Transcription functionality in Microsoft 365

Microsoft Word will soon be able to convert your audio files to text. Microsoft is initially introducing support for English but other languages will follow.

MS Word can now transcribe audio files itself. Microsoft is rolling out the feature to all of its Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) subscribers worldwide. Initially, the new functionality can be used exclusively with English texts, but Microsoft plans to support other languages as well. There is no timeline known as yet for other languages to be rolled out.

Video transcription option in MS Word

The function will be called Transcribe and can convert existing audio files to text. In the web version of MS Word you can also directly record text for transcription. Word can process external files in MP3, WAV and MP4, up to a size of 200 megabytes. Videos are also supported in this way, although the video files themselves should not be too large.

The function is intended for anyone who wants to record conversations but wants to focus on the people instead of their laptop. Transcribe is not only able to handle one-on-one conversations but can also process group conversations. AI built by Microsoft can basically detect and distinguish different speakers. You can also assign names to those speakers for extra overview.

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Transcription functionality in Microsoft 365

Link between audio and text

Microsoft Word will display the audio next to the relevant text so that you can quickly listen to an item again, for example to make corrections. If you want to listen to a notoriously difficult piece of recording, you can slow down the audio.

The function ends up behind the Dictate tab in the main menu. The transcription itself, according to test reports, takes about as much time as the length of the entire audio file. Users should be aware of a limit of 300 minutes per month, with the option to extend that for a fee.

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