Sunday, November 18, 2018

Transcribe Helper macOS App in the app store

In recent years I've worked on and submitted many iOS apps to the Apple app store, but today, I've submitted my first app to the macOS app store.

My wife, Phillipa, is doing a PhD and interviewed numerous people. I was roped in to help transcribe those recordings. She had some software that worked with a dictation recorder and used a foot pedal to control pause/play and rewind but it was old and dreadful.

I've also been transcribing interviews of past winners of GovHack, so this was an application I needed. Searching the app store turned up nothing.

The app is a simple text editor but it lets you drag in an audio file and then control the playback with some keys that are not normally used in transcribing speech.

  • ] is play pause
  • [ backs up 5 seconds
  • \ plays at half speed without changing the pitch
The keys, and the number of seconds and slowness are all configurable. 

In the main window you see how far though you are, the number of words typed (one of my transcriptions was 10,000 words from a very fast speaker), and how far to go.

While writing software in Swift is a joy, compared to developing for iOS, the macOS AppKit framework is very dated and overcomplicated. Some tasks, like making the help bundle, are poorly documented and it was only some small clues in StackOverflow that helped me get through it.

I wrote this utility for myself, but I've had valuable feedback from Terry and Jill Brett.

While it's a simple utility, I've decided to ask for a small amount of money, AU$10, as I think it brings great value to those who need it. My thinking is that this is cheap enough to avoid purchase hesitation and just enough to encourage me to continue working on it.


Lyn b said...

I would like to thank you for this app, its simplicity and its keyboard facility.

It is perfect for transcribing difficult text.

However I have a query about using dictation on my Mac OS 10.14.3. I have followed the help instructions, unchecked relevant mute box and am able to activate the microphone withe the FN key. However, my speech does not appear on screen when I dictate.

Are you able to assist please.

Peter Marks said...


Does dictation trigger when you hit Fn Fn? In other words, does the little microphone with level indicator show up? You'll need to have the text editor active.