Transcriber User Manual (Transcriber 1.5.2)

Here is presented the user manual of Transcriber which describes all the available functionnalities.
All the sreenshots have been made using the new theme of Transcriber called "modern".

1 Startup

2 Windows

3 Transcription file

4 Signal file

5. Signal management

6 Edition

7 Episode

8 Segmentation

9. Speech turns and speakers

10 Sections and topics

11 Background noise

12 Tags: events, comments and named entities

13 Keyboard shortcuts for currently used expression (text, tag)

14 Options and interface configuration

15 Other features

1 Startup

1.1 Working environment

The software is meant to allow the transcription of long duration audio signals with standard hardware. For instance, several one hour long recordings (sampled at 16 kHz on 16 bits, mono) were already successfully transcribed with a PC/Pentium 200MHz under Linux, Windows or Mac OS. Using headphones is strongly recommended for a quality transcription, but loudspeakers may be useful for checking with other people.

1.2 Starting the tool

Standard input mode

When Transcriber and all the require packages (Snack, tcLex, treectrl) are correctly installed (see installation page), it can be started with the command:

See the commnand line documentation page for details about command line options.

Depending on the configuration, Transcriber can be started by clicking a given menu or icon. A dialog box then proposes to select a sound file to create a new transcription associated with this signal or a transcription file to display or modify it:

A short example of signal with an associated transcription are available in the "demo" directory, distributed with the software.

When the working configuration has been saved during a previous session, the current signal and transcription files are automatically opened if they are still available on the disk.

It is also possible to start the tool and give it the signal and/or transcription file as arguments on the command line. If both files are in the same directory, have the same name (except for the extension) and if the signal file has a standard extension (like .wav or .snd), the name of the signal file can be omitted, as it will be automatically opened.
For example, to open the file frint980428.trs located in the demod directory, just make:

Here is the result of the previous command:

Arabic input mode

1.3 Initial configuration

After having launch the tool for the first time, it is recommended to configure some options and to save it:

    1. General options:

      Open the [Options]/[General...] menu:

      and fill in:

        • the scribe's name, which will become the default name saved in each new transcription;
        • the language of the software interface (currently English, French and Czech);
        • if necessary, the name of the file used to record the informations on production monitoring. By default the field is empty, so this function is disabled (cf. chapter on productivity monitoring);

    2. Specific options:

      For more signal specific options, open the menu [Options]/[Audio file...]:

      and fill in:

        • the format of headerless files;
        • the computing mode and storage directory for the signal shape.

    3. Saving configuration:

      Please see Save the options section.

2. Windows

Here are presented all the windows of the Transcriber interface. All of them are totally configurable: look, font, position... (see Options and interface configuration chapter).

2.1 Menu bar

The menu bar give access to all the functions of Transcriber.

You can have access to the the principal entries of this menu using the shortcut keyboard: Alt + underlined letters of entry menu.
For example "Alt + f" open the menu "File".

2.2 Transcription

2.3 Button bar

In the middle the central button bar, which display is switched on/off with [Options]/[Interface display]/[Command buttons]:


2.4 Signal and segmentation

The lower half window of the interface contains both signal and segmentation:

    1. Signal:

      The signal view:


        • The current cursor position in the signal, shown with a vertical red bar;
        • On the upper left side, a small horizontal scrollbar for zoom control of the signal;
        • On the right of the zoom scorllbar, a big horizontal scrollbar for choosing the part of the signal to display;
        • On the upper right side, a small horizontal scrollbar for resolution control of the signal.

      and have the following properties:

        • Both cursors (in the text editor and in the signal) are always synchronized so that the current segment in the text is the same as the current segment under the signal;
        • As soon as one cursor enter another segment, the other one is automatically moved in order to appear in the same segment;
        • Mouse controls on the signal are the following:

          • click button 1: set cursor to the given position;
          • click-move button 1: select part of the signal;
          • click button 2 (or shift-click button 1): extend the selection;
          • click button 3: display a contextual menu;
        • Two view of the signal in different resolution can be displayed:

          Menu [Options]/[Interface display]/[Second signal view] or its shortcut F6 shows or hide a second view of the signal, which can be displayed at another resolution. Resizing the window can be necessary for a correct display:

