Monday, 5 September 2011

PT's transcription workbook - the sound files

In the introduction to the workbook readers are informed that they can download recordings of all the words and discourses presented in the book from the web pages of CUP. I did this and listened to some random examples.

Most of the sound files in chapter 1 are numbered 1-1, 1-3, 1-4 etc.; so there's a minus sign between two numerals. The numbers for the examples in the workbook have a dot in between numerals, e.g. 1.1, 1.2 etc.

Sound file 1-1 is a recording identifying what the sound files are about: "Transcribing English words - Paul Tench - Centre for Language and Communication - Cardiff University", a voice says.
There is no sound file 1-2.
In sound file 1-3, which seems to correspond to example 1.1 in the book, we hear 14 English first names; the book, however lists 18 partly different ones. During the recording the speaker must have banged something against the microphone causing a noise. This is something that seemed to have happened fairly frequently. These bangs could easily have been removed by editing the sound waves before putting them online.

Sound file 1-4 contains the words 'look, loud, lure, letter, coffee". 1-4 and 1.2 do not correspond at all nor does 1-4 and 1.3. Very confusing!

1-5 and 1.2 do correspond, however, as do 1-6 and 1.6. Phew! Let's see if we can construct an equation: when you have 1.120 in the book, add 3, which gives 1-123 for the corresponding recording. Alas, there's no sound file with that number. What you find instead are numbers such as 1.258 and 1-118 (which incidentally corresponds to 1.109 in the book). Whenever I try to open 1.258 with the audio editor audacity, I get a memory allocation error and the program crashes. What a mess! The author and/or the Cambridge people must do something about it.
Until these complaints have been dealt with I cannot maintain my statement that I highly recommend the book. I was obviously too rash.

1 comment:

  1. Petr, you're right. The sound files are a total mess!!! And the quality of most of them is very poor, too!