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Transcription software with time coding
Thread poster: Carmen Grabs

Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 17:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
Nov 14, 2013

I am planning to get a transcription software where you can time-code videos.
Can anyone recommend any really good software? It should be really good quality.

Thanks a lot.
Carmen


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Piet DM
Belgium
Local time: 17:05
English to Dutch
+ ...
Spot Nov 14, 2013

Hi Carmen,

Being a professional subtitler, I've been using Spot Software for some seven years now. Never had any flaws, it works like a charm (and - although still costly - it is way cheaper than it's competitors like Swift).

Piet


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Pavel Slama  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:05
Member (2014)
English to Czech
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Subtitle Edit Nov 14, 2013

I find Subtitle Edit very efficient – it has waveform display, warns if excess length/speed/char. count etc., keyboard shortcuts for caption start/end, split/join lines, spell check, etc. – and is free.

Am I missing out on something by not using commercial software?

[Edited at 2013-11-14 17:09 GMT]


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Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 17:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Let me see Nov 14, 2013

Thanks to both of you for your replies! Will check out both suggestions and update you on this forum.


Any more input is welcome


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Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 10:05
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
Express Scribe Nov 14, 2013

I am using Express Scribe Pro ( licensed version) costing about 30 Australian $. Able to do much faster and better with time coding for video transcription.

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IT Pros Subs
Italy
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Commercial versus Non commercial Nov 15, 2013

Hi Babylondon,

if you offer professional subtitling, you are missing out on a few aspects.
I highly recommend professional subtitling software to handle several scenarios that I believe would be too time-consuming with freeware. And these days where it's getting hard to get paid for what your work is worth, you really can't afford to waste your time.

Here are just a few examples:
- Your client has you cue and translate a video, then decides to remove a few scenes here and there later on. With professional software it is more practical and faster to apply offsets to several subtitles at one time while leaving the rest unchanged.

- Your client wants you to adapt the time codes to their burntin ones no matter how awkward they might appear. This can be done with just a few clicks with professional tools.

- Your client wants you to export to all formats possible. Here are a few examples:
.srt / EBU .stl / .890 / .pac / .scc / .sif / .rtf / .das / .dar / .mtl / .cip / .sbv / .vtt / .usf / .fdx / .html / .fpc / .aqt / .asc / .ass / .dat / .dks / .js / .jss / .lrc / .mpl / .ovr / .pan / .pjs / .rt / .s2k / .sami / .sbt / .smi / .son / .srf / .ssa / .sst / .ssts / .stl / .stp / .sub / .tts / .vkt / .vsf / .zeg / .txt / .xml

- Your client wants you to provide subtitles in an "image" format.

- A few tools also have quick spotting features that allow you to pre spot the titles (with minimum accuracy of course), but still better than nothing.

and many more scenarios. I use Annotation Edit for Mac.

My 2 cents.

babylondon wrote:

I find Subtitle Edit very efficient – it has waveform display, warns if excess length/speed/char. count etc., keyboard shortcuts for caption start/end, split/join lines, spell check, etc. – and is free.

Am I missing out on something by not using commercial software?

[Edited at 2013-11-14 17:09 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Disappointed Nov 15, 2013

Foreword:

For those who haven't seen it elsewhere, Monica and I have publicly expressed opposing views on commercial software and freeware for subtitling.

While I like the free Subtitle Workshop, especially the new v6, and would buy it if it were not free, Monica advocates expensive subtitling programs labeled as "professional".

While Monica is apparently a full-time video subtitler, possibly for feature films and TV, I specialize in corporate video (i.e. institutional, training, etc.).

While the demand for her line of work is high and constant, mine is a series of ups and downs, not a steady and major source of income (though it was for some 20 years).

I think our difference of opinions is most valuable, as we tend to point out the most striking differences, leading our readers to an educated choice.


Dear Monica,

As the demand I have for subtitling work has been increasing lately, I am tuned to your station, to check what I'm missing by using Subtitle Workshop. Maybe the day I'll invest an US$1K-ish sum in subtitling software is close... or not!

I used the Uruguayan SW v2.51 for years, and never bothered to read the entire manual. As the Bulgarian v6 came up recently, I decided to force myself into reading its manual: I volunteered to translate it into Brazilian Portuguese (as well as the GUI, of course).

Until they pack my version into the standard package (English/Russian/Bulgarian now), it's available for download from my web site.

However I was disappointed by the advantages you pointed out, comparing free and professional subtitling software. Maybe you are not comparing yours with Subtitle Workshop, but with countless other subtitling programs I've seen around, which definitely lack these features.


