TalkBank Chatter


Chatter is a cross-platform application that performs strict validation of CHAT transcripts and also can convert CHAT to XML conforming to our XML schema. It is written in pure Java except for a system-dependent portion that calls the CLAN editor.


Chatter requires that at least Java 11 be installed on your computer. Double check that you have the right version by typing

java -version

in the terminal window. The free Temurin build of Java is recommended, if you don't already have Java installed.

On macOS using Homebrew

If you already have Homebrew installed, the easiest way to install temurin is to use Homebrew with

brew install --cask temurin


This Platform-independent JAR is suitable for Windows, Linux, and all other platforms that support Java.

Important note: the "send to CLAN" functionality of Chatter is currently not available on Unix, Windows, or on macOS Mojave (earlier versions of macOS are supported, as is Catalina when running CLANc). Chatter is currently not available as a Mac OS X app. This may change in the future.


In GUI mode, Chatter operates by taking a folder and processing all the CHAT files inside the folder, recursively through any subfolders. (The Macintosh application allows drag and drop of a folder to the Chatter application icon.)

The folder, call it chatfolder, is transformed to a parallel folder of XML files, chatfolder-xml.

If there are any CHAT validation errors, each one is listed in the GUI window. Double-clicking on an error line will launch CLAN (in the case of Macintosh and Windows) to load the CHAT file and highlight the line at which the error was detected.

A file 00errors.cex will also be left in any subfolders in which errors were detected.

The Redo button allows a convenient validate-edit cycle.

Command Line Version

For this version, there is no need to unpack chatter.jar, since it is processed directly by java. It processes the Java class org.talkbank.chatter.App. The usage for this command is:

java -cp path/to/chatter.jar org.talkbank.chatter.App [options] [file or dir]

and the options are:

This works most simply by putting chatter.jar and your input files or folder into the current working directory. In that case, if you want to convert a folder of *.cha files called myfiles to *.xml, the command would be:

java -cp chatter.jar org.talkbank.chatter.App -inputFormat cha -outputFormat xml -tree myfiles -outputDir myoutput

Current version

The current version is 3.0.1 of June 19, 2024.

The change log.