    2. Segmentation:

      Under the signal, the segmentations:

      can contains:

        • A background conditions line;
        • A section line;
        • A speech turn line;
        • A transcription line;

      and have the following properties:

        • All the segmentation lines are synchronized with the signal;
        • The current segment in the orthographic transcription is highlighted;
        • Random colorization of the turn segmentation layer is possible, so that a color is automatically attributed to all occurences of the same speaker in the document (check button "Colorize speaker segments" available through the checkbox menu [Options]/[Colors...]), see Colors edition section;
        • Mouse controls on the segmentation lines are:
          • click button 1: select the signal on the extent of the segment;
          • click-move button 1: select the signal over several segments;
          • shift-click button 1: extend the selection;
          • click-move button 2 near the boundary (or control-click-move button 1): move the boundary between 2 segments;
          • click button 3: display a contextual menu.

2.5 Explorer

A file explorer gives direct access to your file system:

That explorer can be showed and hidden by using the function key F2.

2.6 Named entities toolbox

A toolbox enabling named entity annotation.

That toolbox can be showed and hidden by using the function key F3.

The annotation is done by simply selecting the text to annotate and clicking on the named entity type button desired.

3. Transcription file

3.1 Create a new transcription

Choose menu [File]/[New trans]. A dialog window ask for the sound file to be transcribed (this can be changed later), then an empty transcription appears:

3.2 Read a transcription

With menu [File]/[Open trans...], you can read transcription files produced by Transcriber, and transcription or segmentation files in some standard formats identified by the following filename suffix:

The signal file associated with the transcription is then searched for; if it is not automatically found, the user is asked to look for it.

3.3 Save the transcription

The transcription can be saved with menu [File]/[Save]. By default, the transcription is saved in TRS format. But, it can be saved in another name with [File]/[Save as...].

3.4 Export to another format

The transcription can be written into non-native transcription formats with the menu [File]/[Export]:

But these formats are not as complete as the native one, and information can be lost in the process. However .html format makes printing the transcription possible using any browser.

Note: more details about each export formats can be found in the "Convert" directory of Transcriber.

3.5 Revert to previous version

Command [File]/[Revert] will undo all changes in memory and load lastly saved version on disk.

3.6 Automatic backup

An automatic backup is performed within a fixed time after a modification (if the transcription has not been saved in between). It is saved in the same directory as the transcription with the same name surrounded with # character, for example:

This file will be removed the next time the transcription is saved.
Time interval is given within window [Options]/[General...]:


3.7 Backup file

When a previously existing transcription is read on the disk, then modified and saved, the existing version is kept in a file with the same name as the transcription followed by a string given by the user in the window [Options]/[General...]:

In this previous example, the tild character "~" is used for backup extension so the backup file will be named:

Note: if the field is empty, the previous file is not kept.

3.8 File encoding

Since Transcriber 1.4.1 under Tcl/Tk 8.1.1 or higher, the encoding for file output can be chosen in [Options]/[General...]:

It defaults to ISO-8859-1 (Latin1) but can be changed to other widespread 8 bits encodings (ISO-8859-*, EUC-JP...) but also to Unicode (saved as UTF-8, which is backward compatible with 7 bits US-ASCII). If Latin1 does not work and you are not sure what to use, try UTF-8 as it supersedes the other ones.
Upon reading, the encoding used is the one defined in the file header. For transcriptions missing this information (like the ones produced with earlier versions of Transcriber or Tcl/Tk), or when the encoding is not ASCII-compatible, the current encoding is used.

3.9 Read an alignment between a reference and a hypothesis files

Transcriber can take as input a .sgml file generated by the NIST Speech Recognition Scoring Toolkit sclite. Basically, this file contains the result of the alignment between a reference ".stm" transcription and an hypothesized ".ctm" automatic word transcription.
When such a file is open in Transcriber, both levels (reference .stm and hypothesized .ctm) are shown under the signal. Matching segments are in white, substitution in grey, segments with lot of omissions or insersions in red. (this may be changed in the convert/sclite.tcl file):

The reference .stm transcription is broken where errors start or stop, hypothesized .ctm remains time aligned at word level. Whenever a .trs transcription with the same basename as the file is found, it is open in the text editor (it may be the reference transcription from which the .stm was generated). Else the .stm is displayed (it should be in the same directory as the .sgml alignment).
It is important to remember that the .stm is only time aligned at segment boundaries, and that word alignment between .stm and .ctm performed by sclite within these segment boundaries with dynamic programmation may result in a wrong temporal position for some words of the reference. Also, omitted segments from the reference absolutely lack of any time boundary, so they are inserted between previous and next segment with an arbitrary duration (% of both neighbours).

