I know that similar questions have been asked before, but the answers are either irrelevant or outdated.

I'm wondering if anyone knows of a a good program for Ubuntu that would allow me to manually transcribe interviews while listening to audio. When I used Windows, I was able to use the Sony Digital voice editor, and I never needed to leave my word processor to stop the audio. That's the kind of functionality I'm looking for. I don't want a speech-to-text program, which would be useless for the multilingual interviews I'm transcribing.

Audacity seems to not have macros that I can use to just pause and rewind without clicking on the window itself.

Transcriber, a software recommended in other threads, seems to be wholly non-functional and hasn't been updated in a long time. After it is installed it is unusable.

Any other recommendations?

  • Closest would be pocket sphix, but that is just a speech to text program.
    – Panther
    Feb 22, 2013 at 18:20

5 Answers 5


VLC seems to work well. After installing VLC go to "Tools", then select "Preferences", then "Hotkeys" and from there you can change/edit the "Global" commands. So after you configured it you can type from Libreoffice Writer (or any word processor) while listening (play, pause, short step backwards) to your audio file without clicking on the VLC Window.

Hope this helps :-)


I realise that this question is 6 years old but it's still getting views.
I authored 4 Linux Transcriber packages.
All have the ability to be controlled using a foot-pedal.
All have the usual control facilities, jump back/forward, pause, slower,faster etc.
All offer styled timestamps.
All use LibreOffice (LO) as the word processor, with LO macro buttons and hotkeys to control the transcription software.

Footswitch2 and Footswitch2basic are Vlc based for audio/video, with Footswitch2 offering multiple clients options/rates etc

Footswitch3 and Footswitch3basic are Gstreamer based for audio/video.

They are all written in python3 on Linux Mint 19.1 (Ubuntu 18.04)

They are all free and can be downloaded from sourceforge.net
You can access them through the following link. https://sourceforge.net/u/rolfofsaxony/profile
or simply search for them by name with your favourite web search engine

Happy transcribing!


As Andy mentions, VLC is a good option, but if you want something more tailored towards the needs of transcribers, check out Transcribe. It has both dictation and audio control built into its text editor. Works only on Chrome, but can work completely offline (after you load it once, no Internet required):



Try Transcribear. It's free web based editor that includes media player and you don't need keep switching between your desktop player and your text editor when transcribing recordings.


If you want to try an automatic online tool, you could check out Maestra. You'd also be able to manually edit the text after it is automatically transcribed.

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