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What is Qualitative Research?
Analyzing Qualitative Data
Secure automated transcription for qualitative audio and video, with end-to-end encryption
Quirkos Transcribe is an add-on for Quirkos Cloud that provides 50 hours a month of secure, quick automated transcription. Upload an audio or video file and in just a few minutes, get a text transcription of your recording in your Quirkos project ready for analysis.
Quirkos Transcribe uses end-to-end encryption, meaning that the audio from your recording is encrypted on your computer before being sent to our servers, ensuring it is protected from unauthorised access and interception. It is stored in this encrypted state before being processed, and the encrypted text result is sent only to your Quirkos project.
Your account password is required to encrypt the upload and decrypt the results - this allows for a high level of security for confidential qualitative data, especially as recordings are usually not anonymised and can often identify the speaker. The transcription service is hosted on our own servers, and data is not processed by or shared with any third parties.
Quirkos Transcribe is able to cope with strong accents, multiple languages and noisy backgrounds. A one-hour recording will usually be returned in just 15 minutes, allowing you to quickly get on with reviewing and editing the transcript directly in Quirkos, exporting it to another platform, or analysing directly in Quirkos. It's the quickest, most secure, accurate and most affordable transcription solution available to qualitative researchers.
Quirkos Transcribe is available whenever you need it for your project, for a minimum period of 3 months. You can transcribe up to to 50 hours of audio a month, allowing you to not only transcribe recordings of interviews and focus groups, but your own verbal notes, meetings and other audio to help your research. Your transcription allowance is added monthly to your account. While we don't carry forward your unused minutes every month, 50 hours a month is still amazing value compared with other CAQDAS or automated transcription services. And all Quirkos Cloud users get 100 minutes for free to test the service for themselves!
The minimum subscription period is 3 months, and there is a discounted rate if subscribing for a whole year. Your Transcribe subscription rate will match your Quirkos Cloud subscription rate, so if you are currently subscribed to Quirkos Cloud at the annual rate, you will be billed annually for Quirkos Transcribe as well.
To add Quirkos Transcribe to your account, log in to the web app and choose the Account tab in the first page. You’ll have an option there to manage subscriptions, and add the Quirkos Transcribe subscription to match your Quirkos Cloud registration period – either quarterly or annually. You can cancel your Quirkos Transcribe subscription at any time, and add it again should you need it.
Watch a 3-minute introduction to Quirkos Transcribe.
For the moment the transcription service only works in the Quirkos Web browser app. If you prefer using the Desktop app, you can use the Web app just to do the transcription, and go back to the Desktop version as soon as the transcription is submitted and collected.
To add a transcription, you need to be logged in, and have a project open (create a new one if you haven’t already). Then click the main menu in the top right, choose Add Sources, then Transcribe.
You’ll be asked to confirm your account password (not your project password if one is set), as this is used to encrypt the audio file, and collect the transcribed text.
You will then be shown a file selection dialogue, allowing you to choose any audio or video file in a supported format, under 2GB in file size. Supported formats include most common formats, such as mp3, wav, ogg, avi, m4v, mp4, and most different types of audio encoding.
If video files are selected, the audio file will be removed and recoded, and only the audio uploaded for transcription.
Once you have selected a file, you will see a dialogue to set some parameters.
By default, the system will guess the language used (by looking at the first 30 seconds of the audio). However, if this does not work, or you want to specify a language, the 5 best supported languages can be manually chosen: English, Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese.
While more languages will technically work, error rates are much higher than for the 5 languages you can specify. These are the five languages which have the best accuracy, with ‘word-error-rates’ below at least 5% (although usually much lower).
There’s also an option to select ‘High-accuracy’ transcription mode. This is off by default, as the standard setting is usually very good. However, if you tried a transcription file and received a transcript with many errors, you can try again with the High accuracy model. This will at least double the time taken to process the transcription, but it does provide better accuracy for audio files with technical language, noisy environments, and different languages. For most transcriptions, the default options will be fine.
Clicking on the Transcribe button then starts the re-encoding, encryption and uploading process. Entirely on your own computer, the software will open the file to be transcribed, convert it into the correct audio format for the service, and encrypt it with the account password. This will take several minutes, depending on the speed of your computer, and the length of the file.
If a file upload fails at this stage, it is likely because the audio format of the file is not supported, and re-saving the file in a different format will likely help (especially if you convert to .mp3 or .ogg). Please also ensure your file is under 2GB in size.
This process ensures that the audio file is securely encrypted before it leaves your computer, ensuring it is very difficult to open if intercepted without the password. The time taken to upload the file will depend on the speed of your internet connection, but as only a low bit-rate audio file is sent (even if the original file is video), the process usually takes only a few minutes.
When this stage is complete, you will get a success notification, and a rough estimate of how long the file will take to be transcribed, based on the length of the file, and how busy the transcription server is at the time.
The transcription server operates by a ‘queue’ system, so if other people have files waiting to be transcribed, those will be transcribed first. However, we do not anticipate the system to have long waits in these scenarios. While you can only send one audio file at a time to be transcribed, you can add as many as you like to the queue, and they will be transcribed in order.
You can close your browser and log out as soon as the upload is completed, and the transcribed file will be ready for collection whenever you log back in again. You can also keep working on your project, or change projects, but note that results are only imported into the project you had open when you started the transcription process.
Once submitted, you can check the status of the transcription in the ‘Add Sources > Transcribe’ menu, which will show a list of all pending and completed transcripts awaiting collection in the open project. This will show either Pending, In Process, or Success. You will need to manually check this menu to see when the completed transcript has a ‘Success’ status. The transcript can then be collected by clicking on that file name.
You will be asked to provide your account password again, so that you can de-encrypt the transcribed text, and add it as a source by your project.
The text is stored in a fully encrypted state while it is waiting to be collected. For confidentiality and security reasons, uncollected transcripts will be deleted after a week, but you can resubmit the file at any time.
The transcribed text will then be added to the project as a source, which you can review and edit within Quirkos and start coding right away. You can also export the text, either by copy-pasting, or choosing the Export as Word or Excel options. It’s yours, and there are no restrictions on use!
For the transcription service to work, you need to have ‘minutes’ available on your account. All users of Quirkos Cloud get 100 minutes for free to try the service.
Beyond this, you will need to subscribe to Quirkos Transcribe, which you can do using the Account tab in the Web app.
The account tab also shows how many minutes you have left for the month. For Transcribe subscribers, 3000 minutes are credited each month, which allows for 3000 minutes of audio to be transcribed. This does not carry over, and the date that it renews each month is dependent on your subscription renewal date.
When you have used your minutes for that period, no more audio files can be uploaded. Note that if you only have 40 minutes left, you cannot upload a 60 minute audio file – the whole file will be rejected.
At the moment, Quirkos Transcribe does not automatically identify multiple speakers, or allow you to add recurring technical terms that might not be recognised. However, we are hoping to add these features in the future.
If you have any problems, feedback or questions about the transcription service, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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