About Me – Academic Transcriber Par Excellence


If you have rummaged through this site, (which you should – it has great tips on how to make your qualitative research a success), you’ll have noticed that it lacks an about me page. And that’s because I am (I really should say “we”) client-centric. This site is not about me, an academic transcriber or us, Weloty. It’s about You, the researcher. It’s about helping YOU, again, have a successful research project. My sole aim to provide a transcription service that assists researchers achieve their research goals – and I want to help you make your research experience better and easier.

Recently though, I had a chat with a researcher from California. I am transcribing his dissertation interviews and he asked me, “Don’t you find transcription monotonous, a chore?” I “interpreted” the question and…

…I had just completed the first year of my masters study in developmental anthropology. I realized I was never going to be a developmental anthropologist. I mean, it was pretty obvious that “outsider led development” is hegemonic and leaves local communities with less agency. And if I was ever hired to plan/implement a development project, the only recommendation I could fathom making was – don’t start, or stop/end the project!

So I knew I’d never work for NGOs or the civil service and couldn’t see myself being a professor. And yet I had to find a job where I could make a living and not spend the rest of my life hating Monday mornings.

I knew I had lots of skills, and was looking for something that I could do that I enjoyed. I’d transcribed my first interview as an undergrad in 2000, and worked for a transcription company for 3 years. In between other jobs I could always find freelance transcription work. In 2011 I decided to become a full-time freelance transcriber.

In the last 3 years I have transcribed a lot of interviews, focus group discussions, lectures, conference presentations, Skype calls, podcasts, the list is endless. I even offered YouTube subtitling and captioning services. Then I realized what I loved transcribing most were stories.

Stories about how Maasai everyday practices are altered by tourist visits. Or how entrepreneurs in New York form startups that have a social purpose. Stories of how an artist finds meaning in barbed wire buried in the Alabama. Stories of coming ‘to being’  of women tattoo artists in Chicago, or of the ideology of Hezbollah in Lebanon. Or how women endangered change during the Arab Spring. And more and more stories.


Stories that enrich my life. Stories that move me. And I get paid to listen to these wonderful stories: I feel privileged to be an integral part of research teams.

Now, Mondays are my favorite days – and I hate Fridays. I never struggle to get out of bed, and have to force myself to go to bed (I have a 11:00pm curfew).

No, I don’t find academic transcription a chore. I enjoy it and see myself being a transcriber for a very long time. And I thought this story of (part) my life was worth sharing with you. Over to you: leave a comment.

PS: If you are looking to socially connect with me, LinkedIn is probably your best best (never really jumped on the social media bandwagon?). If you’re looking to hire us, send us an email via our contact us page and someone will get back to you within a few hours.

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Lona Roberts
Lona Roberts
8 years ago

I wonder if you would have any possible transcriptionist openings? Further information is available upon request.

Thank you for your time and trouble.

8 years ago

Thanks for sharing your amazing story of discovering your niche in life. I am always fascinated by how people seem to stumble into the gifts that make them happy and contented when they are not searching for it…It had always been there. I guess that is why you were pursuing anthropology…the sheer love for the human experience. I am currently getting my dissertation ready for IRB approval and may contact you for transcription services for my interviews. I stumbled upon your page while looking for audio devices to record my interviews!
Best wishes

Farhan Naeem
Farhan Naeem
4 years ago

Hi Issac, thank you for your post here. It is helping me in 2019 🙂 Did your supervisors ask you to incorporate the transcripts in your dissertation or just provide them the transcripts? I really need to know this. Thank you for your time.

Farhan Naeem
Farhan Naeem
Reply to  Isaac
4 years ago

I have my defence in a month time. However, my external supervisor has asked me to provide the recordings of the data in CD attached with the thesis. In addition to that, he has strongly advised me to provide transcribed sample speaking tasks. I have saved the data of 104 interviews in the CD. As far as the transcription is concerned do you think I can get away with just providing transcription of 4 interviews. As per his comments he clealry stated to provide the ‘transcribed sample speaking tasks’. For your information my design was quasi-experimental. Two groups (control [22]… Read more »

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