Transcribing Interviews – Key Points to Consider

Transcribing InterviewsTranscripts of interview provide ease of access to the content, allowing users to review, understand and think about the spoken words. Professional interview transcription providers can supply a clear and well-formatted text of interviews. Indexed transcripts allow you to find what you want easily, making it easy to quote from the text.

Certain factors need to be considered while making the transcription decision. These include:

  • The time available – interview transcription is time consuming and one hour of recording can take 3-4 hours to transcribe
  • The clarity and audibility of the tape
  • Whether the content is useful for the researcher’s goals and analysis
  • Whether the participants should review the recording
  • If the transcript needs to be indexed, agreements, permission forms and other ethical considerations should be in place and known by all

Clarity and Usefulness of the Content

The clarity of content would depend on the quality of the recording equipment and on whether there were disturbances in the background when the recording was being made. It is up to the researcher to include questions that reflect the thoroughness of the research and have an ordered plan for conducting the interview. After the recording is made, researchers should know they also have the option of making a partial transcription of only what is relevant to their goals.

Verbatim or Non-verbatim?

When transcribed verbatim, interview transcriptions serve as the primary documents for data analysis. The researcher has to decide whether a verbatim or non-verbatim transcript is required.  Interview transcription services are available for both these options.

Should the Narrator review the Transcript?

One important decision that has to be made is whether the narrator should review and edit the transcript. In many cases, involving the interviewer in the review will improve the utility and research value of the transcripts. However, this could also have pitfalls. Some people find such review difficult. Moreover, it is also likely that they will remove slang expressions and edit the spoken language in way that takes away from the tone and rhythm of the interview and makes the content less powerful.

Using Field Notes

The final field notes should include nonverbal communication, interpretations, and other important data and interpretations that cannot be picked up via the audio recording. This will clarify ambiguous statements or references.

When it comes to transcription, outsourcing to professional online transcription service company is an ideal option. With experience that has broadened their abilities and perfected their listening skills, professional transcriptionists can provide properly formatted, accurate and timely transcripts of all types of interviews.

About Rajeev Rajagopal

Rajeev Rajagopal

Prior to joining MOS, he worked as a physical therapist. Having worked in several rehabilitation clinics, Rajeev has learned the importance of good medical records for medical billing and liability issues and the importance of the good back and front office support. He has extensive knowledge in SEO, medical billing and coding, and medical transcription.