Spring 2022

The SIL Transcriber development team is pleased to announce the 2.14.3 release. Based on how we have seen people using our product, the Spring 2022 release provides a flexible tool for those using orality in their projects. We continue to offer both a collaborative solution for teams and an offline solution for those who want to work without the Internet to do transcription work. In addition, the 2.14.3 version adds a customizable workflow, internalization resources that are audio or display oriented, threaded discussions, community checking, and back translation tools. The goal is to provide a hybrid orality solution allowing oral only or a mixture of oral and text contributions. The results could be audio or a natural text translation in Paratext. The tool supports church-centric Bible translation. The full-featured desktop app is available for downloading and a corresponding SIL Transcriber web app supports even more platforms.

Customizable workflow

The workflow is a series of steps. Any step can be hidden and new steps can be added. The Admin user designs the workflow for the team. Templates of workflows for common solutions are provided. All projects on the team use the same workflow. The step names can be changed and localizations are provided. Each step is associated with a particular tool. Multiple steps can use the same tool and of course not all tools need to be used. The user is guided through the steps but can go back to repeat any steps or adjust any of the previous content. (Watch a demo.)


When a passage makes reference to a particular cultural topic, it may be helpful for those recording a translation of the passage to have a background description of this topic. This description can be provided as an audio resource or as a text / display oriented resource. Other resources could be translations of the same passage in various languages that are known to the translation team. (Watch a demo.)

Threaded discussions

Threaded discussions are very similar to commenting tools provided by Word or Docs. They allow the selection of a segment of the recording and the creation of a discussion around it. The discussion can have contributions from team members. These contributions can be audio or text. The entire discussion can be assigned to a person or role and can be resolved when finished. (Watch a demo.)

Community Checking

Community checking for orality projects is often done by playing the audio of the passages in the section for an “uninitiated” speaker of the language who is then asked to retell the section in their own words. As the retelling and translation are compared, observations can be recorded in discussions about things that were added or things that were left out. Another tact is to play an excerpt and ask questions about it and record the answers. The retellings or answers can be transcribed. (Watch a demo.)

Back Translation

These tools allow the user to listen to the passage and then record their back translation in a language understood by the consultant. This can be done for the entire passage or the passage can be broken into phrase segments and each segment can be back translated. These back translations can also be transcribed and sent to a Paratext back translation project. (Watch a demo.)

Paratext Sync

Paratext integration has been improved so that if a project has a registered back translation project, the program will choose the corresponding project or back translation project depending on what content is being synced. As in the past, the language code is very important for linking SIL Transcriber projects with the corresponding Paratext projects, either locally or in the cloud.

Other changes

In the past, once a passage was transcribed it could block other passages in the same section from being transcribed by others. Now transcribers can un-assign the section and work on other passages if they choose. The goal of this version is to guide the user to do the right thing but not prevent them from doing something else if they feel they need to.