Transcribe faster with f4 (Win)
f4 is making scientific transcription easier and faster. Its core features: Replay speed can be reduced without voice pitch change; the program can be controlled via the keyboard (instead of using the mouse); automated short rewind upon pausing the recording. f4 automatically inserts time stamps and speaker tokens – this saves time. It offers customizable text elements and intuitive navigation via waveform display.
f4free plays the first ten minutes of a media file.
f4plus & f4pro come with unlimited replay + more features :-)
f4 - overview of features
Controls via keyboard or footpedal
The F4 key controls the program's most important functions: starting, pausing and briefly rewinding the recording. This will also work when you use other programs while f4 is opened (this allows you to transcribe in a word processor or other applications). The F3 and F5 keys rewind and fast forward the recording. While rewinding or fast forwarding, you can still hear the recording, so you'll always know where you are! Controlling F4 is even easier with one of our USB foot pedals (foot pedals science, science II, office and Infinity IN-USB; the "f4pro" version also supports Olympus RS-28 and some Philips and Grundig foot pedals). When using a foot pedal to control replay, your fingers can concentrate on typing – this accelerates transcription speed by up to 30%!
Replay speed and rewind interval
You can modify replay speed via a continuously adjustable slide controller – without changing the sound pitch! When transcribing, slowing down the replay speed; speeding up the replay speed can come in handy when proof-reading a transcript. Replay speed can be adjusted while transcribing, simply by pushing the ALT key + left/right arrows.
Upon pausing the recording, it automatically rewinds for a short interval. This feature is essential for a steady transcription workflow: When you resume replay, you will hear the last few words of the recording. The interval can be adjusted via a slidable controller; the default rewind interval is 2 seconds.
The waveform - your navigation headquarters
The waveform visualizes the current recording section in detail. If the recording exceeds 5 minutes, or if the program window is too small, a second waveform is added below, displaying the whole file. The present position is indicated by a vertical line and displays the recording's present time. Elapsed recording time is displayed in orange. You can click on the waveform at any time to jump to the respective part of the transcript. The waveform can be displayed either above or below the transcript text, or in the options menu on the left. Simply drag the wave form (hold left mouse button) where you want it!
Large transcript display
Nearly the whole program window is dedicated to displaying your transcript. As usual in f4, time stamps can be inserted automatically into your transcript as you transcribe, and the program is of course still easily controlled via the F4 key or foot pedals. While transcribing, f4's numerous options are neatly tucked into the options menu on the side. The new optional full screen mode allows you to fully concentrate on working on your transcription.
The text is displayed enlarged in order to enhance readability. However, the transcript is of course saved in font size 12pt (or in the font size you have set). You can zoom in/out via CTRL + plus or minus key or via holding down the CTRL key while using the mouse wheel. Highlight a passage with the mouse, then right click, and a text formatting menu will pop up. Of course you can also work with two computer screens, e.g. displaying video on one screen while displaying the transcript window on the other screen.
Time stamps - inserted manually or automatically
Time stamps are an important means of orientation in a trancript. With one click on the link, you directly jump to the corresponding passage of the recording. Time stamps are automatically inserted at the end of each paragraph, and they can be inserted manually via the F8 key. f4's time stamps also work as clickable links in qualitative data analysis software such as MAXQDA10 and Atlas.ti. There, clicking on a time stamp triggers replay of the corresponding section of the recording file. Upon saving the transcript in f4, you can choose whether it will be saved with or without time stamps. In "f4pro" you can specify an offset value, resulting time stamps to start at a value other than zero. This can come in handy for movie transcripts or split files.
At first launching f4, the options menu is not displayed – in order to make more room for the transcription text. Clicking on the tab on the left side of the program window will open the options menu. Here, you can modify and access all program features: Replay options, backup settings, time stamp settings, offset settings, text elements, turn-taking tokens, keyboard shortcuts, language settings and search & replace functions. The options can be re-arranged via drag & drop (by moving an option's header). You can move frequently used options (e.g. the text elements) to the top of the program window. When you close the options tab on the side, those options will still be accessible.
Further time-saving functions
With this function, tokens for each speaker are automatically inserted, according to alternating turn-taking in the recording. If you need to insert a paragraph without a speaker token, simply hold the ALT key while hitting ENTER.
You can create your own text elements. They are inserted via customizable keyboard shortcuts. We have already preset some text elements which are based on common transcription notations (Bohnsack; Kuckartz/Dresing; GAT; conversation analysis/Schegloff/Jefferson)
The synchro mode is used for proof reading or for analysis of a transcript with time stamps in f4. When activated, the text will scroll in sync with the recording, and the text passages you presently hear in the recording will be highlighted – the function works like an autocue/teleprompter. For this autocue function to work, time stamps must be inserted at the end of each paragraph.