3.10 Open a label file

Menu [File]/[Open segmentation file] or command line option "-lbl filename" open a label file that is displayed under the signal. The label file information may span several segmentation layers.

3.11 Read XML files with a given DTD

Transcription files may use a different format than the original one provided with the package, provided that they point to a DTD located in the same directory, that they have the same root element and that they are in a superset of the existing format. Unknown XML tag will be only displayed in gray, but may not be edited. Any XML file whith root tag is now supposed a valid .trs file, regardless of its actual extension (it used to be limited to .trs and .xml).

4 Signal file

4.1 Open a signal file

The signal file is chosen after creation of a new transcription or by changing the signal linked to the transcription with menu [File]/[Open audio file...]:

4.2 Sound file format

Most standard audio files are automatically recognized thanks to Snack library: WAV, AU, AIFF, MP3, SD, SMP, and Nist/Sphere if the format has been installed with Snack (see Snack home page). Access to MP3 format can be slow due to the compression. Headerless sound files format (8 or 16 bits sample length, byte order...) is automatically guessed, except for sample frequency and channel count which are given by the user in the window [Options]/[Audio file...]:

4.3 Signal shape

In order to speed up signal display at lower resolutions (display of intervals over than 30 seconds), a low-resolution shape of the whole signal is computed if the signal is longer than 30 seconds.

Shape computation is performed in background the first time a signal is displayed, and is stored in a specific directory for subsequent uses. Current computation can be stopped by clicking the Abort button on the popup that appeared during computation:

The shape computation function, its background mode and the directory for storing shape files (.shp) can be configure in [Options]/[Audio file...]:

Note: it can be a good idea to use a directory shared by all Transcriber's users but it must then be writable to all users in order to allow creation of new shapes.

4.4 Open a remote file

The client-server architecture for sound display and playback can be enabled by configuring the script tcl/SoundServer.tcl and launching it on the host. User choice of remote server and port is done within [Options]/[Audio file...]:

4.5 Syncronized audio files

The multiwav extension allows several synchronized audio files to be associated with a single transcription. This function doesn't allow to display several audio files at the same time but only allows you to easily switch between the several files:

New audio files can be added using the contextual menu on the waveform (right-click) [Audio file]/[Add audio file...] or by the main menu [File]/[Synchronized audio file]/[Add audio file...]. A list of audio files can also be given on the command line when launching the tool.

5 Signal management

During transcription, one has to listen several times to short portions of signal. Tape-recorder-like commands are available in the command button bar (see button bar section) as long as in the menu [Signal]:

but keyboard shortcuts will probably more practical for most intensive use.

5.1 Position the cursor

One can place the cursor in the signal with a mouse click on the wished position.
A precise value can be given with menu [Signal]/[Go to...]/[Position] or by clicking on the information line in the right bottom corner (under the signal and segmentations):

then a popup for giving the position to go to appear:

Note: the current cursor position is also saved when saving the configuration.

5.2 Select part of the signal

Part of signal can be selected by click-move-release of the left mouse button, and it can be extended with central button (or shift-click of the left button). Cursor position and selection boundary times are given under the signal:

In the menu [Options]/[Audio file...] you can configure the Automatic selection playback option:

if selected, the segment playback starts as soon as mouse button is released.

5.3 Signal playback

To start or stop a playback at cursor position, you can either use:

Note: if a selection is active, only this part will be played.

