Sonny Hines on F4 and F5 Transcription Software
I am Sonny Hines. As part of a recent project, we conducted 14 focus groups and then hired a transcriptionist to transcribe the audio files. Unfortunately, part way through the transcription project, her son fell very ill and she had to hand over the remainder of the work. With only a few groups left to transcribe, I decided to take it on myself.
Rad Resource – F4: Our transcriptionist suggested that I try F4. It is a free download and, while I haven’t used all of its features, the ones I have used have proven very useful. F4 is a software program that you install and then into which you import your audio file. Then, you play the file back via F4 while writing your transcript. Here are the three features that I used throughout the transcription process that made F4 worth 10x its cost (well, it was free, but I would have paid for it).
- Using the F3 and F5 keys to fast forward and reverse the audio so that I don’t need to move in and out between an audio program and my transcription.
- Setting the recording to restart a few second behind where it stopped so that when I have to stop the recording to type something it backs up a few words when it begins anew – before I tried this feature, I kept having to rewind with each stop in order not to miss words.
- Changing the playback speed so that the recording plays at half-speed so that I can type as fast as the discussion and F4 manages to keep the voices still sounding natural.
F4 has a number of other features that I haven’t yet had the opportunity to give a try including timestamping and synchronizing your text and audio so that the text scrolls as the audio plays when you proof.
Rad Resource – F5: F4 is for PC and F5 is for Mac.
One shortcoming is that, although the help files for F4 and F5 are available in English the screenshots in the help files tend to be in another language, German I believe.
F4 and F5 may be downloaded at http://www.audiotranskription.de/english/f4.htm
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