Mizzou-born transcription tool for journalists set for App Store launch

Transcription can cause headaches and drain time for professionals in the media industry, with short snippets of audio often leading to long sessions spent transcribing. Recordly, an iOS transcription application, is hoping to change that by providing real-time, speech-to-text recognition.

Designed with journalists in mind, Recordly allows a user to record audio with a connected device and immediately send it off for a transcript once the recording is finished.

Recordly’s transcription services cost $2 per hour of audio after a user’s first hour, which is free. That price is significantly cheaper than what’s offered by competitors like Rev, which charges $1 per minute.

The app is expected to be available in the App Store within the next week, according to Recordly CEO and co-founder John Gillis.

Made at Mizzou 

Recordly was founded by University of Missouri students during the university’s 2016 RJI Student Competition. The annual competition brings together students from journalism, computer science and other disciplines to develop new technology for the media industry. The 2016 contest focused on products for the Apple watch.

Recordly’s team, which today includes Gillis and co-founders Anna Maikova, Sintia Radu and Yaryna Serkez, won the 2016 competition. 

Gillis is now a senior at MU studying computer science. Maikova, Radu and Serkez, who have graduated from MU and moved away from Columbia, are working part-time on Recordly as they focus on other endeavors full-time.

“We are able to work remotely and together … and in some ways leverage our different perspectives to build a better app,” Gillis said.  

Funding a bigger vision

In 2016, Recordly received $25,000 in funding from the Missouri Innovation Center through the Mid-MO Tech Accelerator. The fund provides early investment for companies with technology-based products or services.

Bill Turpin, president and CEO of the Missouri Innovation Center, said he believes Recordly’s reach can extend beyond the media industry.

“We see it as a bigger opportunity than just journalism,” Turpin said, citing court reporting as another potential use for the app.

Gillis said the team is looking for additional funding to expand to other markets.

“We would like to make Recordly the go-to interviewing tool for journalists and other professions,” Gillis said.

Transcription and annotation

Gillis said a press conference is a good example of how to use Recordly with the Apple Watch. Someone using the app could set a phone up near the person talking and then use the watch to remotely start and stop recording.

“After it’s done recording, you can say ‘get transcription,’ and it will send it off, get transcribed and send you back full text transcription, all from your phone,” Gillis said.

The app uses IBM’s Watson artificial intelligence platform to transform audio into text.

“By Partnering with (IBM), we can get highly accurate transcripts out of them,” Gillis said.  

Transcription time can vary based on quality of internet connection, but Gillis said the app typically transcribes recordings in less time than the length of the recording. The app sends users a push notification when the transcript is ready.

Recordly also enables users to bookmark and highlight segments of interviews while they record.  

“When you hit highlight while you’re recording, because you heard an interesting quote you want to use later, it will highlight the actual text for you in the final transcript,” Gillis said

IBM charges Recordly a fee for using the Watson platform. Gillis didn’t specify how much the fee is, but he said it’s variable. The $2 per hour transcription charge will be Recordly’s lone source of revenue.

Initially, Recordly will be available only on the iPhone and Apple Watch, but Gillis said the team is looking to launch a web and Android version in the future.  

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