Tips for making transcripts

xiaophil
February 03, 2010, 03:46 AM posted in Transcripts with Tal

Okay, as promised, I'm letting y'all know how I made my transcript.  Please feel free to make suggestions, offer critiques and/or point out alternatives. 

One

I use a free audio editing program called Audacity.  I prefer it over normal media players for the following reasons:

  1. I can easily mark a place in the audio file and go back to it if need be.  I hate always adjusting the starting point only to discover that I have gone backwards too far or not far enough. 
  2. Since I can see the wave form, it is easier to predict where to move to when looking for a specific part.
  3. I can alter the tempo to a snail's pace, which is helpful if a particular word has been spoken too fast or is one I am unfamiliar with.  Note: when using this capability I only use the preview function as I don't want to alter the actual file.

Two

I use the online word processing program at zoho.com.  Here are the benefits of it:

  1. Unlike offline programs, after the transcription is done, I can easily convert the file into an Internet link that everyone can view, and unlike some other online services, it hasn't been blocked yet (knock on wood).
  2. I can continue to use my Perapera-kun Firefox pop up translator.  I find this essential when Jenny says a word I'm unfamiliar with and I want to make sure the word I chose makes sense.

Three

Positioning is important.  I resize both Audacity and Firefox and then place them one on top of the other as shown below.

transcript screen shot

It's a bit tight on my dinky computer, but I find it is worth it as toggling between the two programs is infinitely easier.

Well, I reckon that's about it.

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zhenlijiang
February 03, 2010, 03:59 AM

Thanks for sharing Xiaophil--good tips! And well-organized.

I'll have to look into Audacity (as I struggle over the media excerpt portions of the lesson I'm doing now).

I'll look at this post again when I'm about to start my next transcript.

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xiaophil

Sounds good!

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xiaophil
February 03, 2010, 06:00 AM

Sounds good!

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Tal
February 03, 2010, 10:16 AM

Nice post xiaophil, thanks for sharing your working method with us.

Actually it's quite similar to my own, although I use Sony Sound Forge instead of Audacity. I generally type the document in MS Word, and then upload it to Google Docs, where it's possible to publish your document as a web page. That webpage can then be viewed by anyone.

It's possible to stipulate that any changes you make to the document (which can be done online) will automatically change the webpage. It's an arrangement I find very convenient.

(Google docs has been blocked from time to time in China unfortunately, but as far as I know none of the links to my previously transcripts have ever been affected.)

Having said all this I realise it's some time now since I've done any serious transcribing!

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orangina
February 03, 2010, 10:41 AM

thanks xiaophil! I've been wanting to jump in the transcript game, but find the logistics challenging. This looks much better than what I've been struggling with.

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Tal
February 03, 2010, 11:36 AM

It's the best game in town orangina, just jump in, the water's lovely!

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sebire
February 03, 2010, 08:05 PM

Gosh, you guys make it so complicated. MP3 file in iTunes and a text editor. Dictionary to hand. Sorted!

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xiaophil

Actually, the way I look at it settling down on the system was about the only part I could consider complicated, although even that wasn't really complicated as everything mentioned above came about slowly from my frustration with various aspects of the process as I moved along. I promise you my system now makes me see my limitations instead of my equipments limitations.

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Tal
February 03, 2010, 11:24 PM

Well, I have iPhobia and have to be careful around lower case 'i' when it's followed by a capital letter. Even talking about it makes me feel a bit queasy. How do iTunes (*shudder*) differ from normal tunes, by the way? I really have no idea.

Word makes a passably good text editor, though I do miss the days of the Olivetti Lettera 32.

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xiaophil

There is something heartwarming about just using something like an Olivetti, isn't there? The ironic thing is that when Cormac was a young man, he probably scoffed at some geezer who insisted on turning in handwritten manuscripts.

Come to think of it, Chinese are told that it is better, often essential, to hand write a business letter or official correspondence.

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Tal

Beautiful calligraphy (书法) was, I believe, traditionally an essential attribute of a person of culture and distinction in China. Weren't would-be bureaucrats tested for it?

I think Chinese people also still strongly believe in graphology (字音学) though I recall reading recently that many western companies secretly analyse the handwriting of job applicants.

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xiaophil

That's scary as my handwriting is atrocious...

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xiaophil
February 04, 2010, 12:28 AM

Actually, the way I look at it settling down on the system was about the only part I could consider complicated, although even that wasn't really complicated as everything mentioned above came about slowly from my frustration with various aspects of the process as I moved along. I promise you my system now makes me see my limitations instead of my equipments limitations.

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xiaophil
February 04, 2010, 12:33 AM

There is something heartwarming about just using something like an Olivetti, isn't there? The ironic thing is that when Cormac was a young man, he probably scoffed at some geezer who insisted on turning in handwritten manuscripts.

Come to think of it, Chinese are told that it is better, often essential, to hand write a business letter or official correspondence.

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xiaophil
February 04, 2010, 09:10 AM

Oh, and I figured out something else today.  I now often look a section. This way if I don't catch something I will definitely hear it, and at any rate, I can verify what I just wrote.  A bit annoying at times, yes, but far less annoying than hitting play a gazillion times.

By the way, I'm transcribing the 'Choosing a New Pair of Lenses' lesson.

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zhenlijiang

What's that? Look a section--?

(Got the transcribing bug I see!)

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xiaophil

Loop a section. 真不好意思;-)

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zhenlijiang
February 04, 2010, 09:22 AM

What's that? Look a section--?

(Got the transcribing bug I see!)

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xiaophil
February 04, 2010, 09:31 AM

Loop a section. 真不好意思;-)