Otterly Brilliant

Today I’d like to tell you about an Otter.

For some time, I’ve had the idea that I would be able to blog much more regularly and more easily if I could find a really reliable speech-to-text recorder, or whatever you want to call it. An app that I could just speak to. And that would essentially record my blog post.

I would go back and edit it, perhaps, a little bit. Shuffle some things around. But all in all, I could just sit there with a device, talk at it for a couple of minutes about whatever it was that I wanted to put on my blog, I would then edit it and I would stick it on the blog and set it up, scheduled for publication.

In my investigations, I’d never really found anything particularly good. And I’d seen something like Dragon you’ve got to pay for and if I remember rightly, is quite expensive. Certainly, I’m basically looking for something free, or that might only charge a couple of pounds or euros, dollars, whatever, a month.

And then yesterday, another fabulous coincidental Twitter discovery.

It’s all in the network.

I came across a tweet from Michelle Ockers, in which she was identifying some things that she’d learned over the last week, and one of them was otter.ai.

Immediately, my attention was piqued. And I thought I should check that out. And I did. And, frankly, it blew my mind.

I did a quick trial recording last night. And then at some point this morning, I tested it out on a podcast that I was halfway through.

And that’s another thing. Sometimes I feel I’d like to have a transcription of the podcast. But often these are not available. And if I wanted to get it done, it’d cost money that I simply can’t spend on just transcribing podcasts now and again.

Some podcasts like The Knowledge Project provide you with a transcript, if you’re a paying member of the community or whatever. But you’ve basically got to pay a subscription in order to get that which is fair enough, premium content and all that.

But also, I might not want the full 40 minutes or an hour of podcast in a transcript, there might just be a couple of minutes that I really wanted to capture as text, so I can save it for whatever reason.

So that’s what I did. It was the Future of Learning podcast by Lloyd Dean and he was interviewing David James about the work that Looop did with Sky to produce a program of agile learning and performance support, which is very interesting.

I wanted to capture a particular one or two minute segment in which David James was basically describing what agile learning was. Because I’ve come across this idea and I know about agile project management to an extent, but he explained it really well. And it made complete sense. It was a great nugget that I wanted to capture, so I just set Otter off recording that section as I played it back.

Otter’s software gives you a transcription basically live while the audio plays. You can watch the words appearing on the screen, which is quite amazing! And then when you’ve finished it needs a bit of time to think about it, and it corrects itself, so that once it’s processed the recording and the text, it gives you a better version of the one that you see initially. To finish off, you can go through and edit it to correct it and identify the speakers. And save it, share it, whatever.

It’s just awesome. And I love it!

I wanted to share this right now because it’s just answering so many of my learning, tech-nerd, productivity questions. It’s a superb piece of kit.

So I’ve just used it to record this blog post by talking at it into my desktop, which is a Mac Mini and I’m using Chrome and it’s just recording in the Chrome browser.

And so I’m going to go back and edit it but essentially this post was recorded straight into Otter.

If Otter sounds like something that could be useful to you, I HIGHLY recommend that you try it out. It is simply awesome!

Thanks for reading! Please get in touch below or find me on social media if you have any thoughts to share.

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