When you are sent a voice note on WhatsApp, you are forced to listen to it to know what it is about, unless you use special apps that transcribe the voice to text. In the near future, you may not require any additional software: WhatsApp is in the early stages of transcribing voice clips, at least in its iOS edition.
As WaBetaInfo has discovered, WhatsApp is testing a feature so that you can transcribe the voice messages that come to you, thus avoiding listening to them or listening to them in full if you do not want to. For transcription, the audio is not sent to Facebook but is processed by Apple.
From voice to text in WhatsApp
If you have a lot of voice notes, it might be worth your while to check out: WhatsApp for iPhone is developing the transcription of voice communications. That is, if the transcription was completed successfully, you can view the content of a voice note in text form.
The transcription is optional. If you select this option, you will be able to view the various text fragments as well as the times they were spoken in conjunction with the recording. The playback is paused by clicking on the time; it may then be advanced to a specified moment by using the transcript.
Probably the most curious thing about this is that the implementation uses Apple’s voice recognition system, so you will need to grant WhatsApp permission to use it. This also implies that the voice clip will be sent to Apple for processing and, what’s more, it will be used to improve Apple’s voice recognition system.
As the feature is not yet official, there are no further details on how the audios are processed, the privacy that is applied, or if there is any notice to the other person that your voice message has been sent to an external server.
The major unknown is whether this transcription will be released for Android as well. WhatsApp has the same features on Android and iOS, even if the method to utilize it varies slightly. A good example of this is backups to Google Drive on Android and iCloud on iPhone so it would not be strange if something similar happens with transcription.