What are Cassette Transcribers?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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Cassette transcribers are electronic devices intended for use by someone who is transcribing audio recordings from cassettes onto another medium. These devices are used by people transcribing recordings for a number of different professionals, including medical doctors, lawyers, and lab workers. There are a number of different features that various models of transcribers can include, but in general they will allow the user of the transcriber to fast forward and rewind during cassette playback, pause the recording, and easily track the progress of a cassette recording. Cassette transcribers were especially popular during the late 20th century as cassette recorders became affordable and easy to use, but digital recordings largely replaced cassettes in the early 21st century.

There are a number of different uses for cassette transcribers, though they are typically used by people who transcribe recordings professionally. A number of professions use cassettes to record audio, which is then transcribed by someone else. Transcription is a process by which a person will listen to an audio recording and either write or type out what is recorded, creating a visible record of what was said. The use of cassette transcribers makes this process easier, as transcriber devices are designed to not only allow playback of recordings, but make transcription easier.


Different models of cassette transcribers can include a number of different features, though certain elements are common for most transcribers. These devices will typically allow a user to easily pause a recording and move forward or backward in the recording quickly and easily. Some cassette transcribers include a foot pedal that can control the pause, fast forward, and rewind features; this allows the transcriber to manipulate the recording without removing his or her hands from a keyboard. Cassette transcribers can also feature a tape counter that allows the user to see a timer for the tape, allowing him or her to more easily move to a particular section of the recording.

While cassette transcribers were quite popular in the late 20th century, digital recording made the process of audio recording and transcription easier in the 21st century. Though cassette recording may still be used by some individuals, digital recordings can be easier to transport and may be easier for a person to transcribe as well. A digital recording can be sent to a transcriber via email, and the recording can be played through the computer during transcription. This removes the need for additional hardware, such as a cassette transcriber, and some programs can automatically transcribe audio recordings into digital texts.


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