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How to Transcribe an Interview in 5 Simple Steps

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    Transcribing interviews can be time-consuming but with the right tools and method, the process becomes streamlined and efficient. Dive into this guide...

    Transcribing interviews can be time-consuming but with the right tools and method, the process becomes streamlined and efficient. Dive into this guide to master the art of transcription.

    1. Understanding Interview Transcription

    Transcription is the process of converting audio or video files into written text. In the context of an interview transcription, this means turning the spoken words of the interviewer and interviewee into a text document. Depending on the purpose – be it qualitative research, journalism, or academic studies – the level of detail required can vary.

    A transcriptionist is an individual skilled in this art, often boasting a keen ear, fast typing speed, and an impeccable command over English.

    2. Different Types of Interview Transcription

    • Verbatim Transcription: This is a word-for-word account of the audio file. Every "um", "uh", and stutters are included. It gives the most accurate representation but can be cluttered with filler words.
    • Intelligent Verbatim Transcription: This transcription method omits irrelevant words or sounds. It's cleaner than verbatim but still maintains the essence.
    • Edited Transcription: This approach involves cleaning up grammar and removing redundant phrases for clarity. It may not capture the exact tone of the interviewee but is often easier to read.

    3. How to Transcribe: The 5-Step Process

    Step 1: Prepare your Tools: Before diving into transcribing, ensure you have:

    • A good audio player or software that allows playback and rewind features.
    • Quality headphones to minimize background noise.
    • A word processor like Microsoft Word.
    • Timestamps to note the times of specific quotes or sections.

    Step 2: Listen First: Play the audio recording or video recording once without typing. This gives an understanding of the audio quality, the context, and prepares you for any challenging sections.

    Step 3: Begin the Transcription Process: Start your audio/video from the beginning. As you listen, type out the content. Use shortcuts in your word processor to speed up the process. If the audio quality is poor, rewind and listen again.

    Step 4: Proofread and Format: After transcribing, proofread your work for errors. Format the transcript with headers for each speaker and ensure it's easy to follow.

    Step 5: Use Transcription Software or Services for Assistance: Manual transcription can take a lot of time - often, an hour of audio can take 4-6 hours to transcribe. Therefore, consider transcription tools.

    4. Top 8 Transcription Software/Apps:

    1. Offers real-time automatic transcription, ideal for recording interviews on platforms like Zoom.
    2. Rev: Professional transcription service with fast turnaround time and accurate transcripts.
    3. Trint: Uses AI to transcribe audio-to-text, offers video subtitles features.
    4. Sonix: An automatic transcription tool with support for multiple languages.
    5. Transcribe: A web-based app that provides manual and automatic transcription services.
    6. Temi: Offers quick automatic transcription with decent accuracy.
    7. Descript: Allows users to edit audio by editing the transcribed text.
    8. Express Scribe: A professional audio player software for PC or Mac designed to help transcriptionists.

    5. Final Thoughts:

    Whether you're transcribing for a podcast, a video interview, or qualitative research, the right approach and tools can save a lot of time and ensure the integrity of your transcripts.

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman

    Cliff Weitzman is a dyslexia advocate and the CEO and founder of Speechify, the #1 text-to-speech app in the world, totaling over 100,000 5-star reviews and ranking first place in the App Store for the News & Magazines category. In 2017, Weitzman was named to the Forbes 30 under 30 list for his work making the internet more accessible to people with learning disabilities. Cliff Weitzman has been featured in EdSurge, Inc., PC Mag, Entrepreneur, Mashable, among other leading outlets.