Express Scribe or FTW Transriber? Which one is better?
Frankly speaking, I can’t give a straight answer when it comes to choosing the best audio or video transcription software.
I’m a big fan of the Express Scribe transcription software but I’ve also heard really nice things about FTW Transcriber.
For this reason, I’ve decided to do some research and highlight the best features, similarities, and differences for each one.
Let’s start with Express Scribe
Express Scribe Transcription Software
Express Scribe is an easy-to-use transcription software that can work both on PC and Mac computers. and has the following features and benefits.
1. Variable playback speeds
When working on certain files you will realize that a speaker or a number of speakers are either talking too fast or too slow. In such a case, you can use the Express Scribe playback feature to increase or reduce the speed to whatever percentage you like. It is recommended to have the speed at 90% if the speaker is talking faster than normal.
2. Express Scribe Supports Both audio and video file formats
One thing I love about Express Scribe is that it accepts both audio and video recordings. FTW Transcriber has a similar function but you can’t access it with the free version.
3. System-wide hotkeys
With Express scribe you can configure the hotkeys in such a way that you don’t keep switching between the word processor and the software. You just hit ‘play’, ‘stop’, ‘rewind’, or ‘forward’ until you finish whatever you are working on. Doing this cuts the amount of time you take to transcribe in half.
In addition to hotkeys, Express Scribe supports USB Foot Pedal configurations. If you have the capital to invest in a foot pedal it is highly recommended that you do so. This will increase your speed and overall productivity.
4. Easy integration with Word Processors
I love how easy it is to integrate this software into Microsoft Word documents. With just a few clicks, you are ready to go. Other Word processors are also compatible.
5. Express Scribe Has a Typing area
The software has a typing area that you can use if you do not have Microsoft Word installed on your computer.
6. Volume adjustment
There are times when you will receive files that have low volume. In such cases, raise the volume until you can understand clearly.
7. Load multiple files
You can load multiple files on Express scribe with ease. If they are 10 files in the ‘My Documents’ section just highlight them and click ‘upload’ and they will all be uploaded together.
8. Store and manage many files
If you finish working on a file just hit a drop-down menu that says “Done (No Reply)” and the file will be removed without necessarily having to delete it from your computer drive.
9. Set to delete files after a certain period
Speaking of files, you can change a setting to automatically delete a file after you are finished with it.
10. Express Scribe Mini button
When working on a file, I find it necessary to just hit the mini button and reduce the size of the interface to avoid unnecessary distractions. I can do this with just a click of a button, unlike FTW Transcriber where they ask you to upgrade before getting access.
If a client requests timestamps, insert them into your Word document using Express scribe.
- It can automatically download recordings on demand from a folder on your computer, via email or FTP server.
- It is able to automatically send finished work to the person who dictated it. Ensure you get this set up the right way.
- It has the ability to dock portable recorders to load audio/video recordings.
- The software interface is organized and easy to navigate. FTW has its buttons in a disorderly manner.
- Express Scribe lacks the ability to play files instantly like FTW does. You must first download and then upload them to the software.
- If you download the Pro version it expires in 15 days and limits you on what you can do with it unless you download the older free version that still supports features like video files.
- You have to pay $7.95 per license if you want Silver Support and $57.95 per license for Platinum Support. This is not fair to the transcriber considering you pay for the software itself.
FTW Transcriber Software
Price is $1 per month if you pay for 24 months in advance, $0.86 per month if you pay for 36 months in advance, or $10 per month if you choose to pay for just one month.
FTW Transcriber is a transcription software that offers great time-saving features like automatic timestamps and superior sound quality according to their website.
Let’s look at features and benefits.
- They claim to have superior audio quality meaning the files will be clearer in their program than they would be in other programs.
- You can automatically add timestamps and frames to your transcription just like you would with Express Scribe
- It has the ability to save different timestamps and hotkey settings for different clients. I think this is such a clever idea if you are working for various clients.
- If you are working with a team you can easily send them timestamp/hotkey settings to ensure uniformity in all of your work.
- FTW Transcriber can now play a huge range of file types including DSS/DS2
- It is created in such a way that it is compatible with all word processors but the default processor is Microsoft Word. That is more customized and looks a little different than the normal blank word document that we all know.
- With Express scribe you have to start your timestamps from [00:00:00] but with FTW you can start at any point you choose.
- You are allowed to set hotkeys for common transcription words/phrases like ‘unclear’ or ‘overtalking’.
- It has the ability to play video files with images displayed. The videos are shown in the same way you would view them on VLC or Windows Movie Maker.
- This is one feature that I loved about this software, the ability to play files either on your local drive or on remote servers without downloading them first.
- It can either be controlled with hotkeys or foot pedals.
- If you have local files on your computer they will start playing instantly. No need to upload them like you would on Express Scribe. DSS/DS2 files cannot play instantly
- Permanent customer support is prompt and friendly. In case of any issues, message customer support for assistance.
Cons of Using FWT Transcriber
- Annoying advertisements at the bottom of the FTW interface if you are using the free version.
- It lacks noise filtering ability.
- If you pay on a monthly basis it is more expensive compared to Express Scribe. It is $120 per year unlike a $50 one-time payment made on Express Scribe Pro.
- You must download Media Player Classic HC with Adobe Shock Wave in addition to having this software.
- Files will play up to 15 minutes in the free version.
- You cannot minimize the software in the free version.
Getting started with Express Scribe Software
If you are looking for free open source transcription software that is both convenient and easy-to-use, go for Express Scribe. I would not recommend a beginner buy FTW Transcriber just yet. Express Scribe has so many features that are free that cannot be accessed in the free FTW Transcriber.
However, I would recommend FTW Transcriber to experienced transcriptionists who handle a wide range of projects, and who need more features that this software can offer.
Do you use Express Scribe transcription software or FTW Transcriber? Feel free to share your transcription software experiences in the comments area below.