Information for transcribers

Many of Halliday's talks have been transcribed already, but there are still a lot to do. Please help with this project by doing a fresh transcript. Please then email me your work and I will put it up on the site. (If you want to improve an existing transcript, skip down this page to "Information for proofreaders".)

You can transcribe in whatever way you like. However, if you want some advice and guidelines, here are some:

1) Check the transcript list before deciding on a talk to transcribe so you don't end up duplicating work.

2) Be as accurate and as faithful to the audio as you can. If you can't hear a word, leave it out with a [...] and put in an extra timestamp e.g. [3.49] so that readers can easily find the problem bit in the audio file. If you guess, put your guess in [square brackets?] with a question mark and, again, an extra timestamp.

3) Consider including paragraph numbers for ease of reference.

4) Consider including a timestamp at every 5-minute mark in the talk to make sections of talks easy to find and cross-reference with the audio. Bob Hardy has done this in his transcripts, for example (my bold):

"64. Now through the jargon of the Theosophical Society's members and others, this has been inverted and they have said 'persona' refers to this thing - this superficial mask, and as such personality is no good, and they talk about 'The Cult of Personality', 'The cult of Superficiality' and so on. Whereas, factually, and philosophically in its proper sense, the unique organizing Immanent Spirit is speaking through its vehicle (45.00) and 'persona' means 'that which is speaking through', it does not mean 'that which is spoken through'."

5) It is possible to buy foot pedals expecially for transcription purposes to stop and start the audio. I haven't tried it myself. Some may come with specialist transcription software included.

6) Use software specifically designed for transcribing. One good free program I have tried is Listen N Write. With this particular program, you can use the F5 button to pause and restart the audo while typing the text in another window. Every time you restart the audo it skips back two seconds so that you don't miss anything. Please contact me if you need any further support using this program. If you can't type very fast, you may like to try the Dragon speech recognition software. It can't be trained to recognise Eugene's voice, but you can train it to recognise yours and then repeat Eugene's words into the microphone and get text output that way. I know a couple of people who say this is a much quicker way of doing a transcript.

7) If you intend the transcript to be printed and read, you may like to allow enough of a margin for the binding. Pam Strong has some layout advice here.

Information for proofreaders

Please help improve existing transcripts. If there is a word in an existing transcript you think is incorrect, or the punctuation is wrong, or there are spelling errors, or whatever, please fix it. When changing anything that might have any effect on the meaning, don't just look at the transcript, check it against the audio! The audio is the original, or as close as we are going to get. Please also consider inserting time stamps so future editors and readers can cross-reference text with the audio more easily.

If you want to proof a transcript for which there is only a PDF you will have trouble getting the text out of the PDF document so you can edit it. If you copy and paste it into a wordprocessor or text editor, you will get line breaks (carriage returns) on every line. These are a pain to remove manually, even if you set your word processor to display non-printing characters. You can get around this problem by using this tool. Just copy the text to the clipboard, paste it in the upper box, click the button, and the new text will appear in the lower box without the line breaks. Then copy the new text to the clipboard and paste it into a wordprocessor. Another way to do this is by using Calibre, a free ebook management program available for Linux, Mac and Windows. You can use it to convert a PDF file to a text file, and, for me, it does a better job than the previous method because it preserves paragraph breaks. You have to import the PDF file into the calibre library and then convert it using the conversion tool. Select output as TXT. Please email me if you need any more help with this.

At the start of your revised transcript, please say who the original transcriber was, give your name as well (or a nickname of however you want to be identified), and the date if you like. Add any other information you may think useful to the reader. If you are happy for me to put your revised version on the site, please email it to me. I won't replace the original transcript. I'll put the revised one next to it and make clear it is a revision. I may review this policy if ever the number of transcripts and revisions becomes so large as to be confusing. That day is a long way off, though!