Getting started with Amazon Transcribe - Amazon Transcribe

Getting started with Amazon Transcribe

Before you can create transcriptions, you have a few prerequisites:

Once you complete these prerequisites, you're ready to transcribe. Select your preferred transcription method from the following list to get started.


If you're new to Amazon Transcribe or would like to explore our features, we recommend using the AWS Management Console. This is also the easiest option if you'd like to start a stream using your computer microphone.

Because streaming using HTTP/2 and WebSockets is more complicated than the other transcription methods, we recommend reviewing the Setting up a streaming transcription section before getting started with these methods. Note that we strongly recommend using an SDK for streaming transcriptions.

Signing up for an AWS account

You can sign up for a free tier account or a paid account. Both options give you access to all AWS services. The free tier has a trial period during which you can explore AWS services and estimate your usage. Once your trial period expires, you can migrate to a paid account. Fees are accrued on a pay-as-you-use basis; see Amazon Transcribe Pricing for details.


When setting up your account, make note of your AWS account ID because you need it to create IAM entities.

Installing the AWS CLI and SDKs

To use the Amazon Transcribe API, you must first install the AWS CLI. The current AWS CLI is version 2. You can find installation instructions for Linux, Mac, Windows, and Docker in the AWS Command Line Interface User Guide.

Once you have the AWS CLI installed, you must configure it for your security credentials and AWS Region.

If you want to use Amazon Transcribe with an SDK, select your preferred language for installation instructions:

Configure IAM credentials

When you create an AWS account, you begin with one sign-in identity that has complete access to all AWS services and resources in your account. This identity is called the AWS account root user and is accessed by signing in with the email address and password that you used to create the account.

We strongly recommend that you do not use the root user for your everyday tasks. Safeguard your root user credentials and use them to perform the tasks that only the root user can perform.

As a best practice, require users—including those that require administrator access—to use federation with an identity provider to access AWS services by using temporary credentials.

A federated identity is any user who accesses AWS services by using credentials provided through an identity source. When federated identities access AWS accounts, they assume roles, and the roles provide temporary credentials.

For centralized access management, we recommend that you use AWS IAM Identity Center. You can create users and groups in IAM Identity Center. Or you can connect and synchronize to a set of users and groups in your own identity source for use across all your AWS accounts and applications. For more information, see Identity and Access Management for Amazon Transcribe.

To learn more about IAM best practices, refer to Security best practices in IAM.

Creating an Amazon S3 bucket

Amazon S3 is a secure object storage service. Amazon S3 stores your files (called objects) in containers (called buckets).

To run a batch transcription, you must first upload your media files into an Amazon S3 bucket. If you don't specify an Amazon S3 bucket for your transcription output, Amazon Transcribe puts your transcript in a temporary AWS-managed Amazon S3 bucket. Transcription output in AWS-managed buckets is automatically deleted after 90 days.

Learn how to Create your first S3 bucket and Upload an object to your bucket.

Creating an IAM policy

To manage access in AWS, you must create policies and attach them to IAM identities (users, groups, or roles) or AWS resources. A policy defines the permissions of the entity it is attached to. For example, a role can only access a media file located in your Amazon S3 bucket if you've attached a policy to that role which grants it access. If you want to further restrict that role, you can instead limit its access to a specific file within an Amazon S3 bucket.

To learn more about using AWS policies see:

For example policies you can use with Amazon Transcribe, see Amazon Transcribe identity-based policy examples. If you want to generate custom policies, consider using the AWS Policy Generator.

You can add a policy using the AWS Management Console, AWS CLI, or AWS SDK. For instructions, see Adding and removing IAM identity permissions.

Policies have the format:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Sid": "my-policy-name", "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "service:action" ], "Resource": [ "amazon-resource-name" ] } ] }

Amazon Resource Names (ARNs) uniquely identify all AWS resources, such as an Amazon S3 bucket. You can use ARNs in your policy to grant permissions for specific actions to use specific resources. For example, if you want to grant read access to an Amazon S3 bucket and its sub-folders, you can add the following code to your trust policy's Statement section:

{ "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:GetObject", "s3:ListBucket" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET", "arn:aws:s3:::DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET/*" ] }

Here's an example policy that grants Amazon Transcribe read (GetObject, ListBucket) and write (PutObject) permissions to an Amazon S3 bucket, DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET, and its sub-folders:

{ "Version": "2012-10-17", "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:GetObject", "s3:ListBucket" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET", "arn:aws:s3:::DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET/*" ] }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:PutObject" ], "Resource": [ "arn:aws:s3:::DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET", "arn:aws:s3:::DOC-EXAMPLE-BUCKET/*" ] } ] }