Sydney \ 12-09-2014

Transcriber is a webpage-as-text-processor that helps you to transcribe audio into text. The key benefit to using this tool is the integration of audio playback control, so you don′t have to juggle two applications (audio player and word processor) at the same time while transcribing. This can be quite a timesaver and makes transcribing a little less elaborate.

Try it here!

The story behind transcriber

Faced with the task of transcribing about fifteen one hour audio recordings, which would take about an hour per ten minutes of interview data to transcribe, I decided to look for tools that could ease the task. The main issue I realised that would hold me back (and annoy!) was the difficulty of controlling the audio playback. Frequently pausing/unpausing and winding back a few seconds becomes a drag if the tools you′re using do not cooperate. Using a separate audio player and text processor is not going to work.

Although for even more daunting tasks a foot pedal would work to control audio playback, I looked for ways I could make better use of the keyboard. The idea is that not having to remove my hands from the keyboard speeds up the task.

After looking at various apps, I decided all I needed was some way to slow down playback, pause, and scrub back a few seconds, while entering text. No fancy, completed application would be necessary. As it turns out, web browsers can do all those things, even slow down playback of audio. So, I figured, I should be able to make a simple webpage in an evening to get my homebrew transcriber tool. It did take a little longer to finalise the webapp, but the technical part was indeed solved on the first evening, if 2.30 at night still counts.

The webpage has so far been sufficient for my needs, having been able to transcribe the results from the study I was doing at the time. Further adjustments are certaintly possible as the code is open and available on GitHub.