Monica Paolillo wrote:
Here are just a few examples:
- Your client has you cue and translate a video, then decides to remove a few scenes here and there later on. With professional software it is more practical and faster to apply offsets to several subtitles at one time while leaving the rest unchanged.


This is easy to do with SW Set Delay feature.
Other programs might require moving the subtitles to Excel for calculation, and then back to the subtitle file.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- Your client wants you to adapt the time codes to their burntin ones no matter how awkward they might appear. This can be done with just a few clicks with professional tools.


Same process as above on SW, with other additional features, e.g. if a video timeline is broken with commercials.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- Your client wants you to export to all formats possible. Here are a few examples:
.srt / EBU .stl / .890 / .pac / .scc / .sif / .rtf / .das / .dar / .mtl / .cip / .sbv / .vtt / .usf / .fdx / .html / .fpc / .aqt / .asc / .ass / .dat / .dks / .js / .jss / .lrc / .mpl / .ovr / .pan / .pjs / .rt / .s2k / .sami / .sbt / .smi / .son / .srf / .ssa / .sst / .ssts / .stl / .stp / .sub / .tts / .vkt / .vsf / .zeg / .txt / .xml


This happens to all kinds of software. There are proprietary-format files and public-domain ones. I remember the days when the only way to generate a PDF file was by having the full Acrobat package (or other Adobe software that included parts of it).

If the client demands some proprietary file format, the only way is to have the software that generates it. No point in comparing file format lists, as each client will require ONE (or two) formats they can use.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- Your client wants you to provide subtitles in an "image" format.


This is beyond the scope here. As long as you can get your subs and some subtitle burning software, it's a matter of generating some adequate length/size chroma key video, and burning the subs on it.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- A few tools also have quick spotting features that allow you to pre spot the titles (with minimum accuracy of course), but still better than nothing.


Not sure about SW 2.51, but SW 6 has this feature.

If I had to spot subtitles all day, one feature I would ask for would be a zoomable visual audio soundwave strip on the screen, with a jog/shuttle control, where you could merely click on a spot to set it as the start/end subtitle. Maybe one of these pro packages has it.


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IT Pros Subs
Italy
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Just for your information Nov 15, 2013

The professional software I use is only Eur 250. I've tried Subtitle Workshop and I still find my software works in a more user-friendly as well as faster way and accuracy is guaranteed with less effort.

I wouldn't spend a fortune on software myself. Right now what I'm looking into is the chance to use some software with network support allowing teams to work together on the same material. Unfortunately, my favorite software Annotation Edit doesn't have that capability.

I need to find something to install on our in-house servers because I don't intend to upload my clients' material anywhere on the Internet. If you hear of something, pls. let me know.



José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Foreword:

For those who haven't seen it elsewhere, Monica and I have publicly expressed opposing views on commercial software and freeware for subtitling.

While I like the free Subtitle Workshop, especially the new v6, and would buy it if it were not free, Monica advocates expensive subtitling programs labeled as "professional".

While Monica is apparently a full-time video subtitler, possibly for feature films and TV, I specialize in corporate video (i.e. institutional, training, etc.).

While the demand for her line of work is high and constant, mine is a series of ups and downs, not a steady and major source of income (though it was for some 20 years).

I think our difference of opinions is most valuable, as we tend to point out the most striking differences, leading our readers to an educated choice.


Dear Monica,

As the demand I have for subtitling work has been increasing lately, I am tuned to your station, to check what I'm missing by using Subtitle Workshop. Maybe the day I'll invest an US$1K-ish sum in subtitling software is close... or not!

I used the Uruguayan SW v2.51 for years, and never bothered to read the entire manual. As the Bulgarian v6 came up recently, I decided to force myself into reading its manual: I volunteered to translate it into Brazilian Portuguese (as well as the GUI, of course).

Until they pack my version into the standard package (English/Russian/Bulgarian now), it's available for download from my web site.

However I was disappointed by the advantages you pointed out, comparing free and professional subtitling software. Maybe you are not comparing yours with Subtitle Workshop, but with countless other subtitling programs I've seen around, which definitely lack these features.


Monica Paolillo wrote:
Here are just a few examples:
- Your client has you cue and translate a video, then decides to remove a few scenes here and there later on. With professional software it is more practical and faster to apply offsets to several subtitles at one time while leaving the rest unchanged.


