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Transana is the audio/video transcription tool developed at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Center for Education Research. It is used for the transcription and analysis of audio and video data, in our case, data obtained in the course of work studies of organisations.

Step through the tutorial in help.

Structure of Transana's objects:

  • database named
  • Series > Episode (maps to a media file) > Transcripts (can have many per Episode)
  • Keywords > Keyword group name > Keywords for coding
  • Collection > Collection name > Clips (selected time coded segments of media)


  • Ctrl-S to pause and restart the media with (configurable) 2 sec rewind. Think Stop-Start
  • Ctrl-A to pause and restart the media with a ten-second rewind
  • Ctrl-D to stop and pause (no rewind)
  • Ctrl-F to fast forward 10 seconds while playing
  • Left-click in time coded transcript to select a time coded segment.
  • Right-click in time coded transcript to play selected segment.

Mode of operation

From Transana's Help file... "The basic unit of analysis is actually the Transcript. This is because a single Episode (video) might have more than one Transcript in order to be analyzed in more than one way. For example, one transcript may represent field notes, a second transcript could be a verbatim record of the portions that the principle investigator finds interesting, and a third, phoneme-based transcript may cover a different part of the video that a graduate student is analyzing."

  1. Transcribe first, insert new line for each new speaker. Don't forget to click theEdit/Read-only select button from within the transcription window to enteredit mode, i.e. type the transcript. JeffersonianTranscription is recommended by the Transana team.
  2. Insert time codes (Ctrl-T to insert a time code at the beginning of a line) for later navigation. Keep with no more than one time code per line. Not every line necessarily needs to be time coded. Time coding links and synchronises the transcript with the media file and makes the later keyword coding stage easier.
  3. Analysis and coding of Clips via Collection. Once having done this you can produce a keyword map report, i.e. a report on keyword coded clips over the duration of the media (video or audio file). Search results for keywords can themselves be converted into collections

Transana stores versions of the media files used for transcription in the following location\Application Data\Transana 2\Waveforms\