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Monday, January 12, 2009

Tracking Speakers Using Express Scribe

I've heard – and used – many different methods for keeping track of speakers when transcribing a focus group or group conversation that requires them to be tracked. Here are just a few:

If using Transcription Buddy, you can open the software multiple times. Your pedal/hotkeys will only play your main audio, but you can set the time on each of the others to a separate speaker so that when you're trying to identify a speaker, you can listen to the ones you've identified before. I've even played them over top of one another to see if the cadence and rhythm of their voices were the same.

In Express Scribe, you can use the bookmark feature to mark each speaker. I like that it also allows you to name the bookmarks. One issue I've had is that in order to go back and check the other bookmarks, you have to first bookmark your current place in the audio and then manually reopen it.

To avoid that, I often use this third method. I'll create a copy of the audio (i.e., Audio and Audio2), and load both into Express Scribe. The newest version of Express Scribe holds your place in each audio file when you switch between them (my absolute favorite feature!), so you can set your speaker bookmarks in one file and then transcribe from the other. When you get to a voice you're not sure about, simply switch to the bookmarked file and listen to the speakers until you've made your identification. Click back on the original audio and keep transcribing.

This saves at least five steps each time and it's also saved me a lot of frustration!

What other ways do you use to keep track of your speakers when trying to identify multiple voices?


Stephanie said...

Thank you for the great tip!
I haven't had the need to track speakers in my work, but this will definitely be a bookmark because I believe I have some focus groups coming down the pike soon.

amyl said...

Oh, my goodness. What an incredibly useful tip. Thanks, Mandi.