Taking notes and engaging in conversation don’t mesh well. Our brains aren’t good at multitasking, which means we lose parts of a conversation when we’re jotting down notes.
If capturing conversations is important for your job, you may be considering Otter.ai, an automated recording and transcription service for meetings.
Keep reading to learn more about Otter.ai and alternatives to consider for one big reason: Your meeting software and your transcription software can be ONE thing!
What is Otter.ai?
Otter.ai is an app that records audio and transcribes conversations as they’re happening. It's popular among journalists, students, and people who have a lot of meetings.
After your meeting is over, Otter.ai will process the conversation and produce an audio file and a text transcription, which you can refer back to and share with other meeting participants.
Otter.ai’s shortcomings at a glance:
Limits on conversation length
Poor quality transcription
Clunky to use with Zoom
🚩 Privacy red flags 🚩
Conversation length limits based on Otter.ai pricing
With the free version of Otter.ai, you’re able to capture 30 minutes of conversation per meeting — but if your conversations run longer than that, you’ll need to pay just over $8 per month to capture up to four hours at a time.
This cost is on top of what you may already be paying for meeting software like Zoom or Google Meet.
Poor quality transcription
Anyone who’s read an Otter.ai transcription is in for a treat. It’s a running joke on Twitter that Otter.ai transcriptions are…sort of what was said, not exactly what was said.
At best, transcription mistakes are funny and entertaining. At worst, transcription correction eats up most of the time people were meant to save with the app.
Clunky to use with Zoom (unless you pay more $$)
Otter.ai has partnered with Zoom to record live transcriptions, but you’ll still need to run the app in a separate browser window after generating an API token.
The Otter.ai Zoom assistant is only available to customers who pay $20 per month per user, which can get expensive as organizations grow.
🚩 Privacy red flags 🚩
Paul Rosenzweig, former deputy assistant secretary for policy in the Department of Homeland Security and founder of Red Branch Consulting, recently told Politico that Otter.ai “shares your personal data with a whole host of people, including mobile advertising tracking providers, so it strikes me that there’s an awful lot of personal data and the potential for leakage…”
Unlike the end-to-end encryption used by privacy-robust messaging apps like Signal, Otter’s algorithm decrypts data to access audio. Depending on who you’re talking to or the nature of your conversations in Otter.ai, privacy may concern you more or less — but in practice, it’s always best to look for transcription software that takes security seriously.
Otter.ai alternatives for meeting transcription
Believe it or not, you don’t need to choose between meeting software and a transcription app. You can have both in one solution, plus other features to make your meetings more productive.
You’d enjoy all-in-one transcription-meeting software if:
✅ You're in a remote (or hybrid-remote) work environment where you'd benefit from having all your meetings recorded and transcribed
✅ You need to capture action items during internal meetings
✅ You’re talking to customers and prospects and want to search conversations later
✅ You’re running workshops with clients and want to share the best parts of your conversations
Here are some all-in-one Otter.ai alternatives to consider:
Vowel is what you’d get if you combined Otter.ai’s transcription with Zoom’s meeting functionality, except the experience and transcription accuracy is better — and you can do a lot more with your meeting than just see and hear other people.
Vowel takes meeting prep to the next level with collaborative agendas and notes that people can see during the meeting to stay on track. As the app is live-transcribing the conversation, participants can highlight important moments and capture action items for reference later. And all notes are time-stamped to the transcript for context.
Free trial? Yes — new users start on a 30-day free trial of the Business plan, and can choose to upgrade to a Business plan after that *or* stay on a free plan.
✔️ Browser-based video — nothing to download
✔️ High-quality live transcription with speaker identification
✔️ Instant recordings, AI-powered summaries, and searchable transcripts
✔️ Multiple transcription languages (listed here)
✔️ Collaborative notes + agendas
✔️ SOC2 Type II compliant
Is it better than Otter.ai? Vowel’s transcription quality is a lot better than Otter.ai’s algorithm, and it's easier to find information across all your past meetings with Vowel's universal search function. It also includes recordings and summaries, all housed in one place so you don't need to worry about connecting anything to Zoom or Meet.
Bluejeans is video conferencing software for enterprise and mid-market organizations that may want to hold large-scale meetings or events.
Free trial? Yes, you can try Bluejeans Enterprise for 14 days. After that it’s $16.66 per host per month if you want real-time transcription.
✔️ High-quality video
✔️ Secure and encrypted
✔️ Easy to use
✔️ Automated closed captioning
Is it better than Otter.ai? Bluejeans isn’t yet known for its transcription accuracy, but its real-time tagging functionality means it’s more collaborative than Otter.ai.
Zoom has become the default video-conferencing solution for remote work because it gives you the basics — audio, video, chat, and screen sharing.
You can get closed captions and transcripts with Zoom’s Business Plan for about $200 per month, or you can use its Otter.ai add-on if you don’t need closed captions. Keep in mind that if you use Zoom’s transcription function, it can take twice the meeting time or longer to process your transcription, depending on Zoom’s processing capacity.
Free trial? Yes, but your group meetings are limited to 40 minutes.
