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oTranscribe Help

Does oTranscribe automatically convert audio into text?

No, it doesn’t. oTranscribe is designed to make the manual task of transcribing audio a little less painful.

Something used to work, but now it’s broken!

A big update in January 2017 may have broken existing functionality. If something has stopped working for you, please temporarily switch to oTranscribe Classic and let me know of the problem by tweeting at @oTranscribe.

My audio file doesn’t work!

Try the following steps:

  1. Convert your file to WAV or MP3 format with (This is an external service and is not affiliated with oTranscribe.)
  2. Try a different web browser. oTranscribe works best on Chrome 31+ and Safari 7+.
  3. Still no luck? You can contact me directly at

Where is my transcript stored? How secure is it?

oTranscribe is designed in a way that your data (both the audio file and the written transcript) never leaves your local computer. The transcript is not kept on a remote server or “in the cloud”, but is instead in the browser’s localStorage. The downside is that it is not possible to access your saved transcripts from another computer.

oTranscribe's automatic backup system saves the current transcript every five minutes. Click on the button to view backups and restore an old copy of your transcript. Exactly 100 copies are retained; once the 100 backup limit is reached, oTranscribe will erase older copies.

oTranscribe is not a permanent document store, as browser storage is notoriously unreliable (even with this backup system). Please make sure to export your work regularly to prevent loss of data.

My transcript has disappeared, can I get it back?

The short answer is: unfortunately, no.

The long answer is: oTranscribe sometimes loses work for a multitude of reasons (including the user clearing their cache or localStorage becoming full). If your work is not present in the history panel, it's gone for good. Please make sure to export your work regularly, especially when using oTranscribe for an extended period of time.

Why is oTranscribe is no longer saving backups?

This can sometimes happen when the browser's local storage is full. If you clear the existing stored documents, it should begin saving again. Note that this may affect locally-stored data belonging to other apps and sites.

What keyboard shortcuts are there?

Audio playback

Text editing

Note: On OS X, use Cmd instead of Ctrl.

What audio formats does oTranscribe support?

oTranscribe is limited by the formats supported by each individual browser. The formats supported by your own browser will be listed below the “Choose audio file” button. In general, WAV files are widely supported, and MP3 files mostly work on everything except Mozilla Firefox. Certain video files, as well as YouTube videos, are also supported.

How do the interactive timestamps work?

Pressing Ctrl+J (Cmd+J on OS X) will insert the audio file’s current time into the document. This timestamp is hyperlinked and will skip to the specific time in the audio file.

Can I use oTranscribe offline?

Yes! will automatically save an offline copy of itself in your browser's HTML5 Application Cache when you load up the page for the first time. To use the offline version, simply go to without an internet connection. It's that simple.

Note that buttons will look different when offline and some features like YouTube support and Google Drive export will not work.

Why can't I change the speed of a YouTube video?

Some YouTube videos simply don't support it. This isn't something oTranscribe has any control over, unfortunately.

How do I import and export my transcript?

oTranscribe can only import one type of file, the .OTR oTranscribe file format. This format preserves the clickable time stamps.

Open the export panel by clicking on the button. You can export .OTR files, along with plain text (.txt) and Markdown (.md) files.

Who made oTranscribe?

Elliot Bentley (that’s me) created oTranscribe, and is currently the sole developer. If you’re interested, did a neat article on oTranscribe’s origins.

Translations have been provided by the following talented and generous volunteers:

Can I help translate oTranscribe?

Yes! Find out more about providing translations here.

My question isn’t answered here.

You can contact me directly by tweeting at @oTranscribe or emailing me. I try to respond as soon as possible - but please note that this is a hobby, not my job.