Transcribing old books – to EPUB

10 Mar 2013

Following up on my adventures with Jutoh (;postID=7263958418068438098  ) I decided to try transcribing several out of print items that I own in order to share them as EPUBs  freely with others.

The pilot project is a small book published by the headmaster of my village school in 1950’s “Walking in Hampshire ” which describes in fascinating detail the flora and fauna to be found during eight walks along footpaths and byways in Hampshire.. G.G. Pierce was a remarkable man and his work I think deserves greater acknowledgement. However, I will make that a topic for a later piece.

It is a tedious and time consuming process to copy type from a book. I am not a typist hence I sought an easier way – Dictation or ” Voice to Text ” technology. Windows 7 has this capability built into the OS you just have to find it and turn it on and connect a good quality headset dictation microphone.
I have in the past year, like so many others switched to Mac, which as of OS X does not yet include this capability. Nuance, a long time developer of this technology does offer this for Mac, at a high price, and many vocational  options. Beware though, that various Apple OS require different versions. I initially bought the then current Dictate 2.5 for Mac, which when I upgraded from from Lion to Mountain Lion no longer  worked correctly and it was necessary to upgrade at additional cost to Dictate Vers 3.0 to regain full functionality. Nuff said!

Once the software is installed and following a short guided training session it is simply a case of reading aloud into the supplied headset microphone. Yes! it does a terrific job with very few errors. In my experience these originate from poor pronunciation or slurred speech  or stem and from the occasional archaic word or Latin phrase and the like. I am Brit expat with a trace of a Hampshire accent which may it to the challenge 🙁

  • A few helpful hints perhaps:
  • Use a Double line space page format to make it easier to mark or note editing points between the lines of text.
  • Set page format  “Plain Text.”
  • Resist the temptation to edit as you dictate – come back to when your finished .
  • I prefer to edit from the printed page using pencil and high-lighting them, then go back to the computer to apply the changes.

Once satisfied with the raw text then it can be imported into Jutoh where final edit and formatting can be more efficiently applied.

Here a link to my original blog on using Jutoh.;postID=3312705112422571393

For those wishing further guidance here is a PowerPoint  presentation from the Course led at VIU:


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