Running the transcriber

Steps to transcribe:

  1. Provided the steps in Installation have been completed and you are in the same Conda/virtual environment that MFA was installed in.
  2. Run the following command, substituting the arguments with your own paths:
mfa transcribe corpus_directory dictionary_path acoustic_model_path language_model_path output_directory


acoustic_model_path can also be a language that has been pretrained by MFA developers. For instance, to use the pretrained English model, first download it via mfa download acoustic english. A list of available acoustic models will be provided if you run mfa download acoustic. See Pretrained models for more details.


language_model_path should specify an ARPA-format ngram language model. Note that the text should be all lower case in the arpa file, as MFA uses all lower case.

Options available:


Display help message for the command

--config_path PATH

Path to a YAML config file that will specify the transcription configuration. See Transcriber configuration for more details.

--speaker_characters NUMBER

Number of characters to use to identify speakers; if not specified, the aligner assumes that the directory name is the identifier for the speaker. Additionally, it accepts the value prosodylab to use the second field of a _ delimited file name, following the convention of labelling production data in the ProsodyLab at McGill.

--temp_directory DIRECTORY

Temporary directory root to use for aligning, default is ~/Documents/MFA

--num_jobs NUMBER

Number of jobs to use; defaults to 3, set higher if you have more processors available and would like to align faster


The aligner will print out more information if present


The aligner will run in debug mode


Forces removal of temporary files in ~/Documents/MFA prior to aligning. This is good to use when aligning a new dataset, but it shares a name with a previously aligned dataset. Cleaning automatically happens if the previous alignment run had an error.