News and Notes related to Digital Media Transcription, Analysis, and Captioning.
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  • Guest Blog: Transcribing Spider Monkeys

    Posted on February 3rd, 2016 Alex No comments

    Did you know you can use InqScribe to transcribe just about any language? Yes, even the language of spider monkeys.

    By: Sandra E. Smith Aguilar, PhD student at the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Regional Development (CIIDIR) Campus Oaxaca, of the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN) in Mexico.

    My research focuses on understanding the relationship between spider monkey social structure and space-use. As part of my project, I collected hundreds of hours of behavioral data which I am currently transcribing and processing. I’m specifically studying a wild group of black handed spider monkeys (Ateles geoffroyi) which live in the Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh protected area in Yucatan, Mexico. To conduct my research I spent 20 months living in a nearby village, going in to study the monkeys for 4-8 hours at a time with another PhD student and village experts.

    Each day, I chose one of the 22 monkeys from the group and recorded detailed accounts of its behavior, including interactions with other individuals as well as general information on grouping and movement patterns. Members of a spider monkey group are rarely found all together. Instead, individuals constantly join and leave subgroups on an hourly basis. This means that the identity of the members of any given subgroup is quite unpredictable (except for the infants and juveniles who usually stay together with their mothers). By following particular individuals, I tried to capture information on how social interactions can influence the monkey’s movement decisions and gain insight on the general principles which shape their social organization.

    Once I finished my field work, I ended up with 539 hours of behavioral records. Besides representing an exciting sample of 174 focal follows of all group members, this also meant that a long transcription process was ahead of me.

    What do you think they're saying?

    Initially, I considered using software for animal behavior research. However, the options I looked into did not allow for as many behavioral categories and extra data as I had. Given the narrative style of my recordings and the number of details I included in each entry, I needed something that allowed me to put as much information as I needed without the painful process of looking for the correct cell in a pre-designed giant spread sheet with columns for each piece of information.  At the same time, I needed to export the transcription in a format which allowed me to easily generate, manage, and format a database for further analysis. Both of these features drew me to InqScribe.

    In general, I’ve found the program is really easy to use. I’m particularly grateful for the ability to define personalized snippets and shortcuts, as well as the variety of export options which together have saved me endless hours in front of the computer.

    Thanks Sandra! We’re happy to hear InqScribe makes it easier to conduct your research. Whether you’re researching spider monkeys in the Yucatan or transcribing a simple dialogue, consider trying out InqScribe with our free 14-day trial. If you’d like to learn more, or if you have any questions about InqScribe, feel free to contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Guest Blog: Using InqScribe to Run Your Own Business

    Posted on July 17th, 2015 Alex No comments

    Jessica Paxton recently started her own transcription business. In this guest feature, Jessica discusses how she came to InqScribe, and why it works well for her line of work.

    By: Jessica Paxton, Independent Transcriber

    Jessica PaxtonWhen I first branched out working for myself in the transcription business, I had no idea where to start; I had been working for a company who provided an editor in-house. For my first client, I began working with MS Word and Windows Media Player. The amount of time it took for just one transcript was painful. I had no way to start and stop my audio, slow it down, speed it up, nothing! It made me nervous about embarking on my business journey. Within a few months, I had new clients contacting me what seemed like daily and I knew that working with MS Word was not going to suffice.

    I began my search for transcription software that would meet my needs. I downloaded probably 6 programs before stumbling upon InqScribe. I requested the 14 day trial and began my thorough exploration of the program. I quickly found a few favorite features. The ability to create keyboard shortcuts similar to what I had been using with my previous company was great, it allowed me to go quickly as I do not use a foot pedal and rely on my quick shortcuts. I also really like the feature of creating snippets for my speaker names; it cuts down so much time when I can hit 1 key to put my speakers in without having to type them out. It saves me both time and keystrokes.

