Guest post by Transcript Divas Transcription Services
NCH Software is at the heart of our business process at Transcript Divas Transcription Services. We use three of their programs to edit, convert and transcribe audio and video dictation files.
NCH Software is key in solving two problems we often have to deal with, even before our typists get to work. Obscure recording formats can be problematic–although Express Scribe handles most common formats, clients do send us files that are difficult to handle, especially large video files. So to save time at the typist's end, we batch-convert these problem files to the smaller and more compatible MP3 audio file format using NCH's Switch File Converter.
The second key difficulty we often encounter is how to deal with poor-quality recordings. A surprisingly large number of interviews take place in noisy cafes, with hissing coffee machines and clunking cups almost drowning out the speech. We also receive poorly-recorded group sessions, where the participants farthest from the microphone are practically inaudible, while the closest voices are deafening. In these situations Transcript Divas employ WavePad sound editor to process recordings before they go out to typists. Functions we find particularly useful are 'normalize,' 'amplify volume,' and 'remove noise or hiss.'
Almost all of our 30 Divas use NCH Software's Express Scribe, which is free–though there's also a paid version, Express Scribe Pro, which has more functionality. Express Scribe's user-friendliness makes it the preferred choice when compared with other transcription software packages, and this is something it shares with all of NCH's programs. As one Diva put it, "I especially like the fact that you don't need to be a technical whiz-kid to use it!" Key features that Divas mention are its ability to handle most common file types, the essential functions of speed adjustment, rewind and fast-forward, and the 'volume boost' for quiet files–which saves typists having to go into WavePad for a small poorly-recorded Express Scribe Pro also plays video files–an ability our 'Video Divas' put to good use. To maximize typing speed, many of our typists also use a foot-pedal.
Another key feature our typists have highlighted is Express Scribe's ability to insert time-coding. This is seen as a real gem by the typists, and can save countless hours of inserting them by hand! For the uninitiated, go to Options → Display–this allows you to set the required combination of hours, minutes and seconds. Once you have chosen, simply go to 'Notes,' 'Insert' and 'Time' each time you need to put in a time code, or press Ctrl+Shift+T to save even more time.
Transcript Divas Transcription Services is a transcription agency with offices in London, New York, Toronto and Sydney.