NCH Software is a reputable company that provides Express Scribe transcription software at no cost or low cost. From NCH:
Express Scribe is a transcription audio player specifically designed for typists and transcriptionists complete with time saving features including foot pedal control, variable speed playback, speech to text engine integration, support for a wide variety of audio formats including wav, mp3, and wma.
There is a pro version available for an upgrade fee, however, I used the standard version for approximately five years and was very happy with it, but I did decide to upgrade when it was on sale, mostly for one specific feature I wanted that the pro version had and the free did not. You can also read reviews and information about Express Scribe at cnet.com. If I had to make any complaints at all, it would be that when you download a free software item, you will get a lot of other NCH free or trial versions automatically added to your computer as well (not installed), although this is not a significant problem and after all – you’re getting Express Scribe for free, so it’s a minor thing.
Express Scribe is very easy to use, comes ready to go from the time you install it, with maybe some minor personal preference changes made that are very easy to adjust. It handles most audio and video formats and there is nothing that the user needs to do to change the format, it’s just a simple matter of downloading your audio or video file onto Express Scribe. If you are using a foot pedal (highly recommended), the set up is easy, and in fact the defaults are the standard choices, so there is little to do except to go through the initial steps of adding your foot pedal as a device associated with Express Scribe. There is support documentation available if needed, although with the simple design of this software, you may not find it necessary. Transcriptionists at online forums are usually very familiar with this product as well, questions or tips for use could also be researched at those resources.
When I began doing transcription online (versus an actual machine using regular tapes), I needed to purchase a foot pedal that would be a compatible device for my computer and the software. (Most transcriptionists will use a foot pedal, if you don’t, I would highly recommend getting one.) I decided to purchase mine from NCH, it was competitively priced and I was also happy to do so, since they were supplying the transcription software to me at no charge. At the time I purchased my foot pedal, it was $75, (and they’re actually cheaper now!) and I’m still using the same one 5 years later with no problem. Considering that is the only money I have ever spent to do transcription work at home, I feel it was a very small investment and one that definitely paid off.
If you are considering doing transcription as a work at home job, check out Express Scribe software, very good software for basic transcription for standard audio or video formats where only simple audio needs to be captured.