AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators

TAG | Google voice

Hi y’all, we are Anne Rudnicki, Bruce Niebuhr, Mary Jo Urbani and Virginia Niebuhr from the pedi.edtech faculty development project at the University of Texas Medical Branch. For our evaluation, we needed to transcribe faculty interviews. Transcription is time-consuming; and paying transcriptionists and/or purchasing voice recognition software can be expensive.

We found that Google Voice Typing makes excellent quality transcriptions, for free. You need a Google account, computer, external microphone, and an external audio recorder.  The interview is transcribed in real time and the text automatically saved into a Google Doc by the time you finish the interview.

These instructions are for Windows computers. Mac instructions will vary.


  • Chrome browser
  • Google account. If none, create an account
  • Quality external microphone (not the built-in)
  • Separate digital audio recorder or smart phone for back-up
  • Quiet room


  1. Plug mic into PC. On the task bar at the lower right on your monitor, right click the speaker icon.  Click “Recording Devices.” Select your microphone.
  2. Using Chrome browser, go to
  3. Click the Google Apps icon.
  4. Open Google Drive app. You may be asked to log into your Google account.
  5. Click NEW
  6. Choose Google Docs; open a Blank document.
  7. Open Tools
  8. Select Voice Typing

    (click for larger image)

  9. Choose Click to Speak
  10. Begin interview (make sure the person being interviewed speaks into the microphone).
  11. Click the red recording icon to stop
  12. The file is immediately and automatically saved in Google Docs.
  13. To move the transcription out of the cloud, go to File menu, “Download as,” choose the Word option. The transcription will be saved as “untitled” Word document in the Downloads folder of your PC. Rename the file and save elsewhere.

Lessons Learned:

  • Practice the above steps several times to become confident.
  • Because Google Voice Typing works over the Internet, there can be dropouts in the transcripts. Use the digital voice recording as a backup. Listen to this recording to fill in gaps and correct transcription errors.
  • We recommend using the Google Doc merely for temporary storage. After downloading the file, delete the files from the cloud. This adds to the security and privacy of your data.
  • This does not work well for focus groups – too many voices at one time.

 Rad Resource:

Linda Cabral and Laura Sefton describe how to use Dragon voice recognition software, a good tool but not free.

Do you have questions, concerns, kudos, or content to extend this aea365 contribution? Please add them in the comments section for this post on the aea365 webpage so that we may enrich our community of practice. Would you like to submit an aea365 Tip? Please send a note of interest to . aea365 is sponsored by the American Evaluation Association and provides a Tip-a-Day by and for evaluators.



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