- Regardless, voice messages are an inefficient medium of communication for listeners.
- Scusi Transcribe iMessage Voicemails on Mac
- Even Scusi’s developers hate voice messages.
Tired of listening to cluttered voice messages? The new iMessage app lets you transcribe them quickly.
ScussyFrom iOS and Mac app developers Jody Brown, which lets you transcribe any audio message into your Mac’s iMessage app with just a drag. This is similar to the transcription feature recently added to WhatsApp, but people in the US may be more interested, since iMessage is more popular there. Taking advantage of the built-in accessibility tools in the Mac, Scusi shows how developers can easily add functionality to built-in Mac apps — something that’s nearly impossible on the iPhone and iPad (though, if you’re only using the iPhone, there’s a way or a workaround ).
“Apple’s Speech Recognition API makes it really easy to convert any form of speech to text. The trickiest part is finding the audio file associated with the voice message, but once you do, it’s easy to get reliable transcriptions,” Scusi developer Jordi Bruin told Lifewire via email.
never ending story
Voice messaging is only going to grow in popularity. If you haven’t experienced an inbox full of messages that you have to listen to to find a topic, you’re one of the lucky ones.
For the sender, it’s easy to see the appeal because you don’t have to enter it. You just press a button and speak. And because you’re talking, if you have to type those words into the text box, you may not be as focused as you used to be.
The trickiest part is finding the audio file linked to the voice message.
For the recipient of the message, there are two possibilities. Whether it’s a message from a loved one or a close friend, you love to hear them chat, but never get to the point. Or you hate it for the same reason.
“I hate to receive [voice messages] Because a lot of times I can’t listen to them on the spot and then I forget about them.Transcription would be great,” wrote Scusi co-developer Van der Ploeg hidden on twitter Shortly before Scusi was created with Bruin.
In terms of communication bandwidth, nothing is more efficient than having an actual conversation with someone. You can react, solve problems, do all the things we have been doing as a species for thousands of years. Instead of spending days emailing or WhatsApp back and forth, it’s better to pick up a phone call for five minutes.
But voice messages are the opposite. They can be one of the least effective forms of communication. For example, let’s go back to the bad old days of leaving voicemails on people’s answering machines. Do you remember how people only left their phone number or other important details at the end of the message? If you miss it, you have to listen to the whole thing again and hope you get it the second time around.
Bruin’s Scusi is available as a separate app for Mac, but when you launch it, all you see is a new icon in the menu bar. However, when you start dragging an audio clip from any conversation thread, a small window pops up for you to drop the clip into.
It then transcribes it using the Mac’s built-in speech-to-text engine, and depending on the quality of the audio clip, it can do just fine. In testing, I found this engine to be surprisingly good, and one of the advantages of the built-in engine is that it all happens on your device, not on a server somewhere.
Transcription is handy even if you like to listen to never-ending voice messages. It makes it easy to find a phone number or address or preview a long message before listening, just to find out what it’s about.
Unfortunately, at the moment, Scusi only supports Macs. You can get the app for free through Bruin’s Gumroad store page, although it may make its way to the Mac App Store in the future.
“We started with Gumroad because it allows for a very fast feedback loop between customers and developers,” Bruin said. “And because we can directly contact people who downloaded Scusi, it’s easier for us to figure out what works and what doesn’t. We would also like to submit it to the Mac App Store, but since we’ve built it in the past two weeks Scusi, we want to keep progressing for now.”
For iOS, there’s nothing, which is a shame since most of your messaging is probably done on your phone. It’s possible to create a shortcut that does this for you, but it can be a pain to put audio files in there. But with transcription becoming an essential feature of more messaging apps — like the aforementioned WhatsApp feature — we can hope Apple adds it soon, and maybe even automates it. Then voicemail will finally be officially less annoying.
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