Transcription Made Simple

I’m always on the lookout for good transcription software — a program that will take a WAV, MP3 or other sound file and let me stop, start, rewind and speed up the recording using shortcuts as I transcribe it. Olympus do a good one for their digital recorders, but it will only handle its own DSS format, and doesn’t offer any way to convert other files into the DSS format. Today I did another search and found this little gem: f4 from (There’s a sister program for Macs called Listen which costs $15.)


F4 is very straightforward, but does everything you need to transcribe, without any fuss. There’s even a text window you can transcribe into and, at the press of a function key, insert the time from the recording. It imports .wma, .wav, .mp3 and .ogg files and will work with a USB footswitch. It’s put together by two guys called Thorsten, doctoral students at the Philipps University in Marburg. Well done, Thorsten and Thorsten.

  • Another option you might want to consider is Transana. It supports windows and mac and can use PS-2 or USB footpedals. It also supports transcription of video. It is also free and open source.

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All opinions are my own, and not necessarily those of Thomson Reuters.



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