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Transana: software for the transcription of video data

Chris Fassnacht and David Woods, of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a program to assist in the transcription and analysis of video data. It's called "Transana," and it is freely available at It's an 80 MB download, mostly because it includes sample video data and transcripts to use in the accompanying tutorial. It's available as both a single-user application and a multi-user version which allows a local workgroup to share access to a single dataset. Transana is designed to facilitate the transcription and analysis of video data. It provides a way to view video, create a transcript, and link places in the transcript to frames in the video. It provides tools for identifying and organizing analytically interesting portions of videos, as well as for attaching keywords to those video clips. It also features database and file manipulation tools that facilitate the organization and storage of large collections of digitized video.

More specifically, it allows users to:

  • Import and view MPEG-1 videos.
  • Easily create transcripts of the videos. Special symbols for Jeffersonian Transcription are readily accessible, but are not required.
  • Navigate through videos using several different mechanisms including a precise Waveform image.
  • Link frames in the video to positions in a transcript by imbedding video time codes in the transcript.
  • Automatically highlight the relevant portion of the transcript while the video plays.
  • Select analytically interesting portions of the video, which can be organized into meaningful groups.
  • Define keywords and apply them to portions of video.
  • Search for instances of keywords and see the video clips to which they have been applied.
  • Transfer video files to and from a Storage Resource Broker (SRB), a computer system with massive storage capacity
  • While Transana was created specifically with conversation analysts in mind, it also has features that make it useful for other forms of qualitative interactional and language-based analysis.
  • Currently, Transana only runs on the Windows operating system, but as time and resources allow, they plan to make it cross-platform (Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux) and open-source, so that it will be not only free (as it is now) but also freely available as source code.

Transana is a product of the Digital Insight Project (, and it is being developed with funding from the National Science Foundation through the National Partnership for Computational Infrastructure at the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the TalkBank Project at Carnegie Mellon University. Development is headquartered at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.