Listening headphones
Credit: Image by mendhak on Flickr. Some rights reserved

A journalist has created a free web app to make transcription easier. Called oTranscribe, the application has an audio player and text editor which removes the need to toggle between two programmes, such as iTunes and Word, when transcribing an interview.

The browser-based app allows you to upload audio and then use keyboard shortcuts to play and pause, add time stamps, and slow down and speed up the recording. The transcription is auto-saved so if you lose internet connection or close your browser, the text is not lost.

The app supports mp3, ogg, webm and wav formats. It also has an in-built file converter.


oTranscribe was created by journalist Elliot Bentley who recently started to learn to code and created the application to help him and fellow reporters.

He officially launched the app at last night's Hacks/Hackers London, a meet up for journalists and technologists. Bentley gave a three-minute talk to explain how "everyone hates transcription", and shared his solution for making it easier.

It is important to note that it is not an auto-transcription app using voice recognition. As Bentley pointed out, the technology is not yet developed to allow for an accurate transcription in this way.

This new app joins Transcribe, another web app that works in a similar way. Transcribe was initially free to use but now costs $20 a year to use. Unlike Bentley's new app, Transcribe auto-rewinds audio by about a second to assist in transcription and includes more features, such as voice recognition and an iOS app.

oTranscribe is open source and took Bentley between 15 and 20 hours to build "plus a lot of time on the tube thinking how best to implement things", he told He started work on it last month, and released it three weeks ago.

Bentley said the web app will remain free of charge, but he may add premium features in the future.

The code is open source and on GitHub.

Notes from last night's Hacks/Hackers are at this link.

Disclaimer: I am one of the organisers of Hacks/Hackers London.

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