Typing out the complete conversation of an interview is what we call transcribing. Many university courses need transcriptions of interviews. This means hours of listening to interviews to type them out. Transcribing an interview can be a tedious task. So, here are some tips to ease the pain!

A good preparation is key to make it easy for yourself

Do you still have to conduct the interview? Then prepare yourself well to make it as easy as possible for yourself. Make sure you are in a room without noise and distractions. Ask clear and specific questions so that the interview goes smooth. You don’t want to have a lot of interruptions and silent moments during your interview. With good preparation, you can make transcribing easier. Arrange a room without background noise or static. Have a clear idea of the questions you want to ask and be specific about them so that the interview does not take hours. This will save you time during the transcription process.

What are the different forms of transcription?

There are verbatim and literal transcriptions. In a literal transcription you need to write everything down. This means including repetitions, stuttering, sighing, … In a verbatim transcription, you only transcribe the person’s voice. In a verbatim transcription, you edit the conversation, so it is easy to read.

Example verbatim transcription

Person 1: Do you think that um…. Person 2: Hmm… I am not so sure about that. I think, I think number two did better!

Example verbatim transcription

Person 1: Do you think the first person was better?
Person 2: I am not sure about that, but I think number two did better.

The choice between the two forms depends on the purpose of your transcription. Do you need concrete information? Then go for a verbatim transcription. Are you looking for an underlying or deeper thought? Then go for a literal transcription!

Tools for transcribing interviews

There are several programs that can help you during the transcription process:

Software to make you work faster

Express Scribe is made to make you work faster. You can slow down or speed up the playback by using hotkeys.

Software to do the work automatically for you

AmberScript uses artificial intelligence to type out 90% of your audio correctly. It saves a lot of time, as you only need to correct the text. The first 30 minutes of the AmberScript transcription app are free.

Don’t be too hard on yourself

Listening to a recording and transcribing it for hours is an intensive task. So don’t be too hard on yourself. Transcribe in half-hour periods and do it several times a day. This way you will get through all those recordings before you know it!

Get someone else to do it!

If you really don’t want to do it yourself, there are several transcription services on Fiverr. Go to Fiverr.com and search for transcription gigs in your desired language. If you have a lot of transcriptions, you need to do this can be a nice option.