Transcription programme and transcription set

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Table of contents of this article

Transcription programme Transcription set

If you decide against having the transcription done by an external service provider, you can of course do the transcription yourself. The Time required should not be underestimated despite the low cost factor. The time needed for transcription is usually at least three times thelength of the audio file, and an inexperienced typist needs many times this time.

If the transcripts are made the transcripts yourself, the time required should be taken into account - the duration is at least 3 times the length of the audio file

No special tools or programmes are necessary to perform the transcription yourself. A word processing programme, such as Microsoft Word and a Playback programme for audio files are sufficient for a simple transcription. However, transcription takes much longer without a special programme. In Word, there are some helpful settings for this, such as macros or adjusting the layout in advance.

For the creation of transcripts, the standard text (Microsoft Word) and audio programmes are usually sufficient - but with special playback programmes you are much faster.

Although most users should have a word processor, the requirements for the audio player are much higher. The reason for this is that other factors are relevant for transcription than, for example, when playing music. In order to facilitate the selection of the right programme, the following chapter provides a brief overview.

Playback programmes

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With so many audio players available, it is difficult to choose at first. We therefore present here some of the best programmes that are very well suited for transcription work. A paid programme is not normally necessary, because the free programmes presented here are also capable of All important functions.

There is a wide range of audio players - but even the free programmes offer programmes offer the most important functions

Windows Media Player

The Windows Media Player is pre-installed with the Windows programmes. It can be used to play common audio and video files, create playlists and burn CDs. Beyond that, the player offers only a few functions. For the creation of a transcript, it therefore makes sense to purchase one of the following programmes with corresponding functions.

The following formats are supported by the latest version 12:


VLC Player

The VLC Player is a free open-source tool that has been developed and maintained by the VideoLan team since 1996. This team consists of French students and developers from over 20 countries.

The programme can be downloaded directly from the VLC website free of charge. The special feature of the VLC player is its compatibility with almost all file formats. These include the following:


However, the programme is not limited to these formats, but can download and install the necessary codecs for other formats on its own. It is therefore not dependent on these already being available in Windows.

In addition, physical formats such as CD and DVD are also supported and even incomplete or damaged files can be partially played.

The VLC player is compatible with Windows 7, 8 and 10 as well as Linux and MacOS and can also be used on mobile devices (Android, iOS, Windows Phone). Due to the high distribution of the programme, there is extensive support and new functions are constantly being added. In addition, the range of functions can be extended by numerous add-ons and plug-ins. Since the player only consumes a few system resources, it can be used in parallel with other programmes without any problems and is therefore ideally suited for transcriptions. 

There are also many other functions that are useful for transcription. For example, the playlist can be displayed via the "L" key or the "View" menu, which is very practical with several files. In addition, the volume can be increased above 100%, which is helpful for quiet parts of the interview. By default, an increase to 200% is possible, but the volume can be increased up to 400% with a simple trick:

Extras Settings Interface Main interfaces Qt Allow tick at "Set volume up to 400%".

Furthermore, the playback speed can be adjusted, which greatly facilitates transcription and helps with the interpretation of incomprehensible passages. The setting options range from 0.25 times to 4 times the speed. In addition, the VLC player can be fixed in the foreground of the programmes. This makes it possible, for example, to keep an eye on a video even when writing in Word. Other useful functions are the setting of loops and bookmarks.

A special feature of the VLC player is the possibility to set global hotkeys. This means that the player can also be controlled from other programmes, e.g. while Word is open. This makes it possible to stop and start playback quickly and easily or to jump back and forth in the audio file. Normally, only professional and fee-based transcription programmes offer this function.

Instructions for setting hotkeys can be found in the following infobox:
1. start VLC Player, click on "Extras - Settings
2. display "all" settings in the following window at the bottom left.
3. click on "Hotkey settings" in the left-hand menu under "Interface
4. in the list on the right, in the line "Play / Pause", double-click "Unset" in the column [Global].
Press any button, click on the "Set" button.
The previously selected key appears in the [Global] column (see figure above).
7. at the bottom of the list are the entries "very short jump back" and "very short jump forward".
Assign a key to each of the two jumps.
9. you can now fast-forward and rewind in the VLC player independently of the programme you are currently using.
10. the fast-forward or rewind length (in seconds) is set via the field "'Very short fast-forward' - length".
11. accept settings with the "Save" button

