Tuesday, March 27, 2007

ELAN (back to Discourse..)

On another note, I have been doing some transcribing using ELAN, which once someone shows you how to make it work and set it up, is fantastic for transcribing natural conversation data. I had found this a bit of a problem for at least two reasons. One was simply getting a program that would link the text to the sound file so that other people (or later myself) could easily and quickly verify the validity of the transcription and ( this is much more important I think in an endangered or lesser spoken language); the second thing is that I wanted the transcription at the end to be 'readable' to be at least partly presentable.

The reason that this was causing problems is because, say I want a line for every Intonation Unit (IU) in Ritharrngu transcription (this includes back channeling, like 'yeah' 'ahuh' etc.), and then for every IU I want to have the Kriol translation as given to me by the speakers at the time we all sat down again together and transcribed, then of course a Ritharrngu gloss- and maybe even an English free translation- add to this any notes ( door opens, music starts, person leaves) or meta-language analysis ( e.g sometimes a speaker may insist on a word that was said and I hear something very different on the recording etc), codeswitching etc. it becomes a mess quickly.

I know because I tried it, using Word ( as taught at UNM), which works well for English, or Spanish, or any well known language- but doesn't handle my data prettily, I also tried using CLAN, which connects the text to sound well, but I couldn't make it good for making a good transcript I could easily search and/or present to others. I also tried Transcriber, but again it had positives, but also many bugs that became tedious.

So! ELAN allows you to connect text to a sound file, and to create tiers, so i have it set up to have 3 speakers, all connected to the sound file ( 3 tiers) and then each of these has three tiers connected to it (Kriol, Gloss and English). Another tier (connected to the sound file) for meta data etc. The good thing is that you can exports any parts of it you want into pretty much anything (though apparently not easily into Tool Box- this is no dictionary making tool)- and it looks pretty!

PARADISEC has lots of other good links too.


Blogger bulanjdjan said...

Great to hear you've got ELAN all set up for multi-party conversations!

I've been using ELAN for monologues, which is great. Did you know you can also export a selection in ELAN to Praat to see the pitch etc?! It's SOOO handy for identifying intonation phrase boundaries! You need a program called EXMARaLDA. Download everything. I can send you instructions for getting it working, courtesy of Belinda Ross and Hywel Stoakes.

Back to transcribing in ELAN, I've been a bit unsure of how to set it up for transcribing multi-party conversation. I would love to use your template, if it's available!?!? Maybe you could email it to me?

10:30 am  
Blogger Wamut said...

any maybe to me too?

My elan skills are only basic and I haven't tackled any recordings with lots of conversation yet... your template might come in handy here too. :-)

1:43 pm  
Anonymous Bahrom said...

I've used ELAN and really like the ablility to view synchronized video, audio, transcription, and multiple tiers of parsing and glossing, but I found it a bit cumbersome to use for transcription- especially during sessions with my language consultant. I found that it was easier to use Transcriber, a free tool available at http://trans.sourceforge.net/en/presentation.php , and then import the transcribed text into ELAN and/or Toolbox.

12:35 pm  

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