AI with your Android and iOS apps.

5. Real-Life Uses for Otter AI

Okay, so now that I have gone through extensively the majority of functions, here’s a breakdown of what you’ll use it for.

  • Business Meetings: Not only can you transcribe meetings live, but you can also record in-person meetings or upload meeting recordings for quick transcription. Then you can markup the text to get quick summaries and takeaways and assign tasks directly from what was said in the meeting.
  • Content Creation: For people who have lots of ideas but don’t like to sit down and type everything, Otter AI provides a way to get ideas onto paper fast. You can record yourself talking through an idea, transcribe it quickly, and then turn it into written blog posts or social media content fast.
  • Taking Notes: The app allows you to take voice notes and transcribe them into text quickly. By either recording your tasks and ideas or taking snippets of audiobooks or podcasts you want to remember, you can build up a library of notes for future reference. Everything is automatically tagged with keywords for easy searching.
  • Webinars: Since Otter AI provides live captioning on Zoom, you could use it to provide live captions for webinar participants. (Not to mention creating a transcription of the webinar to use in other content.)
  • Easy Video Captions: Need to create subtitles or closed captioning for a video? You can upload the video file to Otter AI, generate a transcription, and then export it as SRT to embed into the video or send it off for translation.
  • Content Repurposing: If you create podcasts or videos regularly, you can use Otter AI to generate text from each piece of media. Those transcriptions can be repurposed into blog posts, social media posts, and other content.
  • Personal Journal: For people who want to record their thoughts and experiences in a journal but find it tedious to type or write by hand, audio transcription could be a great alternative for daily journaling.
  • Podcasting: You can upload each podcast episode to Otter AI to create captions and transcriptions and turn them into show notes, quotes, social media posts, and other content to supplement the podcast.

6. Otter AI Costs

Otter offers a free plan that gives you access to all live transcription features, including live meeting transcription and Otter Assistant. On this plan, you’re limited to a total of 300 minutes per month (and up to 30 minutes per transcription). You can export text files from transcriptions but no other formats.

Upgrading to the Pro plan for $10 a month unlocks the ability to transcribe pre-recorded files and export them in other formats (among other advanced features). Your transcription limit also bumps up to 1,200 minutes per month (90 minutes per conversation).

And for $20 a month per user, the Business plan gives you team features, an administrative dashboard, and up to 6,000 minutes transcribed per month (up to 4 hours per conversation). They also offer an Enterprise plan for large companies.

7. The Benefits of Using

Here’s what I really loved during my trial:

  • Easy to Use. I mean, it doesn’t get much easier than this. You can create an entire transcription with the click of a button.
  • Mobile Support. The Otter app gives you the power to transcribe conversations anywhere you are.
  • Accurate. Transcriptions are quite accurate and formatted into full sentences with punctuation.
  • Saves Time. You can generate text from any audio or video file, meeting, voice note, or conversation in just a few minutes.
  • Automatically Record Meetings. No more hassle and forgetting to press “Record.” Otter AI will show up to your meeting on time to transcribe it, even if you sleep in and forget to show up. This is a great AI productivity tool.
  • Capture Notes and Ideas. Let’s say you’re in the car and get a great idea but can’t write it down. You could open Otter AI and transcribe it instantly, then access it later from any device.
  • Share and Export Text. When you need text notes of a conversation or meeting or want to turn your transcription into other pieces of content, you can quickly share the transcription with others for editing and exporting or turn it into a PDF, Word Doc, text file, or SRT file.
  • Custom Vocabulary. You can teach Otter AI custom words and names that you use frequently. The Free plan gives you 5 custom words, while the Pro plan gives you up to 100 custom words and 100 custom names. The Business Plan allows for 800 business-wide words, 800 business-wide names, and 200 more of each per user.

8. Drawbacks of Using

Here’s some worth-noting before you test it yourself:

  • Some Features are Difficult to Find. The Otter AI website doesn’t do a good job of explaining all of the features available. Setting up live captions on Zoom, for example, is buried in a blog post. However, I’ve tried to cover everything available in this blog post.
  • Limited Recording Time per Conversation. Even on the paid Pro plan, each transcription is limited to 90 minutes. If a meeting goes over 90 minutes? Tough luck. The Business plan extends the limit to 4 hours, but if you’re trying to transcribe a longer piece of content, it will get cut off.
  • Inaccuracies. Sometimes the app can’t pick up on the words that were spoken, so you’ll need to edit words and make sure things are correct each time.
  • Only Available in English. This is not necessarily a con, but it’s good to know that Otter AI only supports US and UK English transcription at this time.

My Take Home

Otter AI is a powerhouse for transcribing audio files and video into text, sharing it with others, and generating takeaways, notes, and tasks. I would highly recommend this tool for businesses, teams, content creators, and people who prefer voice notes over typing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can Otter AI Transcribe Video Files?

Yes, Otter AI can transcribe video files. Simply upload the file into the app. Keep in mind that the Free plan limits each transcription to 30 minutes. (You get more on paid plans.)

What Kind of Transcription Services Does Otter AI Provide?

You can record audio and transcribe it live within the app, use Otter Assistant to transcribe live meetings on Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams, or transcribe pre-recorded audio and video files. (See more in the full Otter review on this page.)

Can Otter AI Transcribe an Audio Recording?

Yes, you can upload a pre-recorded audio file for transcription. (Up to 30 minutes per file on the Free plan, 90 minutes on the Pro plan, and 4 hours on the Business plan.)

How Accurate is Otter AI’s Transcription?

While testing, I found that AI’s transcription to be very accurate. Yes, it makes mistakes, but not many. You can edit any mistakes you find, and you can create custom vocabulary words to help Otter AI recognize the unique words you use.

Where is Otter AI Based?

Otter AI operates out of Mountain View, California. The company was founded in 2016 by Sam Liang and Yun Fu.

What is Otter AI?

Otter AI is a transcription software that will transcribe your live meetings, virtual meetings (like Zoom and Google Meets), or any uploaded audio/video file.

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