Transcription Mode

MAXQDA enables you to transcribe audio and video files in the Multimedia Browser (called the “Media Player” in older MAXQDA versions). To get started with your first transcription in MAXQDA, you must first import the audio or video file by clicking Document in the Import tab. (How this works exactly and where MAXQDA stores the recordings, is explained in further detail here.)

When importing a recording, an empty text document is created in the “Document System”, to which the audio or video file is assigned and in which you can write the transcript. These text documents with their associated media file can be recognized by special symbols in the “Document System”: Transcripts of audio files feature a musical “note” and transcripts of video files a video camera:

Special symbols for audio and video files in the "Document Browser"

Turning Transcription Mode on

Right-click on the document and select the option Transcribe Audio File or Transcribe Video File.

This allows you to switch on MAXQDA’s Transcription Mode, in which the windows you need for transcription are arranged optimally:

  • The Multimedia Browser is displayed and placed at the top of the screen.
  • The “Document Browser” with the transcript is displayed directly below – where you can write your transcript.
  • A dialog window is displayed to the left of the Multimedia Browser where you can adjust all your settings for the transcription.
Transcription Mode

Starting the transcription process

Now you can play the recording and start writing. To play and pause,

  • Press F4 or F5,
  • or press Ctrl (Windows) or Shift ⇧ (Mac) twice in succession, then you don’t have to move your fingers very far,
  • or use the play and pause icon in the Multimedia Browser”.

To quickly navigate to a certain spot in your audio file, use the slide control in the Multimedia Browser window or use the keyboard combination F11 and +F11 to rewind or forward 5 seconds.

Tip: How to use the function keys for transcription on a Mac is described in our Frequently Asked Questions.

The transcript and the recording are linked to each other using time stamps. For detailed information on using time stamps, see this section.

The transcription text is stored automatically in the project file every 5 minutes. You can change this time interval in the Transcription settings. To access the settings, click the gear icon at the top right of your MAXQDA window.

Adjusting the rewind interval, volume and playback speed

A rewind interval of 2 seconds is set by default so you continue your flow when you resume playback. You can adjust this interval at any time, to a time between 0 and 10 seconds, in the transcription settings.

Adjust rewind interval
Tip: You can close the Transcription Settings window if you don’t need it. You can open it at any time by clicking on the Transcription Settings icon on the left side of the Multimedia Browser.
Open Transcription Settings and the control panel

To adjust the volume and playback speed, click the Control Panel icon in the Multimedia Browser. The following dialog window will appear, which allows you to adjust the volume and speed of playback.

Adjust the volume and speed of playback in the "Control Panel"

Coding while transcribing

You can code the typed text with new or existing codes during transcription. To do this, highlight a text segment, for example, and drag it to a code in the “Code System”.

The whole functionality of the Multimedia Browser is also available. This makes it possible to highlight and code sections and to set memos and document links. For detailed explanations on how to use the Multimedia Browser, please refer to the section for coding videos.

Starting and stopping the transcription

You can start and stop Transcription Mode at any time – just close the Multimedia Browser.

To resume working on a transcript, right click on the document and select Transcribe audio file or Transcribe video file.

Transcribing with a foot pedal

For faster and easier transcription, MAXQDA supports the foot pedals “Science” and “Science II” from Audiotranskription:

  • The yellow “Science” switch has the same functionality as the F4 or F5 key (depending on the software setting inside the foot pedal): press once to play, and a second time to stop.
  • The black “Science II” switch must be held down to play media data and will stop playing when released.