164. Transcript Collaboration

Information about a transcript writing project which I’ve set up using Google docs. Transcript available below.

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Please take part in the LEP Transcript-writing collaboration!
Click here to see the list of google documents for the transcript collaboration.
Click here to see a list of episodes which already have complete transcripts.
ukulele-soprano-debutantIf you like ukulele music, listen to the end of this episode!

Transcript for this episode

Hello, I’d like to tell you about transcripts, and to invite you to take part in a transcript writing collaboration which I have set up using Google documents.

I have many different types of listeners to the podcast, with different levels of English. Some like to just listen and pick up language that way. Others like to be able to read what I’m saying too. For them, being able to read a transcript is really useful. I know how important it is. You can read new words that you don’t understand. It helps to bridge the gap between spelling and pronunciation and so on.

The problem is, I don’t usually transcribe my episodes before I record them. This is because I prefer to keep my speaking natural and authentic. I’m trying to train your ear to hear real English as it is spoken. If I’m reading from a script (like now in fact), it’s not quite the same kind of English. It’s not as natural.

In some of my episodes I do write a script first, but that’s just because for those particular episodes I need to do more careful research, or I want to plan my words carefully. So, how can I get transcripts for my listeners?

Sometimes I write them myself. I sit there at the computer with headphones on and transcribe. But, it takes ages! Frankly I need that time for other things, like producing episodes of the podcast, and ultimately I truly believe it is a much more rewarding task for you, my listeners. It would be good for your English.

So, I invite you to get involved in a transcript writing collaboration in which you transcribe a few minutes of a podcast and help to build a set of fully transcribed episodes. It’s already happening in fact. Right now, listeners are working on transcripts on google documents. I can see the words being added, live, on the screen in front of me.

So, how does it work?
I’ve put google documents of episodes online. The documents are open. Anyone  with the link can open them and write text there. It’s like an online shared document that we can all edit. You just need a gmail account to read/edit them. You can find the google doc links on my website. Go to the Transcripts Collaboration button in the transcripts menu. Mouse over the word TRANSCRIPTS and then Transcripts Collaboration (click here). You can’t miss it. You’ll find all the links to transcripts there. So far, 3 episodes have been done and 9 episodes are being done. If you want me to open a particular episode just let me know and I’ll do it.

So, click a google doc and you’ll see a message from me and the rules for the collaboration. It’s really simple. Here are the rules:

  • Don’t edit other people’s writing without permission.

  • When you start typing an extract, write the time-code for your extract (e.g. 2:14 – 6:20) – this will prevent people writing the same section.

  • When you choose an extract to transcribe, check that other people haven’t transcribed that extract already.

  • Let’s use Arial size 11, not bold.

  • I suggest that you download the episode you are working on. This makes it easier to control the audio, and the time codes will be more accurate.

I will make text green after I have checked and corrected it :) So any green text has been given the Luke Thompson seal of approval. 

You don’t have to transcribe a whole episode – it takes ages. You can just do a few minutes. Check where the episode ends and just add 5 minutes.

Some episodes already have a full, unedited script that was generated by voice-to-text software. You can use that as a starting point. Just edit it.  Some of that computer generated text is hilarious. Computers are not very good at listening. For example, it hears: “Thanks very much for listening to Luke’s English Podcast. Don’t forget you can visit teacherluke.podomatic.com for more information” (of course it’s not podomatic any more, it’s wordpress), and the software writes: “Thanks very much for listening to music which bodes. Don’t forget you can visit each loop dogmatic dot com for more information.” which is just total nonsense.

When you’ve finished transcribing, just exit the document. Don’t forget to add time codes. It saves automatically.

I suggest you download an episode and use Windows Media Player or Quicktime. It’s easier and time codes are more accurate. I’ll eventually correct and publish transcripts.

You might be thinking, “why?”
It’s very good for your English – it’s very intensive practice:

  • It forces you to focus on every single word.
  • You’ll be more aware of connected speech.
  • You’ll pick up new words you didn’t realise you were missing
  • You’ll improve your spelling.
  • When I’ve corrected your work you’ll see what you missed and then close gaps in your knowledge.
  • You’ll benefit from intensive practice.
  • Other listeners will benefit a lot from the transcripts, so you’ll be helping lots of people and saving the world ;)
  • It’ll help me because I’ll be able to improve my service, so it’ll be like a way of paying me back for hard work I’ve been doing for free.

