SIL Transcriber

Type your audio recordings with ease.


SIL Transcriber is a web application you can use to manage a project to prepare text copies of audio files. Oral translation projects must take extra steps to ensure quality and consistency because other tools are text based. Even text projects may benefit from the naturalness of creating an oral draft by a native speaker and then transcribing it. SIL Transcriber is integrated with Paratext but can also export transcription to ELAN files if the goals are primarily related to language documentation.

Type as you listen

If there is a lot of typing, SIL Transcriber helps you listen and type more efficiently. Audio controls allow starting, stopping, skipping back or ahead under mouse, keyboard or foot pedal control. With the foot pedal, you can make one pass through the audio and your fingers never need to leave the keyboard.

Work as a team

SIL Transcriber’s simple design works even for those without extensive computer experience. The Administrator uses the web admin tools to setup the project and assign the work if desired. The Transcribers and Editors can be two groups or a single individual filling both roles (or even all three roles). Transcription can be done online with the web app or offline with the Desktop Extension.

Screenshot of Paratext

Send to Paratext

Once the transcription is completed and reviewed, send it directly to Paratext. SIL Transcriber keeps track of the book, chapter and verse ranges. On the web app, this will be sent to the Paratext repo so each Paratext user can synch to their device. The Desktop Extension synchs to the Paratext installation on the local machine so it will work without an Internet connection.

Questions and Answers

Do I need a foot pedal?

No, but you can use one to enhance your performance. Audio controls like start, stop, and skip (forward/back) can be controlled with keyboard shortcuts or buttons in the app. Start, stop, and skip can also be controlled with a USB or bluetooth foot pedal. 

A pedal is the industry standard tool for controlling audio in transcription. It may take some time to get used to, but using your foot to control audio lets you keep your fingers on alphabetical keys so that you don’t have to keep resetting them every time you control the audio.

Language Support

Transcriptions can be typed in any language and there was an attempt to include a reasonable font for all languages. If a special keyboard is required, a keyboard that language should be installed.

Interface available in  English and French. Request or offer to translate additional languages on the community forum.

System requirements

Requires Windows 10+ or Linux.

To use SIL Transcriber on macOS, please make a request. The software has been developed so the Desktop Extension could also be released for macOS if needed but of course the web app already runs on the macOS.