What Are the Main Challenges Involved in Group Discussion Transcription?

Group discussion is a gathering of people talking and discussing a specific topic. Many critical decisions may be taken during these discussions that need to be recorded and converted into accurate transcripts. Transcribing group discussions can be difficult because there are multiple speakers, whispered exchanges, background noise, non-verbal cues etc. This makes group discussion transcription challenging. This blog discusses the different challenges involved in transcribing group discussions, and how a reliable digital transcription service can ensure accuracy in transcription. 

  • Identifying different speakers: When there is more than one person in a discussion, it is important to identify each speaker and what each one has contributed to the discussion. If there is only a man and a woman speaking, or a person with a strong accent and another one who is very soft spoken, then it is easier to identify the speakers. But if there are a greater number of people who have similar sounding voices, it becomes difficult to distinguish each speaker and transcribing becomes a challenge. So, if you want to identify the speakers in a group discussion, you may ask everyone to introduce themselves before the discussion begins. Another alternative is to provide your transcriber with information about the speakers who are participating in the group discussion. You can also inform them about speakers who have different dialects or accents.   
  • Overlapping: A group discussion with more than two people can be very noisy because speakers tend to become excited and argumentative, they may even interrupt and talk over each other. This is quite normal in any group discussion but can be difficult at the time of transcription. Transcribers find it highly challenging because they have to separate each of these inaudible sounds, especially if it is a verbatim transcription. Overlapping is one of the many concerns as it can take too much time to unpick and transcribe accurately. However, with intelligent transcription, it is possible to remove some of the overlaps that are not necessary. This helps you to get an error-free transcription of the group discussion.
  • Accuracy: This point is a continuation of the first two points. As mentioned above, overlapping and multiple speakers with different dialects and accents are challenging for a transcriptionist to convert a group discussion recording into transcripts with utmost accuracy. But accuracy of transcription is important, especially while transcribing any legal topics or business meetings or even a brainstorming session because it can lead to poor decision making or even damage someone’s career. But today there are advanced technologies like noise cancelling headphones, pedals to start and stop the recording etc., skilled transcriptionists who have excellent listening skills and can transcribe any important group discussions into accurate transcripts. 

Group discussion transcription is becoming more and more important as technology evolves. The ability to go back and listen to what is said in a group setting can be invaluable in many situations ps. When participants in a group discussion are allowed to speak freely, they can express their opinions and thoughts more openly than in an interview. However, it is difficult to record all the relevant information when the conversation is at its peak. It is important to consider what information needs to be recorded and how this will be done before going into the field. 

How to Transcribe Group Discussion Accurately

  • Verbatim transcription is ideal: To ensure accurate transcription of a group discussion, it is important to transcribe even non-verbal sounds like “um”, “uhh”, “er” etc. Transcription equipment is available, which makes the transcription process easy:
  • High resolution screen: If you have a video recording of the group discussion, then having a high-resolution screen will help determine how and what the speakers are saying and also see how they pronounce each word. This helps with easy transcription. 
  • Noise-cancelling headphones: This is an excellent gadget that helps with transcription. It cancels out any background noise so that it is easier to identify the verbal fillers and other expressions. 
  • Jargon dictionaries: The speakers in the group discussion may use jargon. Jargon dictionaries will be useful for transcribers to understand the technical terms, so that is easier for them to transcribe the group discussion accurately.   
  • Ensure confidentiality:  Maintaining the confidentiality of the group discussion is important right from the beginning. It is vital to decide if any of the speakers’ names should be censored or whether the names of brands or places should be avoided. So, if any of the details need to be left out, it should be maintained throughout the discussion as well as the transcript.  
  • Mention the speakers: Once the confidentiality protocols are sorted out, the next step is to identify the speakers and label them in the transcript.  You can include the participant’s and moderator’s names in the transcript if you are not maintaining anonymity during the discussion. Otherwise, the speakers can be labelled as “Participant 1”, “Participant 2” etc. 
  • Include timestamps: Include time stamps in your transcript and this makes it easier to further analyze, revise and proofread the transcript. Timestamps also help your market research team track the conversation.
  • Proofread the transcript:  Proofreading is the last part of the transcription. Review the transcript at least two times to look for any errors. Once that is done, you can analyze any sections of the transcripts using the timestamps to review garbled or inaudible speech, verify any crosstalk, and review any other areas as per requirement.

Group discussion transcription is the process of converting a group discussion into text format. You are able to keep track of all that was said during the group discussions by referring to the transcript when you need to. It helps to preserve the ideas and opinions expressed by participants of the discussion. It also serves as an archive that can be used for future reference. Besides, it is an easy way of keeping track of important information and decisions made. So, reach out to a reliable business transcription service to transcribe your business group discussions.