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Friday Favorite: Transcriva


If you have a photographic memory, you may recall an article I wrote for TUAW about a year ago describing how to use AppleScript to make it easier to transcribe QuickTime movies and audio. In the comments for that piece, a program was pointed out to me (thanks imnotjesus) which has become a valuable tool in my toolbox. Transcriva is a single-purpose program for transcribing video and audio clips with a rich set of features certain to make your life easier. If you're doing professional transcription, recording audio notes in a class or a meeting for later reference, preparing sub-titles for a movie, or anything which involves copying what's being said or shown into text form, Transcriva has tools to fit, and pricing I find very reasonable.

The main window of Transcriva offers a library view of your transcriptions, a media playback bar and your current transcription. With user-configurable keyboard shortcuts, it's possible to comfortably operate during a transcription without your hands ever needing to leave the keyboard. It even works with a foot pedal, if you're set up with one. You can control playback speed and set it to match your typing speed, as well automatically jump back a configurable number of seconds when you pause and resume playback.

Of all of the features available, Follow-Along is my favorite. It allows you to play back your audio after you've transcribed it, and highlights the appropriate sections of the transcription as the playback head moves through them. More importantly, clicking on an area of the transcription jumps to its related point in the playback, allowing you to quickly review the audio associated with a note or transcription. This is important because that's exactly how I use Transcriva, taking notes from audio recordings or even during a recording when I'm using the built-in record features. Then I can review my hastily typed notes and immediately hear the audio that was happening at the time I took the note.

It's great for recording meetings and annotating recorded Skype conversations. I imagine it would be an amazing tool in class, if you were in a situation where recording and typing were allowed. I haven't been to school for a while. The functionality is similar to Pear Note, but at $29.99US, Transcriva comes in $10US cheaper and packs more features.

Transcriva can handle just about any type of audio or video you can play on your Mac. It uses QuickTime, and with Flip4Mac and Perian installed, you can extend the possibilities to include WMV, AVI, DIVX, FLV and more. When you're done with a transcription, you can export it to RTF or Word formats for sharing, publishing or continuing editing externally. I use Transcriva to recap interviews I do over Skype, and take my notes in an "outline" format which I can, with a little finagling, turn into a mind map or outline for an article.

Transcriva has made my life exponentially easier and is a tool I'd gladly recommend to anyone with similar needs. My direct experience with the developer has also been great, with quick response times and a single bug report resulting in a new build within a couple of days. Transcriva is free to try, $29.99US to buy. You can download the trial at the Bartas Technologies site. If you hurry, it's even discounted to $19.99US in the MacUpdate Promo today.

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