The Open Desk

Margie Beilharz

Freelance editor and writer in science, environment, education, health

Transcribing interviews


The time-consuming task of transcribing can be speeded up with technology or by outsourcing – as long as, in both cases, the quality is good.

Rachel Smith (of jobs list service Rachel’s List), shared her interviewing and transcribing process in a blog post in 2017. She explains the services she uses for recording interviews and outsourcing transcribing. If she is doing her own transcribing, she uses the free web app oTranscribe, which she described in this blog post.

US academic Kathy Roulston posted on other angles of transcription – how do you deal with oral language, laughter, ‘um’s and ‘like’s. She is coming from an academic perspective dealing with qualitative research, but how to represent the ‘truth’ applies to all transcription. She also mentions the tools she uses and other transcription software.

Transcription tools can help you move around the audio (pause, go back, go faster or slower) with keystrokes (or a foot pedal) rather than using a mouse, for example. And taking advantage of Autocorrect and auto-complete functions in Word (or Word add-ins) can speed up your typing. The more sophisticated software packages have those features built into their own word processing, as well as all sorts of functions for dealing with images and videos.

Editors Victoria member Sally-Anne Watson Kane, who does a lot of transcribing professionally, has also described the equipment and skills you need to produce accurate transcripts.

A bit of learning to put a new system in place could save you a lot of time, if you are doing it yourself.

This article was first published in the Editors Victoria November 2017 newsletter.

See more tips & tricks.




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