The menu [Signal]/[Playback mode]:

allows a choice between the following playback modes: continuous play (default mode), playback with pauses at segment boundaries, with a beep at boundaries, with a pause just before the next boudary, with a pause at the next boundary, or loop on the current selection if active, otherwise on the current segment after a pause. The duration of the pause and the selection of an audio file for the beep are customizable in the window [Options]/[Audio file...]:

the parameter Go back before playing allows to rewind before each new playback:

When Snack version 2.0 or higher is installed with Transcriber, it is possible to play only the left or right channel from a stereo file using the new menu [Signal]/[Stereo channel]:

Note: it has no effects for mono sound files or when previous Snack version 1.7 is used.

5.4 Segment playback

Command [Signal]/[Play segment] or its shortcuts Shift-Tab launches playback of the current segment from its beginning up to its end, then moves the cursor at the beginning of the segment.

5.5 Fast forward

Fast forward and backward buttons (menu [Signal]/[Go to...]/[Forward] or [Backward]) make the signal cursor move half a second forward or backward. If mouse button is kept down on the command button, move becomes continuous with 0.5 second step. This does even work during playback - but sound becomes choppy.

5.6 Go to next segment

Next and previous buttons (menu [Signal]/[Go to...]/[Previous] or [Next]) move cursor to the beginning of next or previous segment in the orthographic segmentation (even during playback which jumps to its new position).

5.7 Change the sound level

Sound level is given (from 0 to100) in the window [Signal]/[Control panel]:

5.8 Vertical zoom

For signal with low dynamic, a cursor in [Signal]/[Control panel] (see Change the sound level section screenshot) changes vertical amplitude on the signal. Volume is not modified.

Note: the current vertical zoom is also saved when saving the configuration.

5.9 Save a part of the audio file

For saving a part of the audio file, you can use either:

In both cases, this leads to two saving mode:

    1. [selected...] for saving the current selection:

      Note: the default name contains the file basename, the start and end times of the selection in seconds and the extension .wav (default format)

    2. [automatic...] for an automatic saving mode:

      This is usefull when the signal is already segmented and if you want to save each part of the signal corresponding to the desired segmentation(s) (Section, Turn or Sync). This will automatically select all the chosen segments from start to the end and save it in the desired directory:

      the name of each saved files is the concatenation of each following informations separated with an underscore "_" (this format is hard coded):

        • the basename of the transcription file;
        • the type of the segment (Section, Turn or Sync);
        • the indice of the segment in the transcription;
        • the title of the section if the segment type is section or the name of the speakers if the segment type is Turn or Sync;
        • the start time of the segment in seconds;
        • the end time of the segemnt in seconds.

      Each file is saved in the wave format and have the extension .wav

      Note: the automatic save may take a long time depending on your computer and of the signal length. However, when all is well done, a popup appear and give the number of segment selected.


      When saving all types of segment of the demo file frint980428.trs, the following message appear:

      and the list of each generated segment is:

        • frint980428_Section001_filler_0.00-10.79.wav
        • frint980428_Section002_report_les_titres_10.79-20.00.wav
        • frint980428_Sync001_Simon_Tivolle_Patricia_Martin_0.00-0.39.wav
        • frint980428_Sync002_Simon_Tivolle_0.39-3.01.wav
        • frint980428_Sync003_Simon_Tivolle_3.01-4.74.wav
        • frint980428_Sync004_no_speaker_4.74-9.61.wav
        • frint980428_Sync005_Patricia_Martin_9.61-10.79.wav
        • frint980428_Sync006_Simon_Tivolle_10.79-11.81.wav
        • frint980428_Sync007_no_speaker_11.81-12.24.wav
        • frint980428_Sync008_Simon_Tivolle_12.24-13.64.wav
        • frint980428_Sync009_Simon_Tivolle_13.64-16.27.wav
        • frint980428_Sync010_Simon_Tivolle_16.27-18.52.wav
        • frint980428_Sync011_Simon_Tivolle_18.52-20.00.wav
        • frint980428_Turn001_Simon_Tivolle_Patricia_Martin_0.00-0.39.wav
        • frint980428_Turn002_Simon_Tivolle_0.39-4.74.wav
        • frint980428_Turn003_no_speaker_4.74-9.61.wav
        • frint980428_Turn004_Patricia_Martin_9.61-10.79.wav
        • frint980428_Turn005_Simon_Tivolle_10.79-11.81.wav
        • frint980428_Turn006_no_speaker_11.81-12.24.wav
        • frint980428_Turn007_Simon_Tivolle_12.24-20.00.wav

6 Edition

6.1 Cut/Copy/Paste

Standard editing commands (menu [Edit]/[Copy], [Cut] or [Paste] and standard shortcuts Control-x/c/v) can be used to handle parts of the transcription, including events but not section, turn or background buttons.

