Transcription equipment

Transcription equipment

There a few pieces of equipment that are required in order to transcribe audio into text. We have complied a list of equipment and their uses. We have mentioned a couple of brands but it may be worth doing your own research to see what suite your needs and budget.


It is essential to buy a good quality set of headphones. Not only will the audio be clearer so you’ll spend less time rewinding the tape but the connections will be made out of better quality materials meaning you’ll get less audio noise and other problems. At TypeOut head office we insist on our team using Sennheiser headphones – Sennheiser HD 201 headphones start from around £20 to £30.


A foot pedal is used to fast forward, play and rewind the audio via a piece of equipment that you can control with your feet. This enables you to type much faster as you do not have to keep pausing to rewind the tape. Most brands have fully customizable features so that you can assign switches to different functions. We recommend using a good brand – this is going to be something you’re going to be using for a long time so it’s worth getting good quality. At the TypeOut headoffice we use Olympus foot pedals.

It needs to be USB compatible as most computers have USB connections these days. At TypeOut head office we use the Olympus RS28H footswitch. You’ll need a solid foot pedal.


Apart from the two pieces of hardware above, you’ll need a computer program to be able to listen to and control the audio files. Pre-installed Windows software like media player will not do for transcribing. There are many pieces of software out there, some of which come bundled with the foot pedal, others you can download from the internet. Some of the most popular ones are Olympus software & Express Scribe. Some are free and some you have to pay for, with the purchased software there are more features and they are more compatible with different types of audio files.

As well as the transcription software it is also useful to download some free audio enhancement software and audio file conversion software. These would need a little research but if you can convert files you have the flexibility to be able to transcribe all types of audio / video files – meaning you are not restricting yourself. Sound enhancement software can be great if you have been given a poor quality audio file to transcribe – you can boost the audio or clean it up.