    I work with a lot of PhD candidates and professors all across the country, and I couldn’t envision working as much as I do with any other program.  The turnaround requirements for my clients varies from a couple days to a couple of weeks, and prior to InqScribe, I was lucky to be finishing a file every couple of days; now I can sometimes get 3 full 2 hour audio pieces done a day, thanks to InqScribe’s custom shortcuts and snippets.

    Thanks, Jessica! We’re happy to hear InqScribe makes your transcription work a little easier. For any readers interested in trying out our software, why not take advantage of our free 14-day trial? If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at support@inqscribe.com.

  • Comparison: InqScribe vs. Express Scribe

    Posted on July 31st, 2014 Alex No comments

    At InqScribe, we strive to create the best, most reliable transcription software. But, as some of you are aware, we aren’t the only ones on the market. You may even use a combination of other transcription tools alongside InqScribe in your line of work. To help clarify and distinguish InqScribe from the competition, we thought a simple, honest comparison might be helpful. In this post we’ll be looking at Express Scribe, one of our popular competitors.
    InqScribe vs. Express Scribe

    First, let’s start with the basics. Both Express Scribe and InqScribe are designed to make transcription a faster, easier, and more user-friendly experience. Combing an audio/video player with a text editor, they both employ features such as adjustable play speed, foot pedal support, and custom keyboard shortcuts. Currently, InqScribe is built around Windows Media Player 11 and QuickTime 7 (though change is around the corner). This means InqScribe will play pretty much anything supported by these media players. Express Scribe has its own set of supported formats.

    InqScribe and Express Scribe offer a free limited version of the software, in addition to a more fully-featured 14-day trial. The biggest difference here is that the free version of Express Scribe limits you to only a few audio file formats (specifically, AIFF, MP3, WAV, and WMA), while InqScribe’s free version grants you full format support but limits your ability to save and export. It costs $40 to upgrade to the full version of Express Scribe, while a license of InqScribe sells for $99 with free updates and significant discounts for students, schools, and nonprofits.

    Although Express Scribe and InqScribe are designed to fill a similar niche, they were built with different features in mind. Taken from NCH Software’s website, Express Scribe is a “professional audio player software for PC or Mac designed to assist the transcription of audio recordings.” Express Scribe takes more of a focus on audio transcription, and some of its features reflect this, including the ability to “dock” dictation devices. Many Express Scribe users work with a separate text editor such as Word, controlling their media in the “mini” view or using system-wide shortcuts.

    In contrast, InqScribe was built from the ground up with professional video transcription in mind.  We focus on the ability to type a transcript in the same window that’s controlling a media file. Aside from allowing you to visualize what you’re typing, same-window transcription prevents juggling between programs and frees you from trying to locate which media file is associated with which text document. InqScribe does it all in one compact place.

    If you’re transcribing audio recordings and prefer working in a separate text editor, then Express Scribe could be right for you. It does boasts a native spell-check and word counter, which are admittedly absent in InqScribe (for now, that is…).

    That said, InqScribe offers a few unique features of its own. Working in the same window allows you to take advantage of clickable timecodes. As soon as you click on a recognized timecode, InqScribe will take you directly to that spot in the video or audio file. Some of our users employ this feature to annotate their videos, using InqScribe to take notes on specific moments in their media file.

    One of my favorite features in InqScribe are snippets. The ability to quickly insert custom bits of text can considerably speed up a workflow. For example, I like to assign the “Enter” key to insert a line of blank space, a timecode, and the main speaker’s name. Snippets can make typing faster and help ensure consistency in the transcript.

    Once you have your transcript proofed and ready to go, InqScribe allows you to export into a variety of file formats– such as plain text, XML, Subrip SRT, etc. You can even save your transcript directly into a subtitled QuickTime Movie. No matter if you’re creating high-quality professional videos or a quick draft, InqScribe will accommodate your needs. In fact, we encourage users to find the workflow that best suits them, whether it’s with Word, Excel, Final Cut Pro, or YouTube.

