To load your video, locate the transcript you want to work on. Although Transana is designed for analyzing video and audio, you actually do a significant portion of your analytic work from the transcript.

When you create an episode, Transana automatically creates a blank transcript. Even if you are choosing not to transcribe, or have not transcribed anything yet, you double-click on a transcript to load the existing audio or video file.

A single episode might have more than one transcript because it is being analyzed in more than one way. For example, one transcript may represent field notes, a second transcript could be a verbatim record of the portions that the principle investigator thinks are interesting, and a third, Jeffersonian transcript may cover a different part of the video that a graduate student is analyzing using Conversation Analytic techniques. In this circumstance, you have one episode, but Transana must know which of the three transcripts you want to work with. Thus, you load a media file by selecting one of the associated transcripts.

Loading A Video


To load a video, use the Data window.

Click the + (on Windows) or triangle (on Mac) next to the Libraries node. You see all the library records you have created.

Click the + or triangle next to a library you have created. You see all the Documents and Episodes in that library and any library notes you may have created.

Click the + or triangle next to the episode of your choice. You see all the transcripts for that episiode and any episode notes you may have created.

Double-click a Transcript.

Controlling Media Playback


Transana offers a number of options for controlling media playback, especially once you have a time-coded Transcript with which to work. You can control the playback from the Media window, the Visualization window, and the Transcript in the Document window. Spend some time now trying out the different methods of starting and stopping media file playback, beginning with the Media window, as described below.

From the Media Window


Press the green Play button in the lower left corner of the Media window. You will notice that when the media file is playing, the button changes from Play to Pause, and that when the media file is paused, the button changes from Pause to Play. You will also note that there is a media position slider in the Media window’s control bar which indicates the media player’s current position and allows you to change the current position of the media file.

Notice that if the Transcript is in read-only mode, Transana highlights the segment of the Transcript that corresponds to the current location of the media file as the media file plays. You will also notice that it is the time codes that define the segments that are highlighted as the media plays.

From the Visualization Window


You can start, pause, and position the media file from the Visualization window. This is useful for certain kinds of analysis, and also allows you to position the media file according to elapsed time. If you are on a Mac, click once on the Visualization window to make it the active window. (This is not necessary on Windows.) Left-click in the waveform to set the media file position, then right-click to start playing the media file. Right-click again to pause it. Remember these two facts:

  • Left-click selects your location.
  • Right-click starts and pauses media playback.

Notice when you move your mouse pointer over the waveform, Transana shows you the corresponding time on the Visualization window status bar, next to the label “Time.” (On the Mac, you may have to activate the Visualization window by clicking on it first.) This is elapsed time from the beginning of the video to the point where the mouse pointer is located. As you move your crosshair cursor through the waveform, the time changes.

When you click on the Waveform to select a position in the media file, the “Current” time indicator switches to the selected time, and if Transana is in read-only mode, the segment of the Transcript that corresponds to your place in the media file will be highlighted.

You can also play a selected portion of the media file from the Visualization window. Hold the left mouse button down in the visualization and drag your mouse over a small portion of the waveform. Release the left mouse button, then right-click in the visualization. Just the highlighted selection plays. If you are having difficulty understanding a portion of the media file during transcription, it can be very helpful to highlight that portion in the Visualization window and right-click the waveform repeatedly (or press the Loop Playback button) to have that segment play over and over until you can decipher it. (If you press the Loop Playback button, you must press this button again to end looping.)

From the Transcript in the Document Window


A time-coded Transcript provides the easiest way to play individual segments of your media file.

If you are on a Mac, left-click in the Document window to make the Document window the active window. (This is not necessary on Windows.) Make sure the Transcript, not a Document or Quote, is the selected tab in the Document Window.

Left-click anywhere in the Transcript to select a time-coded segment, then right-click anywhere on the transcript to start playing the video. Transana plays from the time code preceding the cursor in the Transcript to the time code following the cursor.

Advanced Note: The behavior here is subtly different depending on whether you are in read-only mode or edit mode. In read-only mode, the media file moves as soon as you left-click in the Transcript. In edit mode, the media file moves only when you right-click in the Transcript. This actually makes a huge difference when you are transcribing media files.

If you want to play a larger segment that crosses time codes, click and drag to highlight the desired section of the Transcript, then right-click to play the highlighted part.

You can also play from one segment of the media file through to the end. To do this, left-click anywhere in the Transcript. On Windows, press Ctrl and right-click. On the Mac, hold down the “Cmd” key along with the Ctrl key while clicking the Transcript.  Transana plays from that point in the media file to the end, or until you stop playback with another right-click.

Now put the Transcript in Edit Mode by pressing the ‘hand holding a pencil’ Edit button. Now play the video again using Ctrl-right-click on Windows or Command-click on the Mac. Notice that you do not get word-tracking when the Transcript is in Edit mode. Right-click the Transcript again to stop playback. Then take the Transcript out of Edit mode.

When you are reviewing your data, the linkage between the Transcript and the media file can be very useful. It’s really nice to be able to read what is being said as the media file plays, to search for words in a Transcript, and to be able move the media file to the spot that corresponds with something interesting you’ve found in a Transcript. However, when you’re transcribing a media file or editing a Transcript, you don’t want the Transcript cursor, which controls your editing position, to move when you play the video. You want your cursor to remain stationary so you can edit the Transcript easily. this is one reason why left-click positioning in the Transcript causes the media file position to change when you are in read-only mode, but not when you are in edit mode. (Note: Right-clicking in the Transcript does change the media position, whether you are in edit mode or not.)