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computerized language sample analysis

Digital Equipment

Digital Equipment Suggestions

Going digital for language samples is a relatively easy process. Digital files improve the overall quality of the language sample and simplify the transcription process. There are three basic steps to working with digital files: 1) record the language sample with a digital audio or video recorder, 2) transfer the digital file to your computer, and 3) control the playback of the digital file while you transcribe the sample.

Digital Recorders

There are a multitude of digital recorders on the market, including IPads and other computer tablets, as well as most smart phones. For an inexpensive recorder, the Olympus VN-722PC offers a quality recording, ample recording time, and is priced around $60.

Using an iPad, iPod, or iPhone to record samples

Recording Samples

  1. Download the free version of iTalk Recorder to your Apple device.
  2. Open iTalk.
  3. Choose a recording quality; it's OK to go with "Good" if you are in a quiet environment.
  4. Press the big record button.
  5. Press the record button again to pause or stop.
  6. Add a "Recording Name" (speaker id, context, and date; e.g., P123 Expo 5/12/2014).
  7. Press "Done" to switch to the review screen.
  8. Mistake recordings can be erased by pressing "Edit" in top left. The delete feature works as it does in all Apple apps.
  9. To make another recording, press "Record" in the top right.

Transferring Samples to a Computer:

  1. Plug your device into a computer with the cord used for charging and syncing.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. If your device is set so it should NOT automatically sync when plugged in:
    • Look on the left panel for "Devices".
    • Click on the name of your device.
    • Click on the "Apps" button towards the top center.
    • In the "Apps" box on the left, click iTalk.
  4. All audio files from the iTalk app will appear on the right in the "iTalk Documents" box. Click on the audio file you want and then click "Save to" to save it wherever you prefer. Generally it makes sense to use one folder to hold all your audio files and then you can subdivide into more folders, e.g., one for each speaker. If you ask SALT Transcription Services to send you the Standard Measures Report or any other analysis, they can send you a PDF that you can save directly into that speaker's folder along with the transcript. This is especially helpful when you use SALT to compare different speaking contexts (e.g., narration vs. conversation) or to monitor progress (Time 1 vs. Time 2 for retelling the same story).

Digital Play-back Options

There are several options for controlling the playback of digital audio files for transcription. If you're doing a lot of transcription, invest in a good foot pedal control as it will reduce the transcription time and improve the overall accuracy of the transcript. If you're just getting started or your budget is limited, check out the software options.

Express Scribe: NCH Software
for Windows® and Mac

Software control: Express Scribe controls playback of digital audio and video files using system-wide hot keys to allow control of the playback while you type the text into the SALT editor. 2013 prices: free download (audio) and $40 (audio and video).

Foot pedal control: Express Scribe also works with a variety of foot pedals, many of which can be purchased directly from NCH Software for between $70 - $80.

Start-Stop Foot Pedal Transcription Systems
for Windows® only

Foot pedal control: Foot pedal transcription systems to control playback of digital audio and video files. Use the foot pedal to control the playback while you type directly into the SALT editor. 2013 prices: $189 (audio) and $269 (audio and video).

Sound Scriber: Eric Breck, University of Michigan
for Windows® only

Software control: Software to control playback of digital audio files with options for variable speed and a feature called "walking" which plays a small stretch of the file several times, then advances to a new piece, overlapping slightly with the previous one. Use the software to control the playback while you type directly into the SALT editor. 2013 price: free download (audio).

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