As a journalist, I’m always looking for a better way to record and go over my interviews without spending hours on transcription. Lately I’ve been leaning toward using Otter.

The free app, which launched on iOS, Android, and the web in February, records audio and converts speech to text on the fly using voice recognition algorithms. It also synchronizes the audio with the text during playback, so you can tap on any word to hear exactly what was being said at the time. While Otter’s algorithms don’t produce perfect transcriptions, but it’s accurate enough to help you pick out which passages deserve more time for manual cleanup.

[Image: courtesy of AISense]

On Wednesday, AISense, the startup behind Otter, launched a premium version of the service. Free use is now capped at 10 hours of recording per month; users can pay $10 per month (or $80 per year, or $3 per month for students) to raise the recording limit to 100 hours and add some advanced exporting options, including audio exporting. Otter is also releasing a way to record and transcribe phone calls on Android devices–both for free and paid users–and adding a tool to embed images within the transcription.

I’m still torn between trusting Otter and sticking with my longstanding method of taking handwritten notes alongside synchronized audio (currently with an iPad, Apple Pencil, and Notability). But with a few improvements, Otter could offer the best of both worlds, and the subscription pricing would be well worth the time saved.

How Otter Works

When you start using Otter, you’re prompted to record a sample of your voice, which is supposed to…

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