Online transcription is an interesting career. As transcribers, we transcribe all sorts of things, from murder cases to sizzling interviews to motivating and inspirational podcasts. But in every industry, there are tools that help with maximum productivity. Here are 13 tools for professional transcriptionists.
Express Scribe is a well-known transcription tool. It is an audio player specifically designed for transcribers. It is made to be compatible with keyboard hotkeys, meaning that you can control it using the keyboard.
For example, Express Scribe has the following default keys: F4 – Stop, F8 – Fastforward, F9 -Play, F7 – Rewind.
It also works in conjuction with a foot pedal but the free version only supports the AltoEdge foot pedal.
There is a free and a paid version. The free version has 4 features: home and small business license permit, foot pedal support, DCT dictation and ability to play all major file formats.
The paid version has extra features such as Sony recorder format support, large enterprise or government use permit, technical support, additional file formats such as AVI, WMV and MOV, to mention but a few.
There are other similar players such as Inqscribe and FTW.
2. Foot Pedal
A foot pedal, also known as a WAV pedal, is exactly what it sounds like. It is set up in such a way that your feet can rewind, pause or play audio/video files. The concept here is that your hands focus on typing only.
It is a tool that a lot of professional transcriptionists use, to help speed up transcription work.
There are two types of foot pedals: USB and Serial. These are differentiated by the connector (head) which is inserted into the computer. However, USB models are easier to acquire while the use of serial ports is fast becoming outdated.
A well-known and trusted foot pedal is the Infinity USB Digital Foot Control with Computer plug (IN-USB2)
This is a free tool used to convert audio files from one format to another.
As you have probably realized, some audio file formats work on certain devices but refuse to work on others. This amazing free software converts your audio to over 50 formats! For example, it can change MP3 to WAV and M4A to MP3.
Some key audio formats you might use with this tool include MP3, WAV, OGG, FLAC, AC3, M4R and AAC, and many more.
This is an awesome tool that professional transcriptionists should have as part of their arsenal.
It helps you convert one video format to another. It can also convert your videos into audio files.
Once you convert the video into an audio file, you can then load the audio file onto your free Express Scribe software. Remember the free ES version doesn’t support video files.
You can also use it to extract (download) videos from the web. Surprisingly, it supports over 500 formats and is absolutely free!
Yet another common tool for professional transcriptionists and one that is very important if you want to up your listening skills.
Purchasing a good quality headphone is a worthy investment. Check out this article to see some of the factors you need to consider when buying headphones.
6. Ergonomic Chair
You may not be enjoying your freelance transcription career as much as you should be, simply because you do not have this vital transcription equipment.
If you want to make hours and hours of typing away at your PC comfortable and enjoyable, you need an ergonomic chair!
A good ergonomic chair:
- helps with lower back support
- promotes good posture
- prevents muscle fatigue
- allows for proper blood circulation
A bad seat will harm your back and increase the risks of developing cardiovascular complications!
The qualities of an ergonomic chair are:
- It ‘embraces’ your back naturally (takes the natural shape of your back)
- Its height is adjustable so you can set your best position
- It has comfortable armrests so you don’t tire out from hanging your arms in the air
- The seat is padded (not too hard) so you don’t get numb
- It extends up to your neck
I hope you plan on investing in an ergonomic chair soon.
7. DFX Audio
The DFX Audio Enhancer is a tool for improving audio quality. Once installed, it can reduce background noise, increase the volume of the audio, give the audio file a more crisp quality and allow you to adjust the audio between different controls. Here’s how to use the DFX tool.
Another helpful tool is Adobe Audition.
Yes, this is also a transcription tool. You can use it to slice audio files!
If you have a team of transcribers, and you want to send bits of a 2-hour audio file so that they can send the transcripts back quickly, this is a tool that will come in handy.
You can choose to slice the audio files into several segments, say 2 or 3 segments or according to duration, eg 20-minute duration.
Again, if your audio has long periods of silence in between, it can detect them and cut out the silence, helping you to work faster.
Audacity is yet another free audio editing and recording software.
It can be used to record live audio, convert records in digital formats, as well as clean up audio recordings. I use it to merge audio recordings that some of my clients send me, into one.
Use it where it fits best.
There comes a time in a transcriber’s life, every once in a while, when they aren’t able to transcribe files due to a cold or lethargy brought about by burnout. If you have short files that need to be transcribed, Dragon Naturally Speaking will come in handy.
The dragon naturally software recognizes speech and automatically converts it into text.
On average, DNS will speed up your transcription speed by up to 6 times. Once done, you can go through the word document it creates and correct the minor errors or format it as you wish. Of course, you cannot compare it to human transcription, and that is why I talked about using Dragon Naturally Speaking to transcribe short files, because they’ll be a bit of editing to do thereafter.
Here’s a video that shows you how to transcribe using Dragon.
Another tool that is almost similar is VoiceBase, an automated transcription tool. I sometimes use it to transcribe short files too.
If you’ve been an internet user for a while, you will agree that slow internet or prolonged downloads can be very annoying!
Raise your hand if you once tried to download a file, only for the power to go off.
With the IDM software, you can increase download speeds by up to five times and the software can also resume downloading any unfinished downloads.
This minute program will prompt you to grab audio, video, or document files on web pages that you visit.
As such, when a client sends you a large audio or video file, once you open the page with the attachment, the IDM will pop up, asking to download the file.
A huge advantage of IDM is that it downloads files very fast! There is a free 30-day trial after which you will be prompted to buy IDM.
WinZip is a tiny yet very mandatory software to have on your PC. It is used to compress files. For example, you can put 5 MP3 files into a folder, use WinZip to compress them and put them into a single folder.
While you might not need to compress any files, you will need this software to unzip or extract Zip files. If a client sends you Zip files containing 10 audio files, you’ll need to have WinZip installed to access the compressed files.
If a client sends you Zip files containing 10 audio files, you’ll need to have WinZip installed to access the compressed files. There is a free 30-day trial after which you will be prompted to buy it.
Buy WinZip 17 Standard. for only $29.95
Finally, we have Grammarly.
Grammarly is one of the leading grammar checker software in the world.
Writers, editors, transcribers and even tutors use it to detect and correct grammatical errors in text. You can install it as a Chrome extension.
Once installed, it will highlight erroneous text in red. Additionally, it will give suggestions on how to correct it. Ideally, you use this in clean verbatim transcription jobs or when writing podcast show notes for your clients.
It is particularly useful when you have used software to convert audio to text.
Remember that good grammar is essential if you are to submit client-ready transcripts.
Transcription is like masonry. You might possess the skill but without a hammer, wheelbarrow, concrete mixer, spirit level and crane, you can never make any good of it.
Get these 13 transcription tools and enjoy your transcription career to the full.