Humanities Lab

The Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology | Lund University


Welcome to CLAN 1

The course material for CLAN 1 consists of four sections (with or without subsections):

  1. Before You Transcribe - Getting Started with CLAN

  2. Transcribing - Three Different Ways of Proceeding

         A. Sound Before Transcript

         B. Sonic Mode

         C. Walker Controller

  3. Linking Sound to an Existing Transcript

         A. Mode > Transcribe sound or movie

         B. Mode > Sonic Mode

  4. Finalising Your Transcript


If you have not already done so, you will need to download CLAN and the needed Unicode font.

  → On an LU computer: Download CLAN from Self Service.

  → On your private computer: Go to the download page for CLAN.


Working with the Course Material

I recommend that you work section by section.

1) Watch the video(s).

2) Do the described step(s) for your transcription. You can always go back and play/pause the video or ask me questions as you go along.

1. Before You Transcribe – Getting Started with CLAN

2. Transcribing – Three Different Ways of Proceeding

You are now ready to start transcribing your recording. There are different ways of doing this in CLAN. Which one you choose depends on the type of material you have but also on your personal preferences. The following three videos present each process.


A. Sound Before Transcript

This means that you delimit utterances before you transcribe them. This method is particularly appropriate if the utterances in your recording are easily delimited with few overlaps.

B. Sonic Mode

In Sonic Mode you use the sound wave and the mouse to play back stretches of the recordings. This method is particularly appropriate if you have a transcription with a lot of pauses or other silent stretches. If you use Sonic Mode, you can link your recording to the transcript as you go.

C. Walker Controller

Walker Controller allows you to listen to the same section of the sound file several times in a row, with overlap before moving ahead.

A tip for when you transcribe long recordings using walker controller.

3. Linking Sound to an Existing Transcript

There are several reasons for linking the recording to the transcript, for example:

       - To listen to specific parts of the transcript during the analysis.

       - To check transcripts at later stages.

       - To send specific utterances to Praat for phonetic analysis.


If you have used Walker Controller to transcribe your recording you will need to link your sound to the transcript in a separate step. There are two ways of doing this:

A. Mode > Transcribe sound or movie

B. Mode > Sonic mode

You might need to adjust the transcript-recording synchronization.

4. Finalising Your Transcript

Once you have finished transcribing and synchronising there are three things left to do:

- Make sure you have included @End at the end of your transcript.

- Check your transcript.

- Save your transcript.


The Childes Website

The Childes website can be found here. The page contains more information than just the download links, e.g. manuals for the CLAN programs (PDF) and the CHAT format (PDF), a browsable database of transcripts and useful links.

Exercise Files

If you do not have a recording of your own to transcribe, you can use a file from the TalkBank database, e.g. one of these.