Learning Resources

Mobile Labs – Tutorial – CLAN

Here you can learn the basics of CLAN. You have the choice between taking the course consisting of 12 short lessons: Learn CLAN Course or watch the Getting Started in 10 Steps tutorial video below.

Getting started in 10 steps

Place the video (.mov) or audio (.wav) file to be transcribed in a folder.

a. A command window will open > close it once you have checked the library is set to CLAN/lib.

b. Open a new file (File > New)

c. Save the new CLAN file to the folder where you have placed the video/audio file, giving the CLAN file the same name as the video/audio file when you do so (without the .mov/.wav extension).

Header lines: you must now fill out the Header Lines for the CLAN file.

a. @Begin Do not add anything

b. @Options: CA

c. @Media: The name of the video/audio file (without extension). This is followed by a comma, a space and then either ‘video’ or ‘audio’

d. @End Do not add anything . The transcription should be done above this line. It is always the last line of the file.

e. Go to Tiers > ID headers and fill in the fields marked by an asterisk. The data you input will be used to generate values for the following headers: @Languages, @Participants, and @ID, which are also mandatory header lines and will be generated automatically. -Note that languages should be given in three letter codes (e.g. ‘eng’ for ‘English’). You can add all participants right away (using the Create new ID option) or click Done and return and do more participants later.

f. Run the (esc+L) check command to ensure you have filled everything out correctly.

g. Save the file

Select Mode > Transcribe audio or video (or press F5). The audio/video file opens and plays. Click anywhere in the transcript editor window to stop playback.

Select Mode > Sonic Mode or press Esc+0. The audio of the data file (whether video or audio) will be displayed as a graph (‘waveform’) on the screen. When using a video file, the first time you select Sonic Mode, you will see CLAN exports the audio from the video file (exporting video). Wait for the program to finish this process before you move on.

a. Adjust the amount of audio visible on the screen with +H and –H (horizontal)

b. Adjust the visual amplitude of the audio with +V and –V (vertical)

Should the audio be stereo and you would like to combine both channels (default), select Edit > CLAN options > Show mixed stereo sound wave

a. Create a line before ‘@End’

b. Highlight a section of the audio by using the mouse. Listen to it again by selecting ⌘ and clicking on the highlighted area.

c. Adjust the length of the highlighted section by selecting Shift and clicking to the left or right of the highlighted section. Clicking outside the original selection expands the selection, clicking inside the selection shortens it.

d. Link the highlighted section to the transcript: you either click on the button to the left of the waveform display (·S), or use the shortcut cmd+i (Insert bullet), to add a bullet point (ctrl+i for Windows).

e. Generate a speaker ID in the left margin, either manually or (better) with the following shortcuts: cmd+1, cmd+2, cmd+3, etc. (ctrl+1 etc. for Windows)

f. Transcribe the audio

g. Once a bullet has been added to the transcript, you can ‘cmd + click’ on it to play the linked video/audio section.

h. Triple-click a bullet to highlight the corresponding section of the waveform display. This is also what you do when you resume transcription after a break, where you have saved, closed and reopened the file.

Speaker change should always occasion a new line. Hit ‘enter’ to start a new line. Generate a new speaker ID in the same way as above. Pauses between speakers should always have their own line.

Occasionally you may need to use certain characters that have been designated to represent certain aspects of the data (e.g. overlap, cut off) or of the transcription process (e.g. inability to hear what is said). The Special Characters menu can be opened in Windows > Special Characters. To add a special character, simply double click on it.

Overlapping speech is marked by the special characters provided for this. It is no problem that bullets overlap because of two or more speakers speaking simultaneously. You can ‘open’ bullets by typing Esc+A, which will show the beginning and end of a bullet in milliseconds from the start of the recording. You can fine-tune bullets by editing them manually.

Between the transcription lines, you may insert comments or descriptions of embodied actions by adding Dependent Tiers. These are generated as %com: or %ges: in the left margin, or some other three letter code following a %-sign.

NOTE: It is advisable to set CLAN to periodically auto-save your work. Select Edit > CLAN Options. In the top box, set the checkpoint to, for example 100. This will automatically save your work after every 100 characters.

Download manual

Download the CLAN Manual – for workshop training by Spencer Hazel and Janus Mortensen (Roskilde University, 2015).

The manual includes a number of introductory instruction exercises that provide users of the
transcription linking software CLAN entry points into using the tool.