What do you hope to do with this project?
We want to make journalists’ lives easier through software. From what we’ve heard, transcription is one of their pain points and while Transcribe can’t do the transcription automatically for them (at least, not yet) we could make the transcription process a little easier for them through our tool.
To that end we’ve been talking to several users and getting their feedback to improve the product. Our goal is to build a great product that genuinely addresses the transcription needs of our users.
How is the tool being received?
Transcribe is actually spreading pretty virally at the moment, purely through word-of-mouth advertising. We think it’s a testament to the simplicity and effectiveness of the app.
The very first version we put out was pretty rough and it was dormant for a few months. However, we should thank our early users for giving us lots of valuable feedback that has helped make Transcribe where it is today. We get lots of fan emails every week, which is always heartening.
Is there a team developing this tool or is this something you are doing full-time?
We are both software engineers by profession and entrepreneurs at heart. We have been working on Transcribe part-time over the past year.
Why a journalism tool?
We have always believed that one can’t build great software without putting oneself in the shoes of the end users. As such, this tool was actually born out of a personal frustration. We built a tool which helped us do transcriptions faster, and we wanted to put it out in the wild for others to use it and also give us feedback on how to make it better.
In the past, we have worked on other highly focused tools, with one of them (Scribble), having more than 35,000 users in the Chrome Web Store.
Currently, we are focusing on Transcribe, and recently launched a “Pro” version which builds upon the free version. We have a bunch of really exciting features lined up for Transcribe Pro!
What was your favourite part about creating this tool?
Definitely the part about letting the users drive the development of features that’s important to them. We have been able to quickly iterate on the product by responding to user suggestions and that has made the application better for everyone.
How do you see users using it?
While interacting with the users of Transcribe, we found out that a lot of people performed transcription using just a audio player and a text editor! This process is painful for a number of reasons.
Firstly, you cannot easily pause, rewind or slow-down the audio without constantly switching between the editor and the audio player.
In addition, your fingers have to toggle between the keyboard and the mouse in order to perform various actions.
In contrast—Transcribe puts both the audio player and the text editor on the same screen, and provides you with powerful shortcuts for controlling both the audio playback and the editor.
With Transcribe Pro, you can manage multiple transcriptions at the same time and it will even remember where you stopped the audio so that you can resume from the same place next time. It also supports various audio formats directly.
Are you marketing the tool to any news outlets?
As you have correctly pointed out, Transcription is a huge time sink for journalists. So far, we have relied primarily on word-of-mouth advertising and that by itself has proved very effective—our users love the product and recommend it to their colleagues. So we haven’t yet had the need to market the tool ourselves, which is great.
But we would love to discuss Transcribe with news outlets to get more feedback and explore opportunities to integrate Transcribe into their workflows.
With the launch of Transcribe Pro last month, we are currently working on some exciting features that would make Transcription even less painful. Anyone interested in talking to us, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.