Welcome to the web transcription tool (WTT)

This document provides some information on how to get started with WTT from the perspective of a tutor. You can find out more about the capabilities of an earlier (non-web) version of the tool in this paper.

In outline, a tutor uses WTT to provide a set of transcriptions for their students to attempt and to receive feedback on the progress of their students. Transcriptions may be chosen from the database of those publically-accessible on the system, or can be created by the tutor. Additionally, it is possible to copy and modify existing transcriptions. Each set of transcriptions is organised into a group. Students use the system by working their way through the transcriptions in that group. They may work through them in any order, and revisit them as many times as they wish. As a tutor, you can control the type and timing of feedback which the tool provides. Students register themselves with the system and associate themselves with you by entering the name that you have chosen for your group. They cannot register until you have created such a group. As tutor, you will be able to monitor your students' performance. In the near future, it will be possible to email your student group, and to receive more sophisticated feedback on their performance as individuals and as a group.

Getting started

The first step in using WTT is to create one or more groups. A group represents a collection of students who will be using the tool. So, for example, you may decide to set up a single group for your course, and set up a different group for each subsequent year. Additionally, you might set up a test group to allow you to become familiar with the students' view of the tool. In fact, it is suggested that once you have set up a group, you register with the tool as a student in order to explore their view of the system.

Creating a group

A group is created by following the create group option on the tutor's home page. You will be prompted for a name and a description. The name must be unique on the system since it will be used when your students register to associate them with you.

Adding transcriptions to a group

Once you have a group, you can add some transcriptions to it. Click on the group name in the tutor home page to arrive at a page describing the group and its members. it will look something like this:

Click on the transcriptions link to be presented with a table showing, in three columns

Click on the name of any transcription to arrive at the transcription page:

The transcription page allows you to do some or all of the following:

Once you have established a group and put some transcriptions in it, you can publicise the group name to your students and leave the rest to them! However, you may wish to create or modify either transcriptions or the timing of feedback. The next section deals with these aspects of WTT.

Creating or editing a transcription

Creating a transcription is a two-stage process. First, create a transcription header by providing a name, description and language/accent (currently, English_RP and Spanish are the only language/accents available, but we expect to add others in the near future. In fact, we would welcome volunteers).

Next, create the transcription itself. Alternatively, you may be modifying an existing transcription. You will be presented with an interactive tool which contains a keyboard, two text windows, and a large save button (NB in the most recent version, not shown in the figure above, the keyboard can be displayed and moved at will):

Note that it will take 10-30 seconds on a typical connection to load this page. This is a one-off delay each time you use WTT. It is also a place where you are most likely to experience problems if you do not have the Java plugin installed.

Input your text in the left hand window and its transcription in the right hand window. You are advised to save at regular intervals. The keyboard contains the subset of IPA symbols required for broad transcription in the selected language/accent combination. Many of the keys are bound to the normal keyboard, but for some you will have to use the onscreen keyboard. Key bindings are shown when your mouse is left hovering above each key.


The keyboard also contains several keys which allow the markup of alternative and optional pronunciations. To denote an optional symbol, enclose it in square brackets. To identify alternatives, use square brackets but separate alternatives with commas. You can see examples of both in the example above.

At present, only 1-for-1 alternatives are permitted, although we hope to remove this restriction in future version. One consequence of this limitation is that certain processes cannot be accommodated (eg schwa followed by /l/ versus syllabic-l as alternatives). The tool may be of limited use on advanced transcription courses in its current incarnation.

Feedback timing

When your students attempt transcriptions, they receive feedback from the tool each time they submit an attempt. (If you have not already done so, now would be a good time to register as a student in one of the groups you have set up and attempt a transcription, or to read the help for students). The tool can:

What's more, you can dictate when these types of feedback become available to the student by specifying the number of attempts the student must make before that particular form of feedback is available:

A typical scheme might be to show the error listing immediately, followed by words containing errors after a couple of submissions, followed by symbols in error, and finally making the correct solution available. Alternatively, for beginners, it may be useful to show the correct solution immediately. You can set the feedback schedule independently for each transcription, so it is possible to modify the feedback strategy as the student progress through the list of transcriptions. You can even turn off all feedback altogether so that the tool can be used for assessment.

Public transcriptions

Once you have created a transcription, you may decide to make it available for other tutors worldwide. This is an admirable thing to do! However, note that once a transcription is public, you can no longer edit it.

Checking the progress of your students

At present, you can determine who has registered, how many transcriptions they have attempted, and what their mean score is, averaged across their first attempts (note that this is not necessarily very meaningful unless you encourage them to make a complete attempt at each transcription before submitting it):

You can also examine each student's attempts in more detail:

Deleting things

You can delete transcriptions and groups that you have set up. You can also remove students from the system. The table explains the consequences of performing deletions.

object deletedconsequences
transcription It is no longer available in any of your groups, and hence to any students in those groups
group The group and all of the students in it are deleted. This is a major step!
student The student and all of their attempts are removed.

Getting involved in WTT

WTT can benefit from your input in various ways: