Interview Transcription: 5 interesting facts

Transcription and Walkman

1. The word transcription – defined by the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary as “the act or process of making a written, printed, or typed copy of words that have been spoken” – has been in common use since the 17th Century (first known use was in 1598). It probably originated from the Latin word transcribere  (trans- ‘across’ + scribere ‘write’). 2. Did you know that normally we speak at a rate of 150 to 170 words per minute? That’s on average 10,000 words an hour! 3. A professional transcriber can type between 80 and 100 words per minute. However, based on a clear audio, a 1 hour interview takes between 4 and 6 hours to transcribe. 4. Not so long ago (in fact when I started transcribing I used one of these dinosaurs), transcibers used cassette tape transcription machines to transcribe interviews and audio recordings. These relics were used to transcribe interviews recorded on “huge” analogue… Continue reading…

How To Transcribe a Focus Group Discussion

How to transcribe a focus group

Step 1. Transcribe verbatim Step 2. Let the transcript be! Step 3. Use timestamps Step 4. Identify speakers Step 5. Proofread Focus groups are a great way to collect qualitative data. Because they comprise of a larger number of participants, up to 15, they provide a broad range of information. It’s always advisable to conduct at least a couple of focus group discussions with volunteers before conducting in-depth 1-on-1 interviews. Transcribing focus group discussion differs from 1-on-1 interviews. Because focus group discussions usually involve a large number of participants it’s difficult to capture all of the voices, especially interjections and overlapping conversations. In addition, it’s very difficult to distinguish the speakers. Thus, when conducting focus groups it’s important to consider these factors and take the following 3 steps to ease transcription. 3 Tips for Conducting Focus Group Discussions Location. Conduct the focus group discussion in a quiet surrounding. If you have fans or AC in… Continue reading…

How to Transcribe an Interview for Dissertation – Part 1

How to Transcribe interview for dissertation

“[I]t is a truism to note that all transcription is in some sense interpretation …” (Cook, 1990, p.12) In summary, here is how you transcribe your research interviews. DIY – Do(ing) it Yourself Hire a Professional Transcriber Use Software. In this first post of a 2 part series on how to transcribe an interview for dissertation, I’ll start with a brief overview of the thesis transcription process. Then discuss in-depth the 3 ways to transcribe your research interviews. And finally make a few remarks on accuracy of the transcripts and audio quality. Why Transcripts Before I start talking about how to transcribe your dissertation interviews, just why do it? The reason we do it is because usually we find it much easier to work with a transcript rather than a recording. Now these days it’s very easy to have an audio or video recording of your interviews; digital recorders and digital cameras make the whole… Continue reading…

Psychotherapy Verbatim Transcription Guide

psychotherapy verbatim transcription guide

A while back I wrote a post about general verbatim transcription convections that I use. However, I am always open to creating a verbatim transcription rules for clients. Recently a psychotherapist got in touch looking for a verbatim transcription of a session using the psychotherapy transcription standards published in 1992 in the Psychotherapy Research Journal by Mergenthaler and Stinson. The first step was to create a transcript guide that followed the standards published in 1992 for transcripts in 2015. Luckily, there were very little changes that needed to be done. Here’s the guide that we created closely following Mergenthaler and Stinson (1992) and hopefully it is of use to you. Psychotherapy Verbatim Transcription Guide What To Transcribe? Verbal utterances: All words spoken as whole words or parts of words are to be reproduced in standard spelling. Dialect forms should be transcribed in their corresponding standard spelling forms. For example, if an English speaking person’s usual… Continue reading…

How to transcribe your research interviews; a DIY guide

Transcribing your research interviews

UPDATE: Here’s a 2-part comprehensive guide on how to transcribe your dissertation interviews. For whatever reason you may not be able to hire me to transcribe your research interviews for you. In that case, here is a simple guide on how you can transcribe your research interviews and start analyzing your data. What you need to transcribe your research interviews There are a number of items you are going to need. Obviously, you are going to need the recording of the qualitative interviews in a digital format. Mp3 is probably the most popular and is supported by most transcription software. You may need a software to convert your audio interviews from the recorded format to a format that is supported by your transcription software.   You will need access to a desktop computer. If  you plan to use a laptop, I suggest getting an external keyboard and mouse.   You are going to need a… Continue reading…

Verbatim Transcription of Research Interviews and Focus Group Discussions

What is Verbatim Transcription Poland (1995) defines verbatim audio transcription as the word-for-word reproduction of verbal data, where the written words are an exact replication of the recorded (video or audio) words. With this definition, accuracy concerns the substance of the interview, that is, the meanings and perceptions created and shared during a conversation. And also how these meanings are created and shared during the conversation. So verbatim transcription of research data not only attempts to capture the meaning(s) and perception(s) or the recorded interviews and focus group discussions, but also the context in which these were created. Why Verbatim Transcription Whether or not one chooses to get verbatim transcripts for their qualitative data depends on the purposes of the research. Research methods should always reflect research questions. As an important step in data management and analysis, the process of transcription must be congruent with the methodological design and theoretical underpinnings of each investigation. Verbatim… Continue reading…

Reviewing Transcripts for Accuracy: The Ideal vs The Practical

Reviewing Tractipes for accuracy and integrity

There are many methods for ensuring transcription accuracy. For example, a concordance assessment involves two typists independently transcribing an interview and then comparing the two transcripts. However, it is rare that a researcher has the resources for acquiring the time of two typists for one transcript. Ideally a researcher would have access to as much time and personnel as is necessary to ensure data accuracy and integrity. However, a researcher must balance the ideal with practical considerations of time and funding limits. Thus, an optimal strategy is typically used wherein each interview is transcribed by a professional and then proofread by the interviewer. Research projects involving intensive data collection, however, often delegate this review process to another team member other than the primary interviewer. Training Transcription Proofreaders  The training of proofreaders should be modified to fit the research project and will vary with research structure, setting, type and volume of data, and the analytical approach… Continue reading…

Decision Time: What’s to be transcribed?

Transcription decisions

Complementing the level of analysis. Simply put, the level of detail included in a transcript should match the level of analysis being applied. Ethnographic work, for example, is interested in understanding values, beliefs and attitudes and how they are articulated across various social contexts. This will require distinctly different transcription of the interviews or focus group discussion than research on speech patterns. One then must decide what you needs to be transcribed,especially if you have collected qualitative data.Choices concerning whether a transcription should include nonlinguistic observations (facial expressions, body language, setting descriptions, etc.), whether transcription should be verbatim (it is recommended, by most transcription protocols, to produce at least one verbatim transcription of the entire interview done by a professional transcriber.), and whether to identify specific speech patterns, vernacular expressions, intonations, or emotions are to be made before transcription begins. Capturing the contextual milieu.  Be aware that transcribing is an ongoing analytical process; textual data… Continue reading…