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Summary Details

Query:   transcription equipment
Author:  Charley Rowe
Submitter Email:  click here to access email
Linguistic LingField(s):   Computational Linguistics

Summary:   Recently I asked LINGUISTs whether they knew of footpedals that can
attach to computer such as to allow easy keyboard transcription of an
audio cd; or alternatively, professional (not "office") quality cassette
player + footpedals. That is, the desire was to not have to manipulate
a tape player or mouse by hand, allowing both hands consistently free to

1- No one knew of a footpedal-to-computer or footpedal-to-cd connection.

2- On the cassette end:

Kate Remlinger ( recommended Panasonic cassette
transcribers for conversational/discourse and/or linguistic courtroom

Simone Mueller ( uses the Sanyo
TRC-8090 (8080 without voice speed conversion), but warns of ergonomic
issues with the footpedal.

One linguist whose advice I solicited separately has been satisfied with
secretarial transcription equipment, as long as the cassette recordings
were of good quality.

Kenjiro Matsuda ( recommends the Sony digital
transcribe4r MZ-B3 with foot control FS-85B3 especially for use with
sociolinguistic interviews.

3- Some linguists had software recommendations for use with audio CD

Winnie Yiu ( and James Fidelholtz
( both recommended Voice Walker from Univ.Calif at
Santa Barbara linguistics dept. as an alternative to footpedal control.
With her office conveniently only one floor down from mine, Winnie was
kind enough to "walk" (!) me through the software personally so that I
could see how it works. With Voice Walker, you set the length of play
time (e.g. 4 seconds), and the segment automatically replays
itself--minus ca. the first second of each iteration--until it has
played the segment back 3 (or was it 4?) times. This continues
throughout the entire recording, which allows both hand-free and
foot-free transcription. It also has the advantage of being a small
program, so there is not much in the way of a learning curve (sorry to
use an overused phrase).

Heike Behrens ( recommended Sonic Chat (of the
CHILDES system) which has you highlight the text to be transcribed.
>From what I can tell, this is a fairly robust and larger program that
has quite a few options for manipulating text while or after
transcribing. The the website: and the Chat manual

On the same site is Clan, which I saw on the CHILDES system site and
which Winnie also demo'd for me. This software is also a bit more
robust (and larger) than Voice Walker, which means there are a few more
options, which may be helpful in the later stages of
analysis--particuarly when examining phonetic variants.

Thank you to all who answered!

LL Issue: 13.567
Date Posted: 01-Mar-2002
Original Query: Read original query


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