AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


Otter – Live Transcribe 

Cost: Free basic with paid features | Platforms: Web based for Desktop / Laptop and Google and Apple App. 

Otter is a live transcribe tool that records audio and converts it into text. It may be useful for lectures and meetings. You can also upload an audio recording (an interview for example) and it will convert it into text. As you record audio you can add comments, highlight sentences and add images to supplement the recording.

Most useful for: recording audio during a lecture/ meeting and allows you to visually colour code the audio as well as add images and type text along with the audio.

Its key features are: 

  • When you sign in to Otter if offers you tutorials that go through the features step by step so do accept the offer for a tutorial. 

  • You can record your voice and it will create text from your dialogue. Could be useful to read out your written assignment and see how it responds to your voice. 

  • You can also use it for lectures and meetings and create notes from the recordings (please make sure you have permission to record). 

  • You can organise your recordings into Folders so it’s a good idea to have an organised approach from the start so your files are in an order that makes sense to you. 

  • There is a search feature, in top right,  so can search for keywords in your files - see image.

  • As you record you can highlight words/ sentences, take photographs and add comments. 

  • After the recording you can review and edit the text – you still have access to the recorded audio which you can refer to as you edit the text. 

  • You can export your files as a text or audio file - as seen in this image.

Otter interface - main recording features and how you can save your recordings.

Our Top Tip: 

  • This type of transcription tool does require a good microphone as the better the quality of the audio the higher the rate of accuracy in the transcription. 
  • Try using Otter in front of the TV and record audio and see how to highlight text, add images and comments so build up your confidence with the tool.
  • You can also import audio files and have them transcribed.

Otter - the record and import audio option - import allows you to upload an audio so it can be transcribed.

Demonstration of Otter in Action 


Video source: Keep Productive YouTube channel 

Go to the Otter Website> 

Advice about live Transcriptions and recording audio:  

  • If you are a student in Higher Education, speak to your Assistive Technology Officer or Disability Officer /Learning Support Officer.  

  • If you are a Student in the FET/ETB then it may be possible to speak to an Educational Needs Coordinator, Learning Support Coordinator, Student Access Officer, Student Support Coordinator or a Disability Support Officer for more information about assistive technology.  

  • If you are an Employee and are interested in this technology then speak to your Disability Liaison Officer (public service) or your Line Manager to start the conversation. 

While the transcription is not 100% accurate, I've been able to use the free version to record presentations and share the playback with transcription to individuals without disabilities and to those who have low vision/blindness. I have found it beneficial as well as someone who learns best by reading and not just audio alone.

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

East Hall, UCD, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin.
T +353 1 592 1467 E ahead@ahead.ie W www.ahead.ie RCN 20025182