Try Transcript 2.5 to Transcribe Old Documents

Recently, I learned about a new transcription tool while listening to DearMYRTLE’s GenTools Study Group. I had never heard of it before. It’s called Transcript 2.5, developed by Jacob Boerema in the Netherlands.

Having deep colonial American lines, many documents have surfaced through the years. The problem is that, being digital versions of the originals, the handwriting is not always the easiest to read.

My usual M.O. is to print out a hard copy, set it next to my keyboard and then begin typing, just like in the days-gone-by era of secretaries typing up notes for the boss.

There certainly isn’t anything wrong with doing it that way, except I always realize what a waste of a piece of paper it is because I toss the paper as soon as I finish the transcription. The digital image is save and backed up.

Transcript 2.5 eliminates that paper waste. I downloaded the program from Jacob Boerma’s website. Note that this program is free for personal use. The developer makes a point to mention that use even by non-profit organizations requires purchasing Transcript Pro for 15 euros, which is about $16.38 at today’s exchange rate.

After installation, I opened the program and this box appeared:

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Transcript 2.5 New Screen

Transcript 2.5 will open rtf, text and image files. I chose the probate file of Jonathan Shepley, who died in Middlesex County, Massachusetts in 1749. His son, Oliver, over age 14, refused or neglected to choose his guardian.

On the screen above, I went to FILE, chose OPEN IMAGE FILE and then collected this probate page from a genealogy folder on my computer.

Notice that the image can be scrolled up and down or left and right. I am ready to go. I just click the cursor in the work box below and start typing.

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Typing in the Information

Notice the toolbar above the image window. It is much like Word, with buttons for bold font, italics, underscore, strikeout, etc. There are even choices for superscript and subscript, background color and text color. Font style and size can also be changed.

When I was ready to save my work, I went to FILE and SAVE AS, which only gives the option to save as rtf. Another option for saving would be to copy and paste it into a Word document.

Mr. Boerema did a fantastic job developing this program. Only one work screen is needed and no paper copy is necessary. The document in the work window can be enlarged or made smaller for easier viewing and because the features mimic those in Word, there really is no learning curve involved here.

If you have documents to transcribe, I highly recommend trying out Transcript 2.5.

The Transcript Pro version offers many extra features, including the ability to work on more than one project at a time. With the dollar to euro value now almost equal, I am even considering purchasing the Pro version. There is a paypal link on the website.

Thank you, DearMYRTLE! I always learn new things listening to your hangouts.

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