PhD students, journalists, research associates and organizations conducting research interviews need accurate transcripts of the interview material. It can take hours to transcribe the text resulting from a brief telephone interview, especially when an exact transcript is required. Normally the audio of the interview is then sent over to the transcription department or to an interview transcription service for conversion to a document.
Here are certain tips to transcribe interviews easily:
- Move the interview recording to your computer. Whether you used a digital voice recorder or a voice recorder app on a Smartphone, connect the recorder or Smartphone to your PC and move the files by following the guidelines that pop up on the screen. In case you are transcribing from a tape, record the tape onto your PC via the microphone.
- Accurately represent each speaker’s words, conversational quality, and speech patterns. For instance “‘cause” should be transcribed as “because”, while “umm, you know, ah” and such other expressions need not be transcribed.
- Use correct (not phonetic) spelling of words, even if they have not been pronounced quite that way.
- Use parentheses () with discretion to note audible expressions of emotion such as (laughs) when one speaker does, (laughter).
- Make sure to type the name of the interviewer, interviewee, time, date, and location.
- Type the full name of the person (interviewer or interviewee) the first time he speaks. After that, just use the first initial or first and last initials if required to avoid confusion. Follow the name or initials by a colon.
- Interviews are generally in question answer format. Include both the questions and answers.
- Note down the interruptions that occur during the interview in  brackets. For instance “[interrupted by other’s talk].”
- Highlight the changes made to the written text of the transcript. Review the transcript and make corrections if necessary.
- Avoid excessive use of verbal tics like “I mean”, “you know” and edit ‘um’, ‘uh’ like fillers, which is a distraction while delivering message of the total interview.
- Edit the file, correct grammar, spell out abbreviations and ensure all punctuations are right.
Doing the transcription in-house is fine, provided you have good-typing skills and the necessary equipment for transcription. However, it is proven to be much more time-consuming and expensive than outsourcing. Reliable transcription companies provide non-verbatim as well as verbatim interview transcription services as per clients’ requirements.