✔️ Intuitive user interface
✔️ Live chat
✔️ Screen sharing
Is it better than Otter.ai? Zoom’s transcripts take longer to process than Otter.ai’s, and you can’t share them outside the platform (which is why so many Zoom transcription add-ons exist). It can also be tricky to find Zoom recordings and transcripts when a meeting is over.
Zoom or Google Meet add-ons
If you’re looking for other standalone transcription apps like Otter.ai that work with video conferencing solutions like Zoom or Google Meet, here are some to consider:
Tactiq is a Chrome extension you can use to record and transcribe conversations from Google Meet or Zoom.
Free trial? Yes, but you’ll need to pay $9 per month for unlimited meetings and team collaboration features.
✔️ Speaker identification
✔️ Engagement analytics
Is it better than Otter.ai? The transcription accuracy is on par with Otter.ai — you’ll get a transcription, but you may need to sift through it for mistakes.
Fireflies.ai runs an AI voice assistant named Fred that you can invite to web conferences for recording and transcription.
Free trial? Yes, but you’ll need to pay $18 per month per user to get search functionality. Fireflies.ai is one of the most expensive options on this list.
✔️ SOC 2 Type II compliance
✔️ Integrates with Salesforce, Hubspot, Slack, Zapier, Asana, and more
✔️ Post-meeting audio transcription
Is it better than Otter.ai? Fireflies.ai boasts 90% transcription accuracy, and its integrations give it a leg up on Otter.ai.
Colibri.ai is a live transcription and note-taking app that integrates with the most popular web conferencing software.
Free trial? Yes, but your recording limit is 40 minutes (10 minutes more than Otter.ai’s free plan).
✔️ Slack integration
✔️ Real-time speaker identification
✔️ Sharable highlights
Is it better than Otter.ai? One G2 reviewer said, “Some of the paragraph breaks and interpretations of the spoken word are amusing.” So the transcription accuracy is likely similar to Otter.ai.
Scribe.ai is another video recording and transcription assistant for web conferencing software. The app allows meeting participants to mark important moments as they happen and creates a visual timeline for people to review after the meeting.
Free trial? Yes, Scribe.ai is free to try for now — but it’s not clear how much the app will cost you later. The pricing page at the time of this writing is a return-on-investment calculator.
✔️ Speed controls
✔️ Visual timeline
✔️ Key moments highlight
Is it better than Otter.ai? Scribe.ai’s visual timeline and highlights functionality definitely beat Otter.ai’s plain text transcription.
Descript is transcription software meant for video editing. Less for meetings and more for content creators, Descript makes it easier to edit video because you can use the transcript.
Free trial? Yes, the free trial allows you to record, edit, and mix one full project. After that, plans start at $12 per month.
✔️ Video editing via text transcription
✔️ Speaker labels
✔️ Glossary of missed words
Is it better than Otter.ai? Descript and Otter.ai have different use cases. Descript is great for post-conversation video editing, while Otter.ai is more for capturing conversations without modifying them after.
Spoke.app is a Zoom integration that allows participants to annotate text transcription in real time and edit it later to create sharable video highlights.
Free trial? Yes, you can store up to 10 conversations for free — after that, plans start at $25 per month, making it one of the most expensive plans on this list.
✔️ Live annotation
✔️ Sharable video highlights
✔️ Video trimming via text editing
Is it better than Otter.ai? Yes, the editing and highlights functionality makes this a more robust option than Otter.ai.
10. Notes by Dubber
Previously called Notiv, Notes by Dubber is used by larger organizations to capture moments and action items from sales calls and calls with clients.
Free trial? No — Notes by Dubber is the only solution in this list that doesn’t have a free trial. You’ll need to book a demo to see this tool in action.
✔️ Action item recognition
✔️ Slack, x.ai, and Asana integrations
✔️ Daily digest
Is it better than Otter.ai? Notes by Dubber has more robust functionality, but you’ll definitely pay for it. If you’re just a person who wants to capture conversations and get a transcript, Otter.ai’s free plan is fine if you’re okay with the 30-minute time limit.
Avoma is for sales and customer-facing teams who want to capture insights from prospects and customers, then search transcripts for key topics later.
Free trial? Yes, but written transcriptions aren’t part of the free plan. You’ll need to pay $40 per month per host, which makes Avoma the most expensive option on this list.
✔️ CRM integrations
✔️ Snippet sharing
✔️ Calendar sync
Is it better than Otter.ai? Avoma is more robust, but is it so robust that it’s worth the price? If you just need a transcription app, stick with Otter.ai or something similar.
What's the best Otter.ai alternative for meeting transcription?
While Otter.ai is a great, budget-friendly way to transcribe your video calls on Zoom or Meet, a video-conferencing tool with built-in meeting transcription is even more useful.
Enter Vowel: It helps you ensure important conversations don't get lost across tools — and you can go back and search across all your meetings later. Bonus: no more "robo guests" or bots joining your meetings to transcribe.
What's more, Vowel turns transcriptions into AI-powered meeting summaries that help you instantly scan and recall the important parts of a video call. Catch up on meetings you missed in seconds, or easily go back to past conversations to get the TL;DR.
Sign up for for free and try live-transcribing and summarizing your meetings today without having to use a third-party tool or integration!