oTranscribe: A simple web tool for transcribing recorded interviews


I know, on the face of it, it doesn’t seem like this has much to do with Sibelius or music notation. But once in a while I come across a neat piece of technology that I like to share. Today it happens to be oTranscribe, a simple, free way to make it easier to transcribe recorded speech.

I’ve done a fair number of interviews on this blog, and transcribing the text of the recorded sessions is a necessary evil. Switching from a media player to a text editor and back again, and rewinding or fast-forwarding takes up too much time. Unfortunately, speech-recognition software has not advanced to the point to make the process entirely mechanical.

To help solve this problem, or at least make the task a little easier, oTranscribe was created by journalist and graphic editor Elliot Bentley. It seamlessly melds the functions of an audio player and text editor into a clean app that runs in any browser that can play back the format of your audio file. The Esc key starts and stops playback. Function keys control rewind and fast-forward, and can also speed up or slow down the audio.

Nothing you write is ever sent to a remote server or stored in the cloud; instead, the transcript is stored in the browser’s local storage, and it is saved every five minutes. When finished, you can then export your work as text or Markdown files.

I could even imagine using this app to create annotations for a piece of music, as a simple shortcut will insert a time-stamp wherever desired.

Oh, and the interview that I’m using oTranscribe for? Well, you’ll have to wait for that to be published on the blog. But here’s a little taste from inside the app:



  1. Abraham Lee

    I’ve done a few of these myself and I can attest to the evils that this process is sadly condemned with. I can definitely see this program coming in handy. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Matthew Carey

    This is a FANTASTIC resource! Thank you Philip :-)

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