If you regularly transcribe texts or conversations, you are accustomed to the problem of changed passages not fitting into their space anymore. Tedious adjustments are often neccessary. If you're dissatisfied with the time required and the results of using regular word processing software for transcription work, then you should make the acquaintance of syncWRITER.
The idea for syncWRITER originated along the lines of traditional music notation, where transcribing into scores is the usual way ever since. By using a score, the conductor can overview the simultaneous play of multiple instruments, without loosing track of the interlinear structure of events. syncWRITER applies the score metaphor to text transcription. In terms of transcription work this means: Like an instrument, each "role" in your transcription is assigned a track. In conversation transcription, roles would correspond to speakers. Tracks are also used for comments, translations, and other things.
As in music, when transcribing it's important not to miss your entry. The idea is quite simple: The transcriptions of events (e.g. speaking) taking place synchronously at the same time are aligned to the same horizontal position. The execution of the idea is just as simple: entries are marked by syncTabs.
This is an example to illustrate the concepts of tracks and syncTabs as used in syncWRITER:
Everything you find in one row comprises a track. There are three parts to each track: the track marker, the name field, and the content field. The speakers' names or arbitrary transcription headers of your liking can be entered into the name fields. The transcription text is to be input into the content fields. Tracks are "activated" by clicking into their track markers with the mouse, before being worked upon (e.g. move or delete track operations).
Synchronizity is depicted by syncTabs, that are displayed as small rectangles above the first track. Text can be synchronized to a selected target syncTab by setting the insertion point to the position in the text to be synchronized and choosing the "Sync To Target" menu item or hitting the tab key to bind the position to the target syncTab. This marks the position and all positions previously bound to the syncTab as simultaneous. Necessary adjustments to keep the entries of a sync in horizontal alignment are handled automatically by syncWRITER.
If you now add further text left of a syncTab, all following syncTabs and the text bound to them will be moved right, so you do not need to apply corrections manually when you add or remove text in the middle of a track.
syncWRITER features extensively configurable search and replace operations. E.g. it is possible to replace only in a selected set of tracks, leaving other tracks untouched.
QuickTime; support opens up a multitude of possibilities: You may add a track containing an audio recording of a conversation and split the audio into small segments. You may then play back these segments over and over without needing to rewind a tape. You may also set playback into a loop mode for listening to hard to understand passages.
AppleScript support enables the automation of everything from complex analysis procedures to remote controlled construction of documents. The complete data content of a syncWRITER document may be accessed by AppleScript, so there is no limit to the application of scripts.
syncWRITER was delevoped in close cooperation with the Center for German Sign Language of the University of Hamburg, resulting in ongoing close contact with users.
syncWRITER doesn't enforce any peculiar transcription formalism in order to stay compatible with whatever conventions you should prefer to use.
Due to the conceptual flexibility of syncWRITER you will find it easy to notate even a classroom scene with verbal and nonverbal communication tracks for each actor - or whatever you need. The amount of text is limited only by available memory. For printing and exporting into other applications, the interlinear transcription can be broken into blocks, resulting in a score-like format. This partitioning is configurable and may be adapted to your requirements. It is further possible to export the document as a temporally ordered list of text segments, a format that has been of traditional importance in linguistic research.
Of course, syncWRITER behaves like you have come to expect from a good Macintosh application. Undo is available for all major operations that alter the document. syncWRITER runs on any Macintosh® from MacintoshPlus upward, and needs 4Mb of RAM and System 7.0 or newer. For using the QuickTime features, QuickTime 1.5 or newer must be installed. For AppleScript scripting AppleScript 1.1 or newer is required.
syncWRITER is available in English and German versions.
Hohenfelder Straße 20; 22087 Hamburg; Germany Phone: ++49 / 40 / 55 49 57 11 Fax: ++49 / 40 / 55 49 57 13 EMail: firstname.lastname@example.org"Apple Macintosh" is a registered trademark of Apple Computer, Inc. "AppleScript", "Ballon Help", and "QuickTime" are trademarks of Apple Computer, Inc.