This may not be news to some savvy Tentaclii readers, but I’ve discovered the wonderful automatic speech-transcription feature of Nuance Dragon Professional 15. This used to be known as the Dragon Dictate software. Works on a desktop PC back to Windows 7, offline and with no Cloud required. It must be the Professional edition, not lesser editions, as only Professional uses a trained AI and auto-transcribes. It does this surprisingly well from a clear .MP3 — if the speaker has good diction and good English on a good microphone.
It then still needs work to polish up the interview transcript, which for my use-case was not too much hassle as I only needed to use it for one old audio interview (Digital Art Live does interview by email now, sending a list of questions). But after several hours of research it looks to me like this software is the best offline ‘one-time payment’ solution. There are of course various online / subscription sign-up option from other services. The online version of Microsoft Word now also offers free audio transcription, and Microsoft recently purchased the company that makes Dragon for a gazillion dollars. Which may mean Dragon’s offline transcription days are numbered, at a guess.
Another AI-powered and offline wonder appears to be the well-recommended Izotope RX, a desktop PC suite of audio-repair VST modules for speech audio. But that’s not yet been tested by me.
I’ve also replaced the old Audacity audio editor with the fine Windows desktop freeware Ocenaudio. Like Audacity but prettier and a bit simpler. Easy to use, supports VST plugins like Audacity did, and bundles FFmpeg codecs and other codecs (like Audacity didn’t).