Search & replace
The shortcut CTRL+F activates and deactivates the search function. You can search for keywords and replace them automatically (this helps when anonymizing data). Also, search results can be highlighted automatically in the transcript text. Transcripts can be printed including those colored highlights.
f4 makes sure that your data is saved – when typing in f4, the program regularly creates backups of your work. So even if something goes wrong, your work is not completely (or largely) lost. You can customize the backup interval and the backup file location in the options menu. The default backup interval is 10 minutes, and the data will be saved in a specific folder. Regularly delete obsolete backups in the backup folder to save space on your hard drive. If you do not have access to this folder (due to missing administration rights), please do change the backup file location prior to working in f4.
f4plus - including timp stamp converter and with no replay limitation
f4plus is geared towards non-commercial use (e.g. students, universities). f4plus has no replay limitations in terms of recording length. The program can recognize and convert time stamps from other programs (e.g. Transana). In f4plus, you can also customize the time stamp format. Users of f4plus can contact our customer support via e-mail: support(at)audiotranskription.de
f4pro - for commercial use & full customer support & more pedals
f4 is geared towards commercial use and includes all additional functions of f4plus. Furthermore, f4pro supports more foot pedals, such as the Olympus RS-28, Philips LFH 2310 and Grundig 540 USB. f4pro replays DSS files (if the DSS player standard or pro is installed - which needs to be purchased seperately). With f4pro's offset function, the starting time of time stamps can be adjusted (e.g. time stamps will not start at '0', but at 5 minutes 13 seconds). All users of f4pro can contact our customer support via e-mail support(at)audiotranskription.de
f4 is still available at no cost as "f4 free". With this free license users can replay the first 10 minutes of an audio or video file. The licenses "f4 plus" and "f4 pro" are available for purchase. "f4 plus" and "f4 pro" do replay audio and video without any limitation and offer additional features. The user manual covers the core functions shared by all three licenses (f4 user manual). The differences between licenses are listed in the table below:
Plays audio & video files*
|Replay time||10 minutes||unlimited||unlimited|
|Support of USB foot pedals||Office, IN-USB1+2|
Science I + II
Science I + II
Science I + II
Philips LFH 2310
Grundig 540 USB
|Import of external time stamp formats (e.g. from Transana)|
|Customizable and re-changeable time stamp formats|
|SRT export for Adobe Premiere|
|Customizable time offset|
* f4 can replay all audio & video files playable in the Windows Media Player, e.g. MP3, WMA, WAV, MPG, AVI and many more. Free codec packs for the Windows Media Player greatly increase the amount of supported file types.
Manual (on) Transcription
Authors: Dr. Thorsten Dresing, Thorsten Pehl, Christian Schmieder
2st English edition, Spring 2013
Academic transcription is a demanding task. Not only does it require stamina; it also calls for appropriate management of transcription conventions and possible sources of error. We have compiled a comprehensible manual in order to help you get started. In it, we cover questions such as: Which file formats and audio recording specifications are suitable for transcriptions? Which transcription convention do I need? Which errors can be avoided? How long does transcription take? How do I eliminate white noise? We are constantly updating our manual, based on our own research and feedback from our readers.
Download the most recent edition here for free (69 pages, PDF, release 13.3.2013).
User Manual for f4
Our f4 user manual explains all functions and show how to work with f4 in an efficient way.
Made by researchers, for researchers –
and for anyone doing transcription!
When we pursued our own research projects in 2004 as doctorate candidates at Philipps-University Marburg (Germany), it became clear the genuine lack of an easy to use transcription software. There was simply nothing out there we could work with. With f4 (since 2005) and f5 (since 2010) we successfully changed this situation, and by now can look back at almost 350,000 downloads. For the development of the software, the compatible USB foot pedals, and the foundation of our business to distribute audio recording devices, we were awarded with the “Hessischer Gründungspreis”, a German business start-up award, in 2009.
Based on our own experience as researchers and our readers’ feedback, we continue to collect, develop and distribute information on transcription and (affordable) technological solutions.
Read and see the latest (video)review on Findmysoft:
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Your file can not be played?
Having trouble loading your data in f4? Our recommended First Aid Tip is installing the K-Lite Mega CodecPack. With this free CodecPack you can extend the range of usable data formats for f4, including Flashvideos, MP4, AMR, MOV, DIVX and many more. You can find the CodecPack with the appropriate presets here: Download K-Lite Codec Pack for f4
Waveform is not displayed
If you’re having trouble with the waveform of your audio file, we recommend the following First Aid Tip: install the K-Lite Mega CodecPack with the appropriate presets, which you can find here: Download K-Lite Codec Pack for f4