Transcription made a little easier

I have been asked to elaborate a few times after making comments about how I do interview transcriptions. In response to the most recent question, I will detail it here.

I am using f5 transcription software for Mac from The Windows version is f4. You can use your keyboard to control it, but I use a pedal that was recommended by the developers and purchased at a local office supplies store, the Infinity IN-USB-2. It is also available through or It is plug-and-play, but make sure you close down f5 before plugging in the pedal. I will leave it to you to explore the features of the software.

When transcribing, rather than typing what I hear, I dictate into my headset and use Dragon Dictate speech recognition software to do the typing for me. I do have to assist with correcting some words through the keyboard, but most is automatically typed both quickly and efficiently. If I recall correctly, this idea came from a comment on the website. A further comment stated that it is not as efficient as typing yourself. However, the dictation works wonders if you are not a good keyboarder or if you wish to give your wrists, hands, and fingers a good rest. Dragon can also transcribe directly from your audio, but do not expect accuracy if you try to transcribe other persons.

This may not be the ‘free’ solution that is often desired. Dragon Dictate or Dragon Naturally Speaking, its Windows version, comes with a price tag–as does the pedal. f5 is free at this time, but a small donation is encouraged. I was quick to donate. For f4, you will need the pro version for more than 10 minutes of audio, but the price is quite reasonable.

I hope this helps!

A.E. (Tony) Ratcliffe
PhD Research Student
Institute of Learning Innovation
University of Leicester

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