Transcribe a

Media File

Transcription with TransanaSCRIBE is a manual process.

SCRIBE’s tools make transcription fast and easy. You can use our Keyboard Shortcut Keys to move forward and backward through your media file as you transcribe, or use a transcription foot pedal.

This page will show you the simple steps to transcribe a media file. Later pages will show you how to transcribe even more efficiently using our “text expanders,” Autocomplete and Transcription shortcuts.

This is the Transcription Toolbar.

Transana’s Main Screen When You Are Transcribing

There is a waveform in the Visualization Window, a video in the Media Window (an audio-only file will  just have a play button and progress bar); a Transcript in the Transcription Window. The name of the Transcript you are working on is highlighted in the Data Window.

Credit: The Aspen Institute

Basic Media Transcription

1. In the Transcription window’s toolbar, click the Edit Mode icon, which looks like a hand holding a pen. Place your cursor in the window and your are ready to type. Instead of removing your fingers from the keyboard to hit ‘play’ in the Media Window, use Keyboard shortcuts or a programmable foot pedal to stop, start, rewind or jump ahead.  Let’s start with typing a few paragraphs to get a feel for using SCRIBE’s Keyboard Shortcuts.

2. Use the Keyboard Shortcut Ctrl-S on Windows or Cmd-S on MacOS to start the video. Listen for a few seconds, then press Ctrl/Cmd-S again to pause the video. Type what you heard.

3. Press Ctrl/Cmd-S again to restart the video. Transana automatically rewinds the video two seconds, as many transcribers find this overlap helpful during the transcription process.

Continue to use Ctrl/Cmd-S to start and stop the video as necessary as you transcribe the audio. It is a common practice to insert a blank line in the transcript each time the speaker changes, as you will find it much easier to work with your transcript if you add this visual demarcation of speaker change.

Other Keyboard Shortcuts you can use while typing:

Ctrl/Cmd-A starts media file playback with a ten-second rewind.

Ctrl/Cmd-D pauses or starts media file playback with no rewind.

Ctrl/Cmd-F moves the media file forward by ten seconds and plays it.

4. Click the Save icon periodically. When you have finished transcribing, click the pen icon again to leave Edit mode.

The Transcription Window while you are typing a transcript:

Speed up and Slow Down Playback

You can alter playback speed for your media file by clicking ‘Options > Program Settings’ in the Windows Menu Bar or ‘TrananaSCRIBE Menu > Preferences’ on MacOS and choosing the ‘Transcriber Settings’ tab.  Use the Media Playback Speed slider to set the speed as low as 1/10th normal speed or as fast as 2 times normal speed. On most operating systems you should experience no shift in the pitch of the recorded voices.

You can also slow down or speed up your media file on the fly using Keyboard Shortcuts.

Ctrl-(comma)/Cmd-< slows down media file playback by 10% of normal speed, if playback speed change is possible, which varies by media format and type of computer.

Ctrl-(period)/Cmd-> speeds up media file playback by 10% of normal speed, if playback speed change is possible.

Setting Up A Foot Pedal Controller

Many transcribers find that they can work more efficiently by being able to stop, start and rewind their audio or video file with a foot pedal. TransanaSCRIBE works with many “plug and play” USB Foot Pedal Controllers. When you have yours plugged into a USB port on your computer, click ‘Options’ in the file menu at the top of your screen, and choose ‘Program Settings.’  Choose the ‘Foot Pedal Configuration’ tab. Select your foot pedal from the drop down menu of USB devices currently connected to your computer and click ‘OK.’

Push each button on your foot pedal to see what function is currently associated with that button. You can reassign the function of each button by clicking the dropdown for each of the four programmable functions (rewind 10 seconds, rewind 2 seconds and start, stop/start forward 10 seconds) and choosing the foot pedal button you want to assign it to.

If you have not plugged your foot pedal into your computer before you open this tab, please close Program Settings. Plug your USB foot pedal into your computer, then reopen Options > Program Settings > Foot Pedal Configuration and you will find your foot pedal listed in the dropdown menu of USB devices. The program will remember it the next time you use it.

Here’s a short video demonstrating  transcription using Keyboard Shortcuts: