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A transcription player is used to play audio content for the purposes of creating a text file. It can be either a stand-alone machine or a computer program. Most transcription players can be operated via a foot pedal with controls that can stop, start, fast forward, and rewind content. The transcriptionist will typically wear headphones when using the player.
Often transcription player software has several features that ease the process of transcribing sound. This can include the ability to slow down or speed up sound and shortcut keys for playback functions. Some players also have compatibility with programs that can fill in frequently used, complex terms such as those used in the medical field.
A software transcription player will often also have other features for organizing different transcription projects. The computer program may have the ability to mark completed projects, sort work in progress, or archive and prioritize items in the open project queue. It may also have the option to stop a file in a particular place so that the transcriptionist can pick up where he or she left off.
Some of the most common ways that digital files can be transferred to a transcription player include file transfer protocol (FTP), email, and direct download to the hard drive via disk or external drive. Files may also be downloaded from a handheld analog or digital player in a docking station. Popular file types include MP3, WMA, and WAV.
Transcription player software can be found for free or purchase. Many products will have both options available, so that there is a basic product and a version with more features. Typical things that may not be available on a free version of the software include support of certain types of audio files and the ability to transcribe video files.
A stand-alone transcription player may accept cassette tapes or digital files. The digital version of this player usually accepts the same kind of files as a standard computer. As with the computer option, it will usually have a foot pedal control and a jack for headphone use.
While they can still be found in use, cassette transcription players have greatly declined in popularity since the digital format has been available. Some drawbacks of using this format include the expense of purchasing tapes, extra repair needs due to moving parts in the machine and more risk of damage to files via tape breakage. If a cassette player has a docking station, it may be possible to transfer the audio into a digital file.