ASR (Automatic Speech Recognition) is the transformation of spoken content into its textual representation. Or simply said: Speech-to-Text. This is a process you can read more about here, but in short, it has the potential to improve and enhance the process of transcribing and subtitling spoken word recordings.
Speech Recognition can be done via a computer program on your own computer (Windows, Linux, OSX) or via a webservice. Both options have their advantages and disadvantages.
While a webservice is easy-to-use and often does not require any computer power of note, it comes with the downside of privacy issues. Almost all webservices for ASR rely on cloud computing, which means that your recorded interview is at least temporarily stored on a server somewhere. In some cases, by using a webservice, you agree to them using your interview recording for their own research purposes, which is very problematic for privacy reasons. We recommend to always read the terms and conditions of an ASR service before deciding if it suits your needs when it comes to privacy
When working with very sensitive data, where you don't feel like trusting any online service, running an ASR service on your own computer has the advantage of giving you full control over the whole process. Data will not be uploaded to a different computer for processing, and you could run the software without turning on the internet at all, if you'd like. The big disadvantage is that local ASR processing is often more complicated, and requires a computer with at least some processing power. While a lot of online ASR services would easily work on a simple webbrowsing laptop like a Chromebook, this is less so the case with an installable service.
Down here, we will list a couple of options worth naming when it comes to ASR services. The first will be the OH-Portal, as part of the team responsible for this website has had a large part in the creation of this online ASR tool. Other unafilliated options will be listed at a later time.
Easy-to-used web ASR - Multi-language - Editing possible
Free (academic use) - Webbased
The OH-Portal is an online ASR tool developed and hosted by LMU Munich for academic transcription purposes. The tool is not an ASR service itself, but makes it possible to process your audio files through many different ASR services. When this is done, you can either correct and edit the results within the OH-Portal, or export the results in the filetype of your choice. More information on the OH-Portal can be found on this page of our website.