Dragon Dictation - Free

The computer version is quite expensive so it is amazing that an app that works this well is free. You don't get all the frills of the computer version and it does require an internet connection to work, but for basic speech to text conversion it fits the bill. For best results, speak slightly slower than normal and with good enunciation. There is a keyboard editor to touch up the fiddly bits within your work. Files can be sent via SMS, email or pasted into any other iPad application.

iTranslate - Free

Translates written words, phrases and sentences to and from over 50 languages and spoken phrases to and from 16 languages. The text conversions are accurate but the speech conversion depends on how well your accent is in the language being spoken. It will read back the converted text in an accurate accent which is a really good feature. It requires an internet connection to work. The ads are ever present but no too annoying, upgrade to an ad free version for $2.99.

SoundNote - $5.49

This app does virtually the same job as a $120 LiveScribe Smartpen. Press the record button and whatever notes you type or draw during a lesson, conference session, interview or meeting are tracked to the audio recording. This allows you to take briefer notes and concentrate more on the session.To playback, press anywhere in your your notes and the recording will jump to that part of the recorded session. Records in standard m4a format for sharing.

Worth Considering


iBaldi - $0.99

An animated head that will read back text with facial expressions. There is only one voice and it is fairly robotic but easy enough to understand. The speaking rate is adjustable and facial animation can be customised with 4 emotional settings on slide bars. Quite large amounts of text (at least several pages) can be written in the app or pasted in. When activating the reading mode there is a choice of following the text or watching the animated head.

Notability - $4.99

This app started as a simple recording tool with the same function as SoundNote. Several upgrades have added to that functionality and this app is getting quite sophisticated. In addition to linked audio recording it also allows for annotation over a pdf, a smooth handwriting ability, auto sync cloud backup and linking with Dropbox. In some respects it has lost its simplicity but has gained a lot of functionality - depends what you want in a note taking app.
Prices are in $AUS and were correct at time of publication but are subject to change.