This is easy to do with SW Set Delay feature.
Other programs might require moving the subtitles to Excel for calculation, and then back to the subtitle file.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- Your client wants you to adapt the time codes to their burntin ones no matter how awkward they might appear. This can be done with just a few clicks with professional tools.


Same process as above on SW, with other additional features, e.g. if a video timeline is broken with commercials.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- Your client wants you to export to all formats possible. Here are a few examples:
.srt / EBU .stl / .890 / .pac / .scc / .sif / .rtf / .das / .dar / .mtl / .cip / .sbv / .vtt / .usf / .fdx / .html / .fpc / .aqt / .asc / .ass / .dat / .dks / .js / .jss / .lrc / .mpl / .ovr / .pan / .pjs / .rt / .s2k / .sami / .sbt / .smi / .son / .srf / .ssa / .sst / .ssts / .stl / .stp / .sub / .tts / .vkt / .vsf / .zeg / .txt / .xml


This happens to all kinds of software. There are proprietary-format files and public-domain ones. I remember the days when the only way to generate a PDF file was by having the full Acrobat package (or other Adobe software that included parts of it).

If the client demands some proprietary file format, the only way is to have the software that generates it. No point in comparing file format lists, as each client will require ONE (or two) formats they can use.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- Your client wants you to provide subtitles in an "image" format.


This is beyond the scope here. As long as you can get your subs and some subtitle burning software, it's a matter of generating some adequate length/size chroma key video, and burning the subs on it.

Monica Paolillo wrote:
- A few tools also have quick spotting features that allow you to pre spot the titles (with minimum accuracy of course), but still better than nothing.


Not sure about SW 2.51, but SW 6 has this feature.

If I had to spot subtitles all day, one feature I would ask for would be a zoomable visual audio soundwave strip on the screen, with a jog/shuttle control, where you could merely click on a spot to set it as the start/end subtitle. Maybe one of these pro packages has it.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
My mistake - I was wrong Nov 15, 2013

Monica Paolillo wrote:

The professional software I use is only Eur 250. I've tried Subtitle Workshop and I still find my software works in a more user-friendly as well as faster way and accuracy is guaranteed with less effort.

I wouldn't spend a fortune on software myself. Right now what I'm looking into is the chance to use some software with network support allowing teams to work together on the same material. Unfortunately, my favorite software Annotation Edit doesn't have that capability.

I need to find something to install on our in-house servers because I don't intend to upload my clients' material anywhere on the Internet. If you hear of something, pls. let me know.


I was requested a couple of times to provide subtitles in some proprietary format whose suffix I can't recall now. I checked about it, and the only software that could deliver such files cost something to the tune of USD 1,200~1,500. For an occasional gig, I thought it would never pay for itself.

I thought this was the kind of software you were referring to. Quite honestly, I would pay EUR 250 for Subtitle Workshop, if it were not free.

As you apparently use a Mac, while I use a PC, we have different options.


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IT Pros Subs
Italy
Local time: 17:05
Member (2005)
English to Italian
+ ...
Professional in the features, not in the price :) Nov 15, 2013

Hopefully this has clarified my position once for all.


José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

Monica Paolillo wrote:

The professional software I use is only Eur 250. I've tried Subtitle Workshop and I still find my software works in a more user-friendly as well as faster way and accuracy is guaranteed with less effort.

I wouldn't spend a fortune on software myself. Right now what I'm looking into is the chance to use some software with network support allowing teams to work together on the same material. Unfortunately, my favorite software Annotation Edit doesn't have that capability.

I need to find something to install on our in-house servers because I don't intend to upload my clients' material anywhere on the Internet. If you hear of something, pls. let me know.


I was requested a couple of times to provide subtitles in some proprietary format whose suffix I can't recall now. I checked about it, and the only software that could deliver such files cost something to the tune of USD 1,200~1,500. For an occasional gig, I thought it would never pay for itself.

I thought this was the kind of software you were referring to. Quite honestly, I would pay EUR 250 for Subtitle Workshop, if it were not free.

As you apparently use a Mac, while I use a PC, we have different options.


[Edited at 2013-11-15 11:02 GMT]


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Indeed! Nov 15, 2013

Monica Paolillo wrote:

Professional in the features, not in the price

Hopefully this has clarified my position once for all.


Definitely!

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

I was requested a couple of times to provide subtitles in some proprietary format whose suffix I can't recall now. I checked about it, and the only software that could deliver such files cost something to the tune of USD 1,200~1,500. For an occasional gig, I thought it would never pay for itself.