    Lastly, we welcome feedback from our users. Be it a support question, a feature request, or an honest opinion, we’re a small team that reads and responds to all inquiries. We hope you’ve found this a useful comparison. If you have any questions about whether InqScribe is right for you, feel free to email us at support@inqscribe.net

  • Guest Blog: Using InqScribe to Record the Wabanaki Experience

    Posted on July 17th, 2014 Alex No comments

    Many nonprofits use InqScribe to help transcribe interviews and spread their message. In this guest blog, Rachel George explains how she came across InqScribe through her work with the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC.

    By: Rachel George, Research Coordinator

    Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC ChildrenThe Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission is charged with clarifying the experiences of Wabanaki Native American children and families involved with state child welfare. Historically there has been an incredibly high rate of removal of native children who were placed into non-native homes, resulting in continued intergenerational trauma and loss of culture. The 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act implemented new placement priorities recognizing the ties that native children have to their tribes, as well as the tribe’s interest in their children. This made it harder for native children to be placed in non-Native homes, yet the State of Maine continued to have high rates of removal.

    The TRC is investigating these removals by hearing the experiences of native children and families, and also from state officials, case workers, service providers and adoptive and foster families. From these investigations we’ve gathered a number of video and audio recordings from private statements, interviews, and focus groups. With the help of a few volunteers, we are currently working on transcribing an increasing pool of interviews and statements which are all approximately an hour long.

    Prior to coming across InqScribe, we were simply running the video through QuickTime and having a word document open simultaneously. I am sure I don’t need to tell you that this was a lot less effective than using InqScribe. Having the video and text in a single window streamlined our process. Since we’re working with long videos and multiple transcribers, it’s great to have a program that helps us stay organized and consistent. And, unlike some other transcribing software, InqScribe allows us to transcribe video as well as audio recordings.

    Overall, InqScribe has been a really valuable resource for us and has sped up the process of transcribing statements and interviews. It’s a system I am very happy to support and was very keen to push to my staff and colleagues.


    Research Coordinator Rachel GeorgeAbout the Author

    Rachel is a young indigenous scholar from Vancouver, British Columbia. As a member of the Ahousaht First Nation, she has grown into an advocate for indigenous rights. She has a genuine and enthusiastic commitment to strengthening the voices of indigenous peoples, and seeking methods of redress that are complementary to indigenous needs and rights.

    Thanks Rachel! Interested in learning more? Check out the Maine Wabanaki-State Child Welfare TRC website and read Rachel’s generous endorsement of InqScribe.

  • Second Language Learning Using Films

    Posted on April 19th, 2011 ben No comments

    A part of our occasional series highlighting interesting uses of InqScribe

    In addition to transcriptionists and documentary filmmakers, researchers make up a large portion of InqScribe users.  Although, in this case, we hit two of our favorite topics simultaneously: research and education.

    Alex Gilmore, a professor at the University of Tokyo, just published a book chapter on using InqScribe to produce film-based teaching resources based for second language learning.

    InqScribe screenshot

    Why film?  Think about it, wouldn’t you rather learn a language by watching a film than reading boring text or hokey audio tapes? Films are a naturally motivating platform for teaching language. They’re also useful because they have contextual and discourse features like colloquial language, politeness strategies, and vague language that make them valuable for developing listening skills. They represent a much more authentic use of language.

    Why not just use the subtitles present in many DVDs? Subtitles are actually often condensed versions of what is actually said. In language learning, it’s important to have the full text. So you have to take the time to produce quality learning materials.

    In the chapter, Professor Gilmore details a procedure in which he uses InqScribe to produce teaching materials for an episode of Fawlty Towers, a British comedy television series. This includes subtitles as well as classroom materials. He covers ripping from DVD all the way to producing subtitles, so it’s a pretty thorough tutorial.

    He’s generously provided a PDF of the chapter. You can download the paper here.

    Gilmore, A. (2009). Catching words: Exploiting film discourse in the foreign language classroom. In F. Mishan & A. Chambers (eds.), Perspectives on Language Learning Materials Development. Oxford: Peter Lang AG.