Transcription made easier?

Posted: July 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: articles & books, research tools, transcribing | 1 Comment »

Anyone in the business of analyzing talk knows that with every interview, focus group, or interaction comes the laborious task of transcribing it.  When I’m really speedy I can transcribe 15 minutes of talk in about one hour, but that’s only a rough cut that doesn’t include Jeffersonian notations.  When I’m adding those in, it nearly doubles the transcription time.

(Note:  The Jeffersonian Notation system, developed by the late Gail Jefferson, who was an acclaimed Conversation Analyst, is a set of notations/markers that can be used to preserve phatic and other paralinguistic qualities of speech.  See this Glossary of Transcript Symbols by Gail Jefferson herself.)

Is there anything to make transcription easier, short of paying someone else to do it for you?  This week in the NY Times, David Pogue wrote an enthusiastic review of  Dragon NaturallySpeaking for Windows.

Dragon NaturallySpeaking is a newly revamped and (according to Pogue) much improved voice recognition software package.  I don’t have a copy of it myself, but it sounds like it might be a great tool for generating good (not perfect) rough cuts of recorded talk.  Even better, the professional, premium, and home packages all have multiple language capabilities, including English, Dutch, French, German, Italian and Spanish.  The downside is that Dragon NaturallySpeaking is only available for PC.  However, Nuance, the company behind Dragon NaturallySpeaking, does offer a software package called MacSpeech Dicate for us Mackies.

If I paid the $100-200 for the home or premium versions and had my transcription time greatly reduced, I’d think it well worth the price.

Any insight on this?

One Comment on “Transcription made easier?”

  1. 1 Anthrodiva said at 3:33 pm on July 30th, 2010:

    Doesn’t do interviews. He mentions this in the article. It was a huge disappointment. Now I am not sure why I bought it at all.