Transcribing from Apple voice memos

New user here — In Drafts for Mac, I found the folder with my Voice Memos and started transcribing one of them. I could see the text in the process of being generated. But after about 2-3 minutes, the operation stopped before reaching the end of the memo. Does the transcription process have a time limit? What can I do with a memo that’s two hours long?

Transcription uses Apple’s Speech Recognition APIs for processing. They are very good, but not with limitations. I would say the transcription features are best used for shorter audio, partially because the speech recongnition features have time limits, so it order to work around those limits, Drafts has to chunk longer audio into blocks – which is why you will see the ...transcribing (1 of n)... status message as processing.

That said, I have regularly tested the feature with podcast downloads that are multiple hours long, and not had any problems or hangs. Was this a repeated failure? When you say it “stopped”, what does that mean? (Crash? It ended and said it was done but wasn’t?)

Yes, repeated failure. The file is roughly 2 hours long, but the transcription stopped after reaching about 10 minutes, or chapter “8 of 162.” It did not crash; it noted the transcription was finished and allowed me to save the transcribed fragment file as a text file. Any further help appreciated… the file is a recorded meeting of a board of directors, and I’d rather not have to transcribe it by hand. This meeting happens bimonthly, and the need is the reason I downloaded the Drafts app. Thanks for the help.

That is probably not going to be a task Drafts is well suited to…that would not be a lightweight transcription task, especially if multiple people are talking in a non-idea conversational way. That is a highly advanced transcription task and would probably need a purpose-built transcription tool with AI integration to do with any quality.

Consider Drafts transcription good for “I talked to my phone for a couple of minutes and want it transcribed”.

I understand. Guess I took the product description too literally. Thanks again.

I read today on Mac rumors that voice memo transcription might be coming in iOS 18