WhatsApp is reportedly working on a feature to transcribe voice messages. The new feature is said to be currently in testing on the iOS version of the instant messaging app, though it may reach both Android and iPhone users over time.
At present, WhatsApp doesn’t provide transcription of voice messages. There are instead third-party apps on both iOS and Android that say they can transcribe the messages you receive.
In a report, WhatsApp beta tracker WABetaInfo posted screenshots that show the development of voice message transcription, on at least the iOS version of the app. The source has provided a couple of screenshots to suggest how the transcription feature would work.
One of the screenshots shared by WABetaInfo suggests that WhatsApp would send speech data it gets in the form of voice messages directly to Apple’s speech engine for transcription. This indicates that WhatsApp parent Facebook would not be involved in the transcription process.
Users will be asked to grant permission to share speech data with Apple if they want to transcribe a particular voice message on WhatsApp, the screenshot suggests.
Once the permission is granted, users would get the transcription of their voice messages ready in a new section called Transcript. The other screenshot shared by WABetaInfo suggests that users would also get timestamps to let them jump to a specific section of the message.
WABetaInfo reports that the transcription will be saved locally in the WhatsApp database when a voice message is transcribed for the first time. This will help provide quick access to the transcribed text.
The screenshots shared online are from WhatsApp for iPhone. This hints that the feature is currently in testing for iOS devices at this moment. Nevertheless, WhatsApp has a record of providing a similar experience across Android and iOS devices. We can, thus, expect the transcription feature to come to Android as well.
Some third-party apps on Android and iOS already provide users the way to transcribe their WhatsApp voice messages. However, these apps store speech data on their servers that could raise privacy concerns.
There is no exact timeline on when exactly the transcription feature will be available to users. WhatsApp may, though, provide its access to beta testers in the coming future.
For the last few months, WhatsApp has been improving the voice message experience on its platform. It started testing features including a playback speed toggle and waveforms interface. Earlier this year, WhatsApp also silently introduced new animation for voice messages on iOS.