I thought this was the kind of software you were referring to. Quite honestly, I would pay EUR 250 for Subtitle Workshop, if it were not free.


The $1K+ software developer's web site, insisted on its being "professional", everything else being deemed amateurish.

Meanwhile, I've seen garbage produced with the latest verson of Trados, as well as some brilliant translation work done with just a ballpoint pen and a notepad.

This should be an eye-opener for anyone on the lookout for software.
http://www.videohelp.com has a lot of information, enhanced by user opinions on video-related software.


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Nikita Kobrin  Identity Verified
Lithuania
Local time: 18:05
Member (2010)
English to Russian
+ ...
Transcription or subtitling? Nov 15, 2013

I don't quite understand why all people (except for Srini Venkataraman) are talking about subtitling sofware here? The question was about transcription software:

Carmen Grabs wrote:

I am planning to get a transcription software where you can time-code videos.


Transcription and subtitling are absolutely different activities. Have I missed anything?

Nikita Kobrin

[Edited at 2013-11-15 21:04 GMT]


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Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 17:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
don't know the difference yet Nov 16, 2013

I don't know whether there is a different software for transcription and subtitling, so I was happy to get replies at all.

All I need is a software that "somehow" converts the scenes in a video into time-coded sections, so I can than transcribe the video and translate the transcription for someone, who then embeds the subtitles.

Is there a special software for that?

I checked out the first two links, and they seemed terribly technical to me. But I guess I could work that out. What shocked me more was the price for the software "Spot", over 1700 Euro ...


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 13:05
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Transcription x subtitling Nov 16, 2013

Nikita Kobrin wrote:

Transcription and subtitling are absolutely different activities. Have I missed anything?


Nikita,

You haven't missed anything. The people who have missed something are:
a) countless subtitling clients; and
b) a number of translators who intend to do it for the first time.

While some people I know do both at once, I prefer to consider them separate, successive activities. My way of tackling the entire process is described on this page.

The script for the dialogue I've had over and over with translation agency PMs most often goes like this:

"Our client needs a video transcribed. I understand you can provide this type of service."
"Yes, I can, in either English or Brazilian Portuguese."
"That's exactly what she needs. The video is spoken in English, our client wants it transcribed (sic!) into Brazilian Portuguese."
"What does she intend to do with the translation?"
'Sorry for being blunt, but is this any of your business?"
"Most definitely, since it defines the type of work I should be doing. There are three main possibilities: a) to convert that script into an article, web content, etc. - written material; or b) for subtitling; or c) for dubbing. If it's for subtitling or dubbing, the transcription is usually unnecessary, it's done directly from the video. In the first case, converting it into text, the transcript may be useful if she intends to have it translated into other languages; it's cheaper to translate written text than from video. and it's also easier to find translators who do it. So, which is the case here?"
"I don't know. I'll ask my client and call you back."

(second phone call)
"She wants it for subtitling in Portuguese only."
"Okay, so the transcript is not necessary. Does she need spotting too?"
"Pardon???"
"Does she want me to do the time-spotting?"
"What's that?"
"Setting up a file that includes the time when each subtitle goes on and off."
"I don't know. I'll ask my client and call you back."

(third phone call)
"She needs the stopping (sic!) too."
"OK. What subtitle file format would she like to have?"
"Isn't it standard? Is there a standard one, like DOC for Word?"
"No, there are over 60 different types, according to my last count. Maybe she'll have to ask the person who will be burning them."
"Burning? I'll have to ask her, will call you back."

(fourth phone call)
"She is not burning anything. Her brother is a fireman. She is definitely opposed to arson. All she wants is a finished video, translated."
"Excellent! I can do that. What format does she want it in?"
"What do you mean?"
"There are many video formats, like mpeg 1, 2 or 4, avi, wmv, mov, flv, etc. I could even burn it to a DVD, which you can receive via snail-mail, or I could send you an image file for you to burn a disk and deliver. This is easy and can be done with freeware, provided you have a DVD-RW drive."
"Burning again? I told you she is not fond of arson, her brother is a fireman."
"That's how we call recording a DVD. It's done with laser, no fire involved."
"Okay, I'll tell her we can engrave a DVD with laser. This will be a relief for her. She envisioned you throwing her subtitles over a bonfire. I'll call you back."

(the fifth phone call is usually the last one, solves the case, gets me the order)


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Carmen Grabs
Germany
Local time: 17:05
Member (2012)
English to German
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
haaaaahaahaaaaa! Nov 16, 2013

phantastic! I wish I was as knowledgable as you with my clients.

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