6.2 Undo

Undo command (menu [Edit]/[Undo] or standard shortcut Control-z) is limited, and only restores orthographic transcription of the current segment to its previous state. A lot of actions are not undoable. Save often.

6.3 Find/Replace

Command [Edit]/[Find/Replace] (shortcut Control-f) has various options: case sensitive, backward search, use regular expressions. A replacement string can be given:

6.4 Glossary

Command [Edit]/[Glossary] or its shortcut Control-k has two modes:

Here are some properties:

6.5 Automatic space handling

Automatic space handling is controlled within [Options]/[General...]:

If it is active, a space is added at the end of line upon creation of a new breakpoint and before punctuation symbols .,; or :.

6.6 Spell checking

Spell checking is started by the command [Edit]/[Spell checking]. It relies on the installation of the aspell software (works on Unix systems and Windows). The dictionary used for the correction is automatically deduced from the language selected in the global options . An error message indicates if the dictionary was not found or if the name does not match; it is then necessary to check your local installation of Aspell to determine the correct name of the dictionary.

When an unknown word is found, a dialog box proposes to:

An option of the menu [Options]/[General] allows to control the spell checking on words starting with a capital letter:

The default behavior is to ignore them.

Note: the spelling check start from the current cursor position to the end of the transcription. So if you want to check the entire file, you have to move the cusrsor at the beginning of the transcription.

6.7 Accented characters and internationalization

The character input method is not selected in Transcriber but is system-dependent. Thus, with an appropriate keyboard, some characters can be input directly. Unix system allows you to remap some keyboard keys (like for instance function keys) with software tools like 'xmodmap' for X11. However it is also possible to input accentuated characters from keys combinations by defining shortcuts in Transcriber.

The default encoding of transcription files is ISO-8859-1 (Latin1), but other encodings are available if Transcriber is run with a version of Tcl/Tk at least 8.1.1.

7 Episode

7.1 Edit global parameters

Some global informations about transcription can be given in [File]/[Edit episode attributes...]:

8 Segmentation

8.1 Insert a breakpoint

Command [Segmentation]/[Insert breakpoint] or its shortcut Return create a new breakpoint at current cursor position in the text and in the signal. Boundary positions are rounded to the nearest milli-second, so any new breakpoint must be at least 1 ms away from existing ones. A new line appears in the transcription, and segment is sliced at cursor position. This can be done during playback.


Note: a break can be forced inside a segment with Shift + Return. This will split the line without inserting a new boundary.

8.2 Suppress a breakpoint

Command [Segmentation]/[Delete breakpoint] or its shortcut Ctrl-Backspace suppress the breakpoint at the beginning of current segment and fold its content with previous segment. If the breakpoint was also the beginning of a new turn or a new section, they are also removed.

8.3 Move the boundary between two segments

By clicking with central mouse button (or with Control + left button ) over a boundary between two segments and moving the mouse, you can move the boundary and the one which are synchronized in other segmentations.

8.4 Define and move floating boundaries

When clicking with right mouse button over the circle at the beginning of a segment in the text editor, the following contextual menu appears:

The floating boudaries are viewed in the text editor as empty circles (standard boundaries being displayed as full bullets) and it is possible to toggle the state of each boundary or of the whole set of boundaries by right-clicking (or control-left-clicking) on the bullet (except the first one):

When a boundary is moved, the neighbouring floating ones move while keeping a proportionality up to the next "hard" boundary. A floating boundary becomes automatically fixed after being moved. The floating state is marked in the .trs format with a space before the time value (this behaviour is meant for backward compatibility of .trs files with prior versions of Transcriber and should evolve in the future). Floating boundaries are intended for later support of import and edition of non-temporized manual transcriptions or dialogs.

8.5 Select the signal over one or several segments

With a click of the left mouse button over a segment under the signal, the signal is selected over the extent of the segment, and signal cursor moves at the beginning of the segment. The selection can be extended by moving the mouse before releasing the left button or with Shift + click of left button.

