You can’t help it – in the weird world of academics, you are sometimes left to figure out the meaning behind other people’s words. Particularily – making interviews and transcribing them (and then interpreting or performing some form of qualitative analysis). I am trying to find a piece of software to make the job easier. So far, the best candidate is Express Scribe from NCH Software.
The software works very well once you get the hang of it’s little knacks. And of course, it’s free. One problem is that there’s a limit to the length of the audio you can load into it. But that can be solved by chopping up the original audio into smaller segments. Now, what I thought was an excellent feature was that it provides system wide playback controls. That means, you can sit in the wordprocessror of your choice and type the transcript as you please, while using the F-keys to control the playback. I also found the slow-down-option handy. You can slow down the audio to any speed, but if you choose to play the audio back at less then 50 % of original speed it gets hard to hear speech, in my experience.
There were also some hangups when I tried to load a file of about one hours length. It took several minutes to load the file and software seemed to not respond while loading it up.
I guess this freeware is rather limited, but it did exactly what I wanted, provide an easy way to slow down and control playback of audiofiles.