Don’t feel obliged to do it. No pressure. You can just listen if that’s what you like. But if you’ve got a little bit of time and you’re up for getting involved, go to the website and contribute 5, 10, 15 minutes of transcription. It’ll be very very very very much appreciated!

Some episodes are already fully transcribed. See the list here.

Phrasal Verbs
Also, I’ve been doing a phrasal verb a day and adding them to my website, with transcripts. Go to the phrasal verb menu and you’ll find them all. There’s an RSS feed for them, so you can subscribe. There are 20 episodes already.

That’s it!

To play this episode out, I’m going to play you a tune on the ukulele that I got for my birthday last year. I hope you like it. Here’s a video of my playing it. Thanks for listening.

  • Bajina

    Hello teacher Luke,
    I’m grateful for all your stuffs that you have been doing for us. This is very very great opportunity learning English for many learners.
    By the way, thank you so much for playing ukulele.

  • GentleMick

    Hi Luke
    Firstly, I would like to express my profound gratitude to you. The job you are doing here is absolutely amazing. I’ve been listening to Luke’s english podcast from August on a regular basis and I can feel that my listening skills have improved a whole lot.
    Now, I think it’s about the right time to improve my spelling skills and transcribing a podcast seems to be a great way of doing it. I would like to try my hand at transcribing episode number 330, this one about GTA, so I would be happy to see a google document for this episode waiting to be transcribed.

    Keep up the good work!

  • It is interesting like an exercise, though I agree with you, luke, it takes ages. Because when I don’t understand a word I need to listen to the sentence several times until I understand or not. when we finish the part we have chosen we need to verify our job and to modify our mistakes. and when we think that everything es the best we can produce, we need to put the text in a comfortable way to be read well. Yes, it takes ages but it is very interesting. The best is to make a team. I have tried and we are doing it though the team is not working really because people have duties which overcome their initial will. But at least, we are near to finish our first one. the 255 Taken 3 podcast transcription. And we have started the next one the 173 podcast….

  • Roberto

    Hi, I’d like ask this: if I’m not able to understand a word or a opiece of sentence what daes it happen? what should I write instead of the words I don’t understand?

    • If you don’t understand a word or phrase, you can just fill that bit with an underscore, like this _____________

  • Roberto

    Hi Luke, I’d like to try to write piece of transcript. Can I start to write without asking permission to anyone?
    Is it enought writing the time-code for the extract I’m going to write?
    Thanks a lot.
    Roberto from Rome

    • Yes, just make sure no-one has written it yet, then write the timecode you are going to write, and then start! That’s it.

  • Hi! I thought you might like to know about a website I just launched that caters to volunteer crowdsourced transcription. It’s called Fanscribed, and started out as a small open source project a few years ago. It’s in “beta test” mode right now while I fine-tune the user interface for each task, but if you’d like to try it, you are welcome to. At the very least, I’ll your podcast to the directory and link to your existing transcripts! :)

  • Hey Luke !
    Transcript Collaboration is a really great idea, I will share it with my community.
    Mr.Barrera Luna you’re absolutely right !
    Thanks again Luke !

  • Mr.Barrera Luna

    Hello, Mr Thompson, is wonderfull to read and to know how you are dedicate to your podcast, and Iam impressed to see that you ad a new challenge to the learners of English, specially my self for not been a native speaker is so interesting to hear and some time to read your transcripts, such a lot of work, I admire your work and most of everything your dedication to your work, thank you again.
    Two months ago I send you a mail to your e-mail, introducing my self and asking if can be possible, when you retund to London to make a podcast about the house of commons, can be very interesting, once I went there, this is about 25 years ago, and it was very exiting, to see how the lords were having some arguments about something which I cuden’t understand.
    By the way, I was born in Mexico, and now I have been living in Japan, in the north, Sendai, for more than 25 years!

    • Thanks for the message, and the encouraging comments! Yes, a podcast about the house of commons would be interesting. They’re surprisingly rude to each other in there!