8.6 Hide/Show a segmentation

On right clicking the signal, a contextual menu appears and gives commands for showing or hiding each segmentation:

9 Speech turns and speakers

9.1 Create, suppress and edit a turn or a speaker

A speech turn is described by it(s) speaker(s) and other optional parameters that can be defined in the 4 part of this dialog window:

9.2 Overlapping speech

During creation or modification of turn parameters, overlapping speech can be activated. Second speaker can be chosen the same way as the first one:

In the text editor, each segment contains 2 lines beginning with 1 or 2:

Orthographic segmentation under the signal is split horizontally for each speaker:

Return to non-overlapping speech is done by deactivating the overlapping speech field in turn parameters; only first speaker is kept and transcriptions of both are merged in one single text.

9.3 Find one speaker's turns

Command [Edit]/[Speakers]/[Find speaker] displays the list of speakers in the transcription. Clicking on a name show (under the list) the number of references of the selected speaker in the transcription:

Find next button moves to the next reference in the transcription of the selected speech turn.

9.4 Import speakers from another file

Command [Edit]/[Speakers]/[Import from file...] first asks for a transcription file from which import desired speakers:

then displays the list of speakers within this file which doesn't yet exist in the current transcription. User can select/unselect speaker(s) by clicking on the name(s), or select one speakers which Global name field is on (see Create, suppress and edit a turn or a speaker section for a brief attribute definition):

If the option Automatic import from selected file is selected and saved in the configuration:

then each time you open Transcriber, the popup that asks for a transcription file from which import topics appears.

9.5 Suppress unused speakers

Command [Edit]/[Speakers]/[Remove unused speakers] suppress any speakers which doesn't appear in any speech turn.

10 Sections and topics

10.1 Create, suppress or edit a section

A section is described by parameters that can be defined in the 3 parts of this dialog window:

IMPORTANT: A section always start with a speech turn, that's why if no speech turn exist for the current segment (where you want to create the section), the "Edit turn attributes" dialog window appears automatically and ask you to select or create a speech turn; the current speaker is proposed as default value.

10.2 Find sections about a topic

Command [Edit]/[Topics]/[Find topic] displays the list of already defined topics in the transcription. Clicking on a topic name show (under the list) the number of references of the selected topic in the transcription:

Find next button moves to the next reference in the transcription of the selected section.

10.3 Import topics from another file

Command [Edit]/[Topics]/[Import from file...] first asks for a transcription file from which import desired topics:

then displays the list of topics within this file which doesn't yet exist in the current transcription. User can select/unselect topic(s) by clicking on the name(s).

If the option Automatic import from selected file is selected and saved in the configuration:

then each time you open Transcriber, the popup that asks for a transcription file from which import topics appears.

10.4 Suppress unused topics

Command [Edit]/[Topics]/[Remove unused topics] suppress unused topics from the list.

11 Background noise

The segmentation in acoustic conditions is for showing lasting modifications in background noises. The marks are for a change in background state; their value replace the previous one. Each transcriptions begins with an empty background condition at t=0.

11.1 Create a background mark

Command [Segmentation]/[Insert background] creates a background mark at current cursor position in the signal and in the text editor:


11.2 Indicate the change or the end of a background noise

Create at the position of the end of noise a new background mark with all noise types empty. For a noise change, don't mark the end of the previous noise, but only the new one which replaces the previous one.

11.3 Edit or suppress a background noise mark

Background noise marks can be edited or suppressed by clicking on the music icon in the editor. If it is deleted, current background conditions become the ones defined in the previous background mark.

12 Tags: events, comments and named entities

Tags allow you to add more information to the text transcription. They are divided in 3 categories: events, comment and named entities.

12.1 Insert an event or a comment

Comments and events can be inserted using the same window. Command [Edit]/[Insert event] or Control-d pops up this window for defining:

12.2 Insert a named entity

    1. Manual mode:

      First, you must select a part of the text to be tagged:

      then select the named entity type using one the 2 following methods:

      • First method:

        The recommanded way (easier and faster) is to use the specific panel (F3 for hiding or showing it) which give you a direct access to all the available entity types, by only clicking on the corresponding button:

      • Second method:

        Another way is to use command [Edit]/[Insert Named Entity] or its shortcut Control-e to pop up the window:

        and to choose the desired entity in the predefined given list

        Note: the list of named entities is hard coded in the "default.txt" configuration file. This can be changed by any experimented user.

