The internet is able to bring anyone together from around the world, no matter where they come from, what language they speak, or what customs they observe. But sometimes, online communities and content remain fractured.

That’s because there are still a bunch of barriers that the internet can’t always break down. The language barrier is one. Earlier in 2020, Google Translate added a terrific feature: it can now transcribe live audio, meaning that you can record yourself speaking, and Google will translate it. However, it doesn’t yet allow you to translate existing audio files that you have saved on your device or found on the web. And top-quality transcription services like Rev are highly reliable and popular, but their audio translation comes at a cost and can take a long time to process.

To translate your MP3 and M4A audio files efficiently and for free, I recommend using Kapwing. The auto-transcription and auto-translation features in the Kapwing subtitler can translate large files in just a few minutes, and it’s free to use for any files under 250MB in size. Here’s how to use it:

Step 1: Upload your audio file to the Kapwing Studio
Step 2: Auto-transcribe your audio into any language
Step 3: Download your subtitled video or SRT file

Step 1: Upload your audio file to the Kapwing Studio

To start translating your audio file, head over to Kapwing.com and click “Start editing.” Here, you can add your audio file however you want. If it’s stored on your device, you can drag it directly into the Studio or select “Click to upload” and find the file in your file browser.

If you need to upload more than one file to translate, either click “Add scene” on the left side of the Studio or select the Timeline button. Now, either in your new scene or the Timeline, drag & drop your additional audio file into the Studio. If you’re using the Timeline, drag the new audio layer to make sure both your layers aren’t playing at the same time.

Step 2: Auto-transcribe your audio into any language

Once all your audio files have fully uploaded to the Studio, select Subtitles from the top editing menu. Near the bottom of the window you’ll find a green generate button. Select this, choose the audio’s original language from the first drop-down, check the box that says “Translate transcript language,” and choose your output language from the list. Now, click the Auto-generate button and give Kapwing some time to transcribe your audio file.

Step 3: Download your subtitled video or SRT file

Once your subtitles have been generated, you have a few different options. I recommend keeping the subtitle format for your video’s translation, since this allows people to listen to the audio and follow the subtitles at the same time. That’s also the easiest thing to do: you can add a relevant background image if you want – this is common for podcast clips, for example – then hit the red Export button to begin processing your subtitled video.

You also have options to keep your translation in text format, if you’d prefer. Scrolling through the generated subtitles and pasting each one into a Word or Google document is a lot more efficient than it may sound, and with a Kapwing Pro membership, you can even download the subtitles’ SRT file directly from your Studio project.

Audio translation is a valuable digital commodity – that’s why most of the best options require you to pay. I hope this article helped you transcribe and translate any audio file, efficiently and for free. For more trending tips and editing tutorials, subscribe to Kapwing App on YouTube or follow us on Twitter @KapwingApp. And before you go, check out these related articles on translation and international audiences:

How to Get Community Captions Back on YouTube
Learn a Foreign Language by Captioning Videos
How to Add Subtitles to a TV Episode Online
How to Add Arabic Subtitles to a Video