From investigating insurance fraud to cheating spouses to murder cases, a private detective’s work is extremely varied. Much of their job involves conducting interviews. These detectives are required to interview different persons associated with the case for obtaining firsthand information. Interviews are conducted either through telephone or in person. In either case, a complete transcription of the interview is inevitable if the investigation ends in a court hearing. To be specific, we can say interviewing and transcription are critical for private detectives.
Detectives may need to conduct either one-to-one interviews or interviews with multiple persons during their investigation. If we talk in legal terms, they may have to interview plaintiffs, defendants, victims, suspects, witnesses, subjects of background investigations and experts. Interviews help investigators in the following ways:
- To reconstruct a crime or event
- To recognize facts
- To connect facts that seem vague
- To obtain evidence
- To look for new leads or turning points
- To find out what actually happened
Interviews give a verbal confirmation of a particular event or happening. If a one time occurrence associated with a particular case is being investigated, the people who saw what exactly happened are often the interview subjects. The information collected from that person is known as testimonial evidence which can be valuable during court hearing, especially when combined with documentary evidence gathered during records research.
Documenting interviews is as important as conducting interviews for detectives. Rather than taking notes by hand, it is better to record the audio or video and make a verbatim transcription of the full conversation later. Some of the advantages of this method are as follows:
- This will help them focus on the interview so that they can ask the right questions and notice the body language of the interviewee to obtain critical evidences.
- Investigators can keep the transcripts as a part of their record along with the information regarding when the interview occurred, how long it lasted, who was present and where it occurred and this can be presented during court hearing, if necessary.
- Investigators conduct follow-up interviews if the witness does not provide enough information initially. If they keep the transcripts of previous and current interviews, they can compare both of them and find inconsistencies if any, between the two stories easily.
Instead of spending time transcribing audio or video files by themselves, private detectives can choose the option of outsourcing their transcription work. This will provide them with the following benefits.
- Most of the investigators don’t have enough time to transcribe several days of interview amidst their heavy work schedule. With support from a reliable transcription service, investigators can spend the time productively for investigation.
- Sometimes there may be a lot of background noise or several people may be talking at the same time which may all get recorded. Rather than wasting time unnecessarily with those recordings, it is better to send them to a professional transcriptionist having expertise in extracting relevant details from the audio files.
- If there is no need to transcribe each and every sound within an audio file, you can ask the transcriptionists to transcribe in intelligent verbatim and avoid any unnecessary content.
- Professional transcriptionists can produce court-ready, accurate transcripts from audio recordings when presenting witness statements and covert surveillance recordings as evidence in court.
However, detectives should ensure that client confidentiality is maintained while choosing a transcription service. If the documents fall into the wrong hands, they may lose their clients, and the clients may sue them for privacy breach.