What are the Guidelines of Interview Transcription

Table of Contents

How to Prepare for an Interview Transcription?

  1. Prepare by determining what you require from the interview transcription
  2. Determine what you want from your transcript and consider how this may affect the process.
  3. Select your transcription requirements: Begin by selecting your transcription needs and viewing the highest level of accuracy guaranteed services.

Which Tools are Necessary for Transcribing an Interview?

You will need:

  • Noise-canceling headphones: Background noise harms the accuracy of the transcription. Noise-canceling headphones can help you focus more on the audio.
  • Your computer: You don’t need a powerful computer to convert audio to text. Having enough processing power to reduce lag (especially if you are using a web-based word processor like Google Docs) is enough. Remember that your transcription may take three to four times as long as the audio file itself.
  • Transcription software: Using dedicated software, you will be able to type and control the recording without switching between programs.

How Much Detail do You Need From an Interview Transcription?

As previously stated, the purpose of the transcription will determine the level of detail required. You have a few options available to you, including:

  • Full-Verbatim transcription: The interview in its most raw form, including “umms,” “ahs,” pauses, false starts, and other verbal tics.
  • Intelligent Verbatim: Also known as verbatim,’ ‘clean verbatim,’ or ‘word-for-word,’ this is a slightly more polished version of the full-verbatim script that removes all extras to make it easier to read.
  • Detailed Notes: The interview is reduced to a series of detailed notes that provide quick and easy access to the information you require without requiring you to parse large chunks of text.

What are the Steps for Creating an Interview Transcription?

  1. Listen to the whole recording before you transcribe
  2. Transcribe a first rough draft
  3. Use transcription software or online tools
  4. Revisit the transcript and edit
  5. Format the transcript to your needs

Step 1: Listen to the whole recording before you transcribe

As you listen, take notes. Determine the speakers. Make a list of any words or phrases you need to learn (like technical jargon or slang).

This is the time to determine what type of transcription the audio lends itself to full-verbatim, verbatim, or detailed notes.

Step 2: Transcribe a First Rough Draft

The next step will be to attempt to transcribe a rough draft. This is especially wise if you’re not confident in your typing speed. By all means, pause if necessary, but avoid rewinding the recording.

Use “bc” as an abbreviation for “because,” for example. You can change these later using the ‘find and replace’ function, or you can use your word processor’s autocorrect function to fix them as you go.

Step 3: Use Transcription Software or Online Tools

There are several transcription software programs and online tools that can make the transcription process easier. These tools include features such as automatic timestamps, the ability to play the recording at different speeds, and the ability to insert speaker identification tags.

Step 4: Revisit the Transcript and Edit

You now have a readable transcription from which to work. It’s just a matter of polishing it and making it ready for public consumption. Although your rough draft will be readable there will be errors such as typos that you should fix.

Step 5: Format the Transcript to your needs

Adjust the font and size to make it easy to read even when scanning for quick reference. Subheadings, titles, paragraphs, and page numbers should all be used.

What are Transcription Symbols?

In transcription, there are several symbols that are used to indicate different aspects of the spoken language.

  • Comma (, ): Used to indicate minor breaks in the flow of thought or sentence structure. A comma indicates a short pause of about 1-3 seconds.
  • Ellipses (…): Used to indicate when the participant is trailing off or has a longer pause (3+ seconds) at the beginning of a sentence and express an omission.
  • Em dash (− ): Used to indicate a change in the speech, like repeating the same word, or abruptly changing the language. It also denotes a hanging phrase resulting in an incomplete sentence.
  • Underline (__ ): Used to emphasize certain words.
  • Square Brackets []: Used to indicate words added to the transcription that the interviewee did not mention, to explain certain abbreviations, or translate a word in another language into English.
  • Slashes (//): Used to demonstrate that the participant and interviewer spoke to each other at the same time.
  • Quotes (“ ”): Used to demonstrate what someone said.
  • Parenthesis (…): Nonverbal sounds or events should be recorded in parenthesis (…) and italicized such as (laughs), (cries), or (knocks at the door).
  • Question mark (?): Used when speech is unintelligible.

What are the Things to Avoid for Interview Transcription Guidelines

  • Do not include filler words or interjections such as “um,” “ah,” or “you know” unless they are particularly relevant to the content of the interview
  • Do not include nonverbal sounds or noises in the transcription unless they are relevant to the content of the interview
  • Do not include your own comments or thoughts in the transcription unless they are explicitly stated by the interviewee
  • Do not leave out or omit any words or information from the transcription unless it is necessary for clarity or coherence
  • Do not use abbreviations or acronyms unless they are clearly defined and understood by the reader
  • Do not use quotation marks around words or phrases that the interviewee is thinking but not saying aloud
  • Do not change the words or phrasing of the interviewee’s statements unless it is necessary for clarity or coherence
  • Do not include extraneous information in the transcription, such as descriptions of the setting or the appearance of the interviewee
  • Do not start sentences with lowercase since all sentences should start with a capital letter and have the correct punctuation.

What Should you Avoid in Interview Transcription?

  • False Start: A false start is a thought that is started but never completed. False starts should be removed from transcripts in general.
  • Inaudible and Indecipherable Passages: First, listen to the audio file several times to try to make out the words. If the section is still indecipherable, put brackets around the word “inaudible,” highlight it in yellow, and include the timestamp in brackets.
  • Nonverbal Communication: Use a bracket and italicized text to indicate non-verbal sounds such as laughter, gestures, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Interview?

A discussion or conversation between a potential employer (interviewer) and a candidate (interviewee) is an interview.

What Should the Font and Margins be for an Interview Transcription?

The typeface should be Times New Roman, 12-point, regular kerning. No hyphenation or widow/orphan control and no indents.