    2. Automatic mode:

      If you want to tag each occurences of a named entity at the same time, use the bottom part of the specific panel described in the manual insertion mode:

      a) First select the mode Add for insertion;

      b) Then insert the text of the named entity to be automatically tagged;

      c) Finaly click on the desired named entity type button.

      Note: this will tag every occurences of the given string with the selected description. This string is supposed to be made with one or more entire words so that if the same string is found in the text but is not made with entire words (i.e. a part of a word or expression) it will not be tagged. For example, if you want to tag the simple word "to", the "to" contained in "bottom" will not be tagged.

12.3 Edit or suppress an event or a comment

Click on the desired event or comment in the text editor and edit or destroy it. This can also be deleted in the text editor like a single character.

Note: destroying or modifying a tag that applies to a selection will destroy or modify both begin and end tag simulteanously

12.4 Edit or suppress a named entity

    1. Manual mode:

      This is exactly like for comment or event (see Edit or suppress an event or a comment section)

    2. Automatic mode:

      If you want to untag each occurences of a named entity at the same time, use the bottom part of the specific panel described in the manual insertion mode:

      a) First select the mode Suppress for suppression;

      b) Then insert the text of the named entity to be automatically untagged;

      c) Finaly click on the desired named entity type button.

      Note: this will untag every occurences of the given string previously tagged with the selected type (if the same string is tagged with another type it will not be untagged).

12.5 Copy/Paste a tag (event, comment or named entity)

Within Transcriber, event, comment and named entity tags can be copied/pasted. When pasted in other applications, it will appear as XML tags (this can lead to unexpected result).

12.6 Create a keyboard shortcut for a tag

See Shortcut for a currently used expression (text, tag) section

12.7 Change the tag lists (events or named entities)

The lists of tags (noise list, pronunciation marks, lexical marks, language and named entities list) are now hard coded and predefined in the default configuration file (default.txt) and can no more be edited through the option menu in order to avoid the multiplication of different tags in all the transcriptions. The lists have been created according to the most frequently used and usefull tags, but if you realy need to modify it, the only way is to manualy edit the configuration file. It is recommended to let only experimented user do that.

12.8 Configure display

See Configure tags display section

13 Keyboard shortcuts for currently used expression (text, tag)

Shortcuts are very usefull for inserting long string of characters (text, tags...) in the text editor just by using a simple combination of key. Once you have created the expression (simple text or tag) in the text editor, select it with the mouse. Selection can be any combination of regular text and one or several events, for example:



then choose menu [Options]/[Bindings...] that pops-up a window for edition, suppression or creation of bindings:

then give wished Keystrokes; when the cursor is in the Keystrokes field, keyboard combination can be directly typed with Control, Shift, Alt... (in this example "jfk"):

and finaly click OK (end of edition) or Modify (before other editions).

Shortcuts can also consist in the first letters of an expression.

For example, in the previous screenshot, the last item of the shortcut list has been created by typing in the first field the 3 characters "jfk" (which are automaticaly converted in "<Option-j><Option-f><Option-k>") and in the second field the replacement string "John Fitzgerald Kennedy". Thus, when the combination "jfk" will be type in the text editor, it will be automatically replaced by "John Fitzgerald Kennedy".


    • Important: these shortcuts are not related to the glossary;
    • Be careful, you can override predefined menu shortcuts;
    • You can directly (i.e. without previously making a selection in the text editor) create a new shortcut using menu [Options]/[Bindings...]. The only difference is that in this case, you have to manually fill in the "replacement string" field.

14 Options and interface configuration

14.1 Transcriber's name

Default transcriber's name is given in [Options]/[General...]:

It is used in episode parameters initialization when creating a new transcription.

14.2 Productivity monitoring

A filename for transcriber's productivity monitoring can be given in [Options]/[General...]:

By default, the field is empty and the function is disabled. When it is active, work duration is traced (without pauses), as long as produced work (number of new sections, turns, words...); it is displayed in window [File]/[Informations] and saved in the logging file at the end of the session. No automatic exploitation of these file is currently performed by the software.