Click here to download:

Finally, all the advantages and disadvantages of the VLC player are clearly summarised:
Free of chargeNo automatic updates, but only manually by users
Compatible with almost all file formats and operating systemsShort training period necessary due to the high functional scope
High range of functions (special settings for transcription possible)Organisation of many files not possible (no graphical media library with file browser or similar)
Global hotkeysNo cloud connection
Conversion of the file format possibleNo editing of the audio file possible
Reliability, low consumption of system resources 


Winamp was developed in 1997 as shareware by the Belgian company Radionomy S.A. and can be downloaded free of charge from the website ( free of charge. The programme is compatible with Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 10, as well as MacOS and mobile devices (iOS and Android).

The range of supported file formats is not as large as with the VLC player, but the common formats can be played:

MP1, MP2, MP3, MP4, (Ogg) Vorbis, AAC, MIDI, MOD (as well as many derivatives), MPC (via plug-in), WAV, WMA, WMV (since version 5.12 also with DRM), FLAC[1] as well as NSV files

In addition, the supported formats and the range of functions of the programme can be expanded via plug-ins. In the following overview, the advantages and disadvantages are again briefly compared:

Automatic volume adjustment during playbackNo updates for a long time, possibly a security risk
Includes music library functions, good organisation of files possibleFunctionality less than VLC Player, no special functions for transcription
More beginner-friendly and clearer than VLC PlayerNo audio editing


Audacity is a free audio editor and recorder. The programme was published in 2000 as an open-source project and can be downloaded and used free of charge via the corresponding website.

Audacity is available from Windows XP, for macOS and Linux and can process most common audio formats. These include MPEG and MP3s, MP3, WAV, AIFF, WMA, Ogg Vorbis, Sun Au/NeXT and IRCAM. Audio files with these formats can be played and converted. As already explained in chapter 2.1.5, Audacity can also be used for editing and improving the sound quality. With its many functions, Audacity thus stands out from the other two audio players presented.

Accordingly, there are the following advantages and disadvantages:
Editing of the audio file is possible, this can eliminate possible disturbances and errors during the recording, especially well suited for poor sound qualitySupports fewer file formats than the other two
Audacity Portable as a portable function that can even be run from a USB stick (without installation)Not as extensive editing options as with paid (professional) software
Compared to other audio editing programmes, very clear and short training periodCompared to pure music players (such as VLC player or Winamp), not as easy to use and takes longer to learn.

Audacity is therefore particularly suitable if the audio quality is poor or, for example, there is a lot of interference and noise. In this case, the programme can be used to improve the quality. If you want to do the transcription yourself and do not want to buy a transcription set for it, the VLC Player is the more suitable programme, as it is easy to use with a high range of functions and the setting of global hotkeys is possible. In no case is the use of paid software necessary or recommended.

For recordings of poor quality Audacity is particularly suitable - otherwise it is generally recommended to use the VLC player with its large range of functions

However, it is always important not only to use the right playback programme when transcribing, but also the right equipment. This also includes comfortable Headphones with an appropriate sound quality. These should also be able to be worn over a longer period of time without discomfort.

It is also important to have the right equipment - this includes comfortable headphones with good sound quality

For long transcription projects, it is nevertheless advisable to use a special transcription programme. This makes transcription much faster and the costs are amortised after a certain number of transcriptions. Some selected programmes are presented in the following chapter. Other specialised programmes such as Aegisub are available if you Create subtitles would like.

Transcription programmes

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Transcription programmes transcription programmes make this task much easier because they are specially designed for transcription. Although simple transcriptions can also be created with Word and a corresponding audio file player (see above), this procedure does not make sense for many or long transcripts.

For long transcripts it makes sense to work with a transcription programme - these offer a combination of playback programme and text editor

The special feature of transcription programmes is the combination of audio player and text editor. This results in the following advantages:

  • Automatic jumping back after pressing the pause button
  • Regulation of the playback speed without distortion of the pitch
  • Comment / memo function for each transcript
  • Measure and insert pause lengths
  • Automatic time stamps
  • Speaker marking in wave representation of the audio and in the text
  • Text modules for recurring elements
  • Control via foot switch possible

Transcription programme f4transcript

The f4 software was developed by Dr. Dresing & Pehl GmbH. Two different programmes are offered, one for transcribing (f4transcript) and one for analysing (f4analysis). The latter is presented in chapter 4.3. in the context of qualitative content analysis. The current versions are available for Windows computers from Windows XP and as programmes f5transcript and f5analyse for Macs.

To get an impression of the functions and operation of f4transcript, there is a demo version that limits the playback time to 5 minutes, but otherwise offers the full range of functions. The complete version is available in the form of various licences, including a discount for students or doctoral candidates (the price varies between 25.00 and 129.00 euros).

The programme supports almost all common audio formats, including, among others: MP3, OGG, WMA, WAV, MPG and AVI.

In addition, separate accessories such as a foot pedal are also supported. This is helpful to control the playback of audio files without interrupting the writing process and calling up a separate programme. In addition, f4 is compatible with other programmes such as Audacity, so that previously edited recordings can also be processed.

The following additional functions are offered by f4transcript:
- Variable regulation of the playback tempo. After a pause, the programme automatically jumps back a few seconds.
- Speakers are colour-coded and speaker changes are automatically displayed
- Accurate timing
- Loop function
- Waveform for visualising the volume
- Automatic time marking
- Insert comments
- Text modules for recurring formulations
- Back function to correct errors

All in all, f4transcript offers a sufficient range of functions in combination with a relatively low price. An alternative is the MAXQDA software, which is presented in more detail below.

Transcribing with MAXQDA

The MAXQDA software was developed in 1989 by the company VERBI. Again, there is a free demo version, as well as various licences with a discount for students. A special feature is that the range of functions of the standard version can be increased with extensions. For example, there is "Plus" for vocabulary analyses, "Analytics Pro" for descriptive and inferential statistical analyses or "Reader", which allows reading projects without an editing function. There is also a MAXQDA app for smartphones. In addition, the website offers detailed support and a manual for download.

The programme is used for computer-assisted qualitative content analysis and is often used in the context of scientific studies. In addition to functions specifically geared to the evaluation of data, the programme also offers practical functions for transcription:

  • Control of the playback speed, with free definition of the return interval
  • Automatically generated time stamps
  • Shortcuts for frequent text modules
  • Marking speaker changes
  • Support for foot switches to start and stop playback
  • Recognition of time stamps when importing transcripts (time stamps must have the format hh:mm:ss-ms)

Overall, f4transcript offers more transcription functions than MAXQDA. Since both versions offer a free Demo version we recommend that you test both in advance and get your own impression. Both programmes make transcription much easier.
Especially if it is Variety of interviews the purchase of an entire transcription set can make sense. This contains everything you need for manual transcription at a high level. However, due to the usually high price, the purchase is only recommended for a really large number of interviews.

F4transcript offers altogether more functions than MAXQDA. It worthwhile to test the free free demo versions - Especially with a large number of of interviews, it makes sense to purchase makes sense

Transcription sets

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Grundig Digta 7 Starter Kit

The transcription set is part of the Grundig Digta 7 Starter Kit. (Can be purchased at Amazon for 570.00 euros:

The following components are included:
- DigtaStation 447 Plus
- Foot switch 536
- Headphones Swingphone 568 GBS

Because it is so easy to use, it is particularly suitable for beginners: You can start transcribing directly without extensive training. Further advantages are the LCD display with a very good contrast and an automated progress bar. The supplied station charges the battery. In addition, another battery is included. The footswitch allows you to start and stop recording, as well as fast forward and rewind. It can be connected directly to the station and does not require an external power supply.

In summary, the set offers the following functions:
KeyboardSlide switch
Connection type headphonesJack plug
Connection type microphoneJack plug
Dimension dictation machine (LxWxD)130 x 52 x 22 mm
Weight dictation machine122g
Recording/playback formatsDSS, DSS Pro, WAV, MP3
Supported Flash Memory CardsMMC, SD and SDHC
Total output power200 mW
Resolution150 x 160 Pixel
Recording time300 hrs.
Battery capacity1000 mAh
Battery life25 hrs.
Battery charging time4 hrs.
Battery2 x battery 1.5 V type AAA

Olympus DS 2500 Dictation Machine including AS-2400 Transcription Kit

Price: 298,69€ (available for purchase on Amazon at

This set from the manufacturer Olympus contains the DS 2500 dictation machine and the AS-2400 Transcription Kit, which in turn consists of the DSS Player Software Transcription Module, the RS-28 foot control and the E-102 headset.

Olympus DS 2500 dictation machine
The Olympus DS 2500 is a digital dictation machine that saves the recordings on an SD memory card in "DSS Pro" format included in the package. The recordings can then be transferred to a computer for further processing via a USB connection. The USB cable is included in the scope of delivery, as is the necessary software, two batteries and a leather case for transporting the device.

In addition, the following specifications exist:
KeyboardPush buttons
Connection type headphones 
Connection type microphone3.5 mm mini jack
Dimension dictation machine (LxWxD)113.5 x 5 x 17 mm
Weight dictation machine105g
Recording/playback formatsDSS Pro
Supported Flash Memory Cards 
Total output power235 mW
Recording time303 hrs.
Battery capacity 
Battery life 
Battery charging time 
Battery2 x micro batteries
Bluetooth/ WLANNo
EncryptionDictation encryption
Microphone typeStereo

AS-2400 Transcription Kit
The Transcription Kit supplements the dictation machine with the necessary accessories. These include, above all, the foot switch and the headset, which greatly facilitate the transcription process. The accompanying software can process the audio format of the dictation machine DSS Pro, as well as DSS, WAV, WMA and MP3. In addition, it is possible to manage files in various folders that can be shared with other users. The headset also has integrated noise suppression.

Philips Voice Tracer DVT 2710 dictation machine + SpeechExec Transcription Set 7177

The third alternative also consists of a dictation machine with corresponding accessories, but from the manufacturer Philips.

1st Voice Tracer DVT 2710 dictation machine
This digital dictation machine is equipped with two stereo microphones and even offers voice activation for hands-free use. Thanks to plug and play via USB, the files can be transferred to the computer without any problems. There is even compatibility with Windows, MacOs and Linux. The memory capacity is 8GB and can be expanded by up to 32GB with a microSD card. The set also includes the Dragon Naturally Speaking Recorder Edition software, which can be used to automatically convert audio files into a transcript.


Below is an overview of the details:
KeyboardPush buttons
Connection type headphones 
Connection type microphone 
Dimension dictation machine (LxWxD)113 x 45 x 20 mm
Weight dictation machine79g
Recording/playback formatsMPEG1 Layer 3 (MP3), PCM (WAV)
Supported Flash Memory CardsmicroSD
Total output power110 mW
Resolution128 × 160 Pixel
Recording time2280 hrs. (LP), 284 hrs. (SP), 190 hrs. (HQ), 90 hrs. (SHQ), 12 hrs. (PCM)
Battery capacity 
Battery lifeUp to 50 hours
Battery charging time 
Battery2 x AAA
Bluetooth/ WLANNo
Microphone typeStereo

SpeechExec Transcription Set 7177
The second part of this transcription set is the SpeechExec playback software, which can be used to play back the audio files. In addition, there is a foot control and stereo headphones to facilitate transcription. However, the software only works with Windows XP or higher.

All in all, all three sets offer a good range of functions and useful accessories. For a lower price than if you bought them individually, you get all necessary tools for recording and transcribing your own interviews. The Philips set in particular is highly recommended due to its large scope and high compatibility with all systems.

Transcription sets contain all the necessary tools for recording and transcribing - the Philips particularly comprehensive is the Philips

At this point we would also like to emphasise once again that these are Sets only worthwhile if a large number of interviews are to be transcribed by yourself. For a few interviews, a normal programme for playing back audios as well as a text programme is completely sufficient to complete the work on one's own computer in an acceptable time frame.

The purchase of a transcription set is also only worthwhile if a large number of interviews are to be transcribed.

What is interesting, on the other hand, is the complete automation of the process by special computer programs that offer a Speech recognition offer.

Order your transcription now at! 

What is a transcription set?

A Transcription set usually consists of a set of headphones and a foot pedal that allows you to fast forward and rewind through an audio and video file.

Often a transcription programme is also included.

What is a transcription programme?

A Transcription programme such as f4transcript or MAXQDA speeds up transcription immensely by allowing certain formatting to be done automatically (e.g. time stamps). These programmes also support transcription sets, which can be used, for example, with a foot pedal to fast forward and rewind.

Is f4transcript or MAXQDA better?

According to our test Transcription programmes f4transcript offers more functions than MAXQDA and is also more user-friendly. The advantage of MAXQDA is that it is well suited for a subsequent content analysis of the Transcripts. Both programmes offer a free demo version.

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