How to Make Google Voice Transcribe Voicemail Better

Unless you donate a message, no humans at Google hear your mail.
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When a caller leaves a voice mail message for a Google Voice phone number, Google attempts to transcribe it using an automated system. On calls with poor audio quality, Google either does not provide a transcript or the transcript contains errors. If you receive poor transcriptions, you can edit them manually or send them to Google to help make the system better. Alternatively, as a caller, you can improve voice mail messages you leave by reducing noise on your call.

1 Improving Your Transcriptions

2 Log

Log in to Google Voice and open the "Voicemails" section.

3 Down to find and read a particular voice mail transcript

Scroll down to find and read a particular voice mail transcript. In the text of the transcript, Google marks words and phrases it can't understand clearly with gray text.

4 Click on the text of the transcript

Click on the text of the transcript to change it into an editable text box.

5 Press the Play icon

Press the "Play" icon to listen to the original message and retype the transcript correctly.

6 Check the

Check the "Donate this voicemail" box if you want to send the message to Google. If you choose this option, a Google employee will listen to the message and use the mistakes in the transcript to make future transcriptions better.

7 Press

Press "Save" to update the transcript with your changes. If you later want to undo your edits, open the text again and click "Revert."

8 Improving Your Calls

9 A quiet room

Record voice mail messages while in a quiet room. Background noise -- especially other people talking in the background -- interferes with Google's automatic transcription.

10 Speak steadily and clearly

Speak steadily and clearly. You don't need to talk like a robot, but mumbling or running your words together causes transcription errors.

11 Use a microphone on your phone

Use a microphone on your phone while leaving voice mail messages. Microphones pick up your voice better and help further reduce background noise.

12 Spell out or avoid using names

Spell out or avoid using names and uncommon terms to improve transcription quality. Google's automated transcriptions tend to favor common words, causing proper names and obscure words to transcribe incorrectly. If you know your recipient will read your message as a transcript, consider using shorter, simpler words to ensure clarity.

  • To donate a voice mail without editing it manually, click the "X" icon on the message next to the "Transcript useful?" message and select "Yes."

Aaron Parson has been writing about electronics, software and games since 2006, contributing to several technology websites and working with NewsHour Productions. Parson holds a Bachelor of Arts from The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.