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Express Scribe is a free transcription software tool designed to help you transcribe the text of audio recordings in a simple and comfortable way. You can either type in the text or use the program’s built-in speech-to-text recognition engine. Though the tool provides you with manual controls to manage the playback of the recording, Express Scribe is compatible with a number of foot pedals that will allow you to keep your hands at the keyboard at all times.
The interface itself is fairly simple – it simulates an old analog playback device, complete with fast-forward and rewind buttons, together with a blank space for you to type in your dictation. You can toggle on and off to the “Mini” version of the interface – a floating windows that includes the playback controls only – and thus have all your desktop for yourself. The program is equipped with a sophisticated algorithm that allows you to speed up and slow down the playback to adjust it to your typing skills. You can also move from track to track when available in the recording, and add and manage bookmarks to help you continue where you left off or to go back to more complicated sections that need revising. Express Scribe comes with a set of basic yet useful audio enhancing tools, which will allow to boost up the overall volume and to remove excessive background hiss or noise. This will allow you to import audio from external analog devices – via the Dock option – and improve their quality in a snap. One misses the possibility of viewing the audio file as a waveform graph for easier recognition of specific sections, but I wouldn’t consider that a major drawback.
The real beauty of this utility lies not only in its foot pedal support – already a great advantage when compared to some of its competitors – but in the amount of features related to collaborative work. The program allows you to set a “hot folder” where you and your colleagues can drop their audio and text files for transcription or revision. Likewise, you are provided with tools to dispatch and export your work as well as to import work from others in the most straightforward and easy way. All the most common audio file formats used in transcription tasks are supported, such as MP3, WAV, WMA, or DCT.
Though, as seen, the free version of this program is comprehensive enough to allow you to complete your audio transcriptions in a comfortable and efficient fashion, you can always upgrade to its Pro edition, which includes support for Non-AltoEdge foot pedals, a number of proprietary audio formats from prestigious brands (Sony, Grundig, Philips, Olympus, etc.), video playback, and the possibility of using this tool for commercial purposes. Regardless of the option you choose, Express Scribe will let you perform excellent transcription tasks in the most professional way.
- Support for foot pedals
- Supports all common audio formats
- Dictation dispatch and forwarding
- Allows for collaborative work
- Basic audio enhancing tools
- Bookmarks manager
- No waveform view of the audio file