4.1 Introduction

By creating metadata for your audio, video, scanned text files, and photographs, you have made it possible to organize these files in many different ways: by date, by genre, by creator, and so on. You have also made it possible to search for content easily. This is the first step to providing access to your collection. 

In this section, we review how you can provide a deeper level of access through creating and sharing transcriptions and translations of the items. This module will focus on language documentation software for creating transcriptions and translation.  In discussing transcription, we will also review the use of practical orthographies.


  1. To learn the basics of the following software
    • SayMore
    • ELAN
    • Keyman
  2. To understand factors impacting orthographies and orthographic variation

By the end of this module you will have:

  1. Created a SayMore project
  2. Created an ELAN project
  3. Downloaded, installed, and set up Keyman for your language of choice
  4. Performed a practice transcription and translation for an audio or video file


Arkhipov, A. and N. Thieberger. (2018). Reflections on software and technology for language documentation. In M. Bradley, A. L. Berez-Kroeker, and G. Holton. (Eds.). Reflections on Language Documentation 20 Years after Himmelmann 1998. Language Documentation & Conservation Special Publication, 15, (pp. 140-149). Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawai‘i Press. Available from https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/bitstream/10125/24821/ldc-sp15-arkhipov.pdf

Baart, J. (2010). Selections from: A field manual of acoustic phonetics. Dallas, Texas: SIL International.

Lupke, F. (2011). Orthography development.  In P. Austin and J. Sallabank (Eds.). The Cambridge Handbook of Endangered Languages, (pp. 312-336). Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press. Available from https://assets.cambridge.org/97805218/82156/frontmatter/9780521882156_frontmatter.pdf

Moeller, S. (2014).  SayMore, a tool for Language Documentation Productivity. In Language Documentation & Conservation, 8, (pp. 66-74). Honolulu, Hawaii: University of Hawaii Press.  Available from https://scholarspace.manoa.hawaii.edu/handle/10125/4610