What is Otter.AI? Transcription tool explained

A quick rundown of the AI based audio transcription tool.

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With online meetings having an ever increasing presence in our lives, you might have heard people asking; what is Otter.AI?

Otter.AI is a speech to text transcription application that was created using artificial intelligence and machine learning. Founded in 2016, computer science engineers Sam Liang and Yun Fu bought ai and deep machine learning together to train the software in and develop its speech transcription technology.

It is a useful and intuitive software that streamlines the process of taking notes, as well as generating captions for live speakers and speeches. It is easy to set up and you can use it immediately without training – you don’t need to have an understanding of artificial intelligence to use Otter.AI. According to the website, it can write meeting notes and generate summaries over 30x faster.

As well as offering a 7-day free trial, they have a great free plan that offers you 300 monthly transcriptions minutes. However, you can also opt in for their Pro plan for $8.33 a month, or their Business plan for $20 a month. You can find out more details about Otter.AI pricing here.

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What are the uses of Otter AI?

Otter.AI has many uses that could be beneficial for business, educational, and individual uses.

At its core, Otter is a voice-to-text transcription software, but in recent years it has added many services designed to help improve meetings. Here are some of its key features:

Voice transcription in real time

It listens to an audio source, runs the speech through an AI system, and outputs the text into a format that can be read, copied, or highlighted. You can view this transcription on the app or on a browser, with the option of editing it to enrich your transcript with comments and photos. Real-time collaboration with teammates also becomes possible, as you can highlight key points and assign action items as the transcription comes in. It also gives you the option of naming different speakers.

Transcribe voice-containing audio

You can upload a video or audio file to Otter AI and it will quickly create an accurate text transcription of the content, whether that may be a personal conversation, a professional virtual meeting, or even an educational lecture.

OtterPilot

Otter launched its AI meeting assistant OtterPilot in February of 2023, which is designed to automate meetings and help professionals increase overall productivity. Some of the main functions of OtterPilot include sending out an AI generated list of key topics to all those invited to the meeting with hyperlinks to important moments. This would be distributed by email. OtterPilot can also sync with your calendars to automatically join every meeting right on time.

It will also save any slides alongside the live transcript, alongside writing notes in real time that are shared with all collaborators. It aims to enhance the experience of meetings and help save time both before, during and after the call has ended.

How accurate is Otter.AI?

AI transcription software will never be 100% accurate because not only are speech variations endless, but many other factors can impact its performance. These include speed, background noises and microphone quality. One review claims that Otter Ai has a good accuracy, stating that they found it to be 83% accurate, but we would always advise trying it for yourself before making your final decision.

While this means that you may find yourself needing to go back and edit your transcription, hopefully the time spent on this will be relatively little.

What are the limitations of Otter.AI?

Let’s briefly look through some limitations of Otter.AI.

In addition to potential accuracy issues, the software currently only supports English transcriptions. Despite being able to understand some regional accents, the software may struggle with heavy accents and overall there is limitation to only one language.

The OtterPilot meeting assistant could be considered a bit obtrusive when used in Zoom, Teams, or Google Meet calls as it appears on everyone’s screens as a participant.

Some other speech-to-text transcription software such as Fathom offer further features, such as a video addition to the transcription, and can apparently differentiate between speakers better.

Final thoughts

Overall, Otter.AI is a big player in this market, with their technology still quickly developing to improve accuracy and create new features. The range of possibilities provided by Otter.AI both inside and outside of the workplace will only continue to expand as the capabilities of AI grow. You can download Otter.AI on both iOS and Android devices as an app, or access the platform through your web browser.

Transcription software such as Otter AI may continue to hold a bigger place in our lives. If you’re interested in what other AI tools you could use in your everyday life, you can check out the best AI tools of 2023, and if you’re a writer you can also find some of the best AI writing systems to help you generate content too.

Marla writes across a wide range of topics across PC Guide, including AI, PC hardware, and news on the latest tech releases. She's a passionate writer that's interested in the future of technology.