Daily Archives: December 18, 2011 9:21 pm

IT tips #18: If you’re transcribing, get a USB foot control

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(I’ve blogged about this before, but I’m passionate about how much time they save, so I don’t mind doing so again)

If you do things like record lectures or interviews on your mobile, laptop or portable voice recorder, or want to transcribe speech from a video, what are you going to do? Press play with your hands, listen a bit, press pause with your hands, type a bit with your hands, stop, press rewind with your hands, press play again with your hands…and repeat  til insane.  You get the point: you need two pairs of hands if this is going to go anything but dead slowly.

But with a USB foot control (like the Infinity) and some free software called Express Scribe  you can sail through this kind of job.  For example, you can easily set Express Scribe to automatically go back, let’s say, one second when you release the ‘play’ pedal with your foot. That means you don’t in fact have to use the rewind button at all if you’re on a roll.

It is so much faster than any other method involving your hands alone, I would be lost without it for any transcribing job. And it’s not just speech that it’s good for – if you’re  a musician trying to work out the chord sequence or melody to a song, it’s perfect for transcribing music from audio files where you have to listen several times over to the same little bit.  Your hands never need to leave the page or keyboard that you’re working with.