14.3 Colors edition

Most colors used in Transcriber can be modified with menus [Options]/[Colors...]:

Note: the "named entities" tags are special tags so, each type of named entity color can be configure separately from the other events.

14.4 Fonts edition

Most fonts used in Transcriber can be modified with menu [Options]/[Fonts]:

After having selected the type of font (text, section...), a popup appears for editing it:

Fonts used for text display are modified with menu [Options]/[Fonts].

14.5 Localization of the interface

Language for the interface is chosen in [Options]/[General...]:

    • Default language is English but French and Czech are available;
    • When no localization is available, the original English message is kept;
    • You can edit the localization file (option not available for English langage):

      If you don't use the default English langage, as soon as non-localized messages are displayed, they are added to the list of messages to be localized. Then you have two case:

      • You are using an available langage:

        In this case the localization file exists and you only have to click on the "edit translation" button", to add the needed translation and to click "OK":

      • You are using a new language:

        First you have to give a Localization file name in [Options]/[General...] and to choose [Options]/[Save configuration] for saving the configuration. Now, this new langage is available and you can edit the localization file as described in the previous case.

14.6 Display configuration of Transcriber

    1. Show or hide or part of the interface:

      Transcriber's interface is divided in several parts. Each of them can be show or hide using the menu [Options]/[Interface display] or by directly using the associated function key F2 to F7 (easier and faster):

      • F2 (Explorer): hide or show the file explorer;
      • F3 (Named entities toolbox): hide or show the tool box for named entities annotations;
      • F4 (Smart segmentation display): hide or show empty segmentation lines ;
      • F5 (First signal view): hide or show the first signal view;
      • F6 (Second signal view): hide or show the second signal view;
      • F7 (Tags): hide or show annotation tags;

    2. Change the canvas:

      The first item "Switch display type" of the [Options]/[Interface display] allow you to manage the relative position of each part of the interface by selecting the desired configuration between the 3 predefined canvas (don't forget to save your configuration before leaving transcriber, see Save the options section):

      Note: Depending on your system (Linux, Windows, Mac...) and on your configuration (all require tcl packages installed), some of the following item's canvas may not be viewable (in particular the "video" and the "database explorer")

      • Canvas 1:
        Database explorer Text editorVideo
        Media navigator Named entities toolbox

      • Canvas 2:
        Database explorer Video Named entities toolbox
        Text editor
        Media navigator

      • Canvas 3:
        Database explorer Video Named entities toolbox
        Text editor
        Media navigator

14.7 Configure tags display

Format string for tags (events, comments and named entities) and for tags extent are chosen in window [Options]/[Tags]/[Display...]:

14.8 Save the options

Modified options (general, audio file...), window positions, keyboard shortcuts, glossary content and currently edited filenames should be saved either with:

    • the menu [Options]/[Save configuration] for saving in the default configuration file (for example $HOME/.transcriber under Linux).
    • the menu [Options]/[Save configuration as...] for saving the configuration in a specified file using the popup:

If the option Ask user to save configuration before leaving in the [Options]/[General...] menu is selected, a popup will ask the user to save or not its configuration:

At beginning of next session, the default configuration file will be used and currently edited files will be automatically reopen.

Note: if you want to use another configuration file than the default one, see Load a configuration file section.

14.9 Load a configuration file

At startup the default configuration file is used but if you want to use another one (usefull when several people use the same computer) you just have use the menu [Options]/[Load configuration file ...] for loading the desired configuration file:

15 Other features

15.1 Informations about the signal and the transcription

Button or command [File]/[Informations] displays a window with informations about signal filename, duration, word count, etc. Click update button for an update of the informations.

15.2 Quit Transcriber

Menu [File]/[Quit] or its shortcut Control-q allow you to quit Transcriber.


    • If the transcription has been modified since last save, a popup message will invit you to save the transcription before leaving:

    • If corresponding option is activated:

      then save of the configuration is also proposed:

15.3 Help

Online help is available with menu [Help] ; help files can also be viewed with any HTML browser with frames

You can define the default brower to use in the menu [Options]/[General...]: