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Express Scribe: Good, Fast Transcription Software

Click here to download Express Scribe, the best transcribing software I have found.

Good, fast transcription requires good software, and Express Scribe is it. First of all, NCH Swift Sound offers this product for free, in the hope that you'll then buy or recommend their dictation-related software. For free transcription software, Express Scribe is heavy duty.

The Windows version of the program supports about 20 different file types, including the dct encrypted dictation format; Mac users are currently limited to wav, mp3, aiff, and dct. You can load audio from many portable handheld recorders, and you can even record audio from analog minicassettes, provided you have a cable that will transfer the audio from the recorder to your computer via your sound card's line-in input. It also works with some speech-recognition software, such as Dragon Naturally Speaking. The actual transcription can be done directly in Express Scribe's internal typing window, or you can simply use your favorite text editor. When you're finished, the program allows you to transfer the file directly via e-mail, LAN, or FTP.

Review written by Amanda,
EditFast editor and writer.

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For me, however, the best thing about this software—besides that it's free—is the audio control it offers. The software works with many professional transcription pedals, but for those like me, without a pedal, Express Scribe offers you customizable keyboard shortcuts, too, so you can, for example, stop or rewind the audio with a couple keystrokes. And here's the kicker: since these hot keys that you assign to commands are system-wide, you can control the audio while you're typing within an external editor, like Word—no window-switching or mouse-clicking required! I love that.

But wait, there's more! There are several customizable playback features that aid transcriptionists. For example, you can set the auto-backstep time, so whenever you stop the audio, it automatically rewinds a fraction of a second—or however many seconds you want it to. You can also set the fast-forward and rewind time steps. Express Scribe allows variable-speed playback with little to no tonal variation—so if you need to listen to a section very slowly, the audio won't sound like Darth Vader stuck in a tar pit; vice versa, if you're really quick and want to speed it up, you won't be listening to Chip 'n' Dale.

And did I mention that it's free?

Click here to download Express Scribe.

Review written by Amanda,
EditFast editor and writer.

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