Thursday, May 28, 2009

Audio Transcription

So…you’ve managed to digitize that family audiotape recorded 20-30 years ago and you are playing it from your computer’s iTunes or Windows Media Player.

You have Appleworks or Microsoft Word open and you are doing your best to transcribe what’s on the tape. Manually rewinding every time the audio gets ahead of your typing, being forced to re-listen to what you’ve already transcribed because you rewound too far. This may involve a lot of switching back and forth between the word processor window and the audio window. It can be tiring.

What would be really helpful is if there was some software that could make this easier for you. Perhaps you could rewind the digital audio a second by a mere key-press, minimizing re-listening to the same section over and over. Perhaps there could even be a setting where you tell the computer to playback at half-speed. Maybe at 50% speed you wouldn’t have to rewind at all. Maybe you’re a slightly better typist and can handle 70%, or perhaps you would need to play it at 30% speed. The software could handle it.

How much would you pay for this software?

How about a free download?
Express Scribe Transcription Playback Software
Versions for Mac, PC and Linux

At that price, it is certainly worth at least trying out. And I did. And I’m very impressed.

If your audio isn't already digitized, it loads input from both analog and digital recorders. It allows for variable playback speed, and the hot-keys are easily definable.

There are a lot of features I am sure I will never try out, such as its support for 'professional foot pedals'. The 'hot-key' function is definitely sufficient for my usage. There are also features to receive audio from the internet - if it is being used in a professional workplace.

The website sells related software, foot pedals, and headsets. But Express Scribe is free, and quickens the transcription process in my experience.

No comments: