Why Should You Transcribe an Interview?

Estimated reading time: 7 minutes

Knowing why and how to transcribe an interview is generally the same across industries. Regardless of whether you’re a student, journalist, or researcher, you have the same options for how to transcribe an interview.

In this article, we’ll look at how to transcribe an interview. We’ll also cover why you should transcribe an interview.

Why Should You Transcribe an Interview?

There are several reasons why transcribing an interview makes sense. Audio files are helpful in some situations, but text files are a lot more versatile.

Here are the main reasons why you should transcribe interviews.

Easier Analytics

Reading a written document makes it much easier to analyze the interview. This is true for all industries but is particularly helpful for those who need to pull data from the conversation.

For example, a researcher might need facts and figures, whereas a journalist might need quotes from their interviewee.

No matter your reason for needing information from the interview, it’s much easier to find it in a text file than in an audio file.

An office

Better Accessibility

A transcribed text file is easier to send around than an audio file. First, it’s a smaller file, making the physical process of sending it easier.

Second, people will find it easier to access the information they need. This is the same as the point above – people can skim through a written document more easily than an audio file.

Greater Focus in the Interview

What we’ve mentioned so far focuses on the information after the interview, but what about during? If you know you can transcribe the file at a later date, you don’t have to worry about taking notes while asking the questions.

It means you (the interviewer) can focus more on probing further into answers and basing your follow-up questions on what the interviewee has said.

Again, this is helpful across all industries but is particularly relevant to journalists and researchers.

How to Transcribe an Interview

Now that we’ve looked at why you should transcribe an interview, let’s look at the options you have for doing so. As part of this, we’ll describe the processes in detail and list the reasons why you might (or might not) want to use them.

Manual Transcription

The first option for transcribing an interview is to do it manually. It’s the traditional method that needs the least amount of technology, but the most amount of time.

Time needed: 1 day.

Here’s how to transcribe an interview using the manual method:

  1. Listen to the interview completely before doing anything.


  2. Think about how long it’ll take you to transcribe it. This depends on your typing speed and the complexity of the interview, among other factors.


  3. Think about what you want from the transcription. Is it for just you, or will others read it?


  4. Write out the speakers, which should be at least 2.


  5. How detailed will it be? Will you write out everything or just the full statements?


  6. Decide if you want timestamps (these are usually helpful). You can add these as you move through the recording.


  7. Start your first transcription draft.


Transcribing Manually

Knowing how to transcribe an interview manually isn’t as simple as just writing it out. It helps to produce a rough draft the first time through, so you can get the speakers correct and not worry about mistakes.

It’s helpful to do it this way if you’re not a fast typist or there are difficult words to transcribe.

You can then listen to the interview again to correct your mistakes and tidy up the wording. During this stage, it might help to add the timestamps. But you could do this with a third listen, instead.

A meeting setting

Pros and Cons

Manual transcription is a time-consuming method, particularly if you’re new to transcription. But it’s helpful if you’re not in a rush or you think you’ll understand the topic better doing it this way.

Automatic Transcription

The other option for how transcribing an interview is to do it automatically. For this, you could pay someone to do it. The other option is to use transcription software, such as Transkriptor.

There isn’t a how-to method as such. Transcription software should be as simple as uploading the audio file and then converting it. Even so, here’s how to transcribe an interview using the software.

  1. Listen to your audio file completely before starting.
  2. Upload your audio file and convert it to text.
  3. Go through the file and edit any mistakes the software made. The frequency can depend on the language and audio quality.
  4. Export it as a text document.

Transcribing Using Software

Knowing how to transcribe an interview using software is much easier (and faster) than the manual method. Of course, the text file will only be as good as the software you used.

Transkriptor uses AI to ensure an accuracy rating of 80-99%. As mentioned, it depends on the language and audio quality. But this is why you always need to go through and edit the document based on your knowledge of the audio.

Also, look for software that adds timestamps, as it can be time-consuming to do this manually. Transkriptor does this for you after you use its built-in online text editor. The whole service is designed for ease of use to save you time.

Pros and Cons

The only real downside of transcription software is that it costs money. However, Transkriptor is 98% cheaper than the competition, but we also offer a free trial on sign-up.

Other than that, the other thing to look for is accuracy. After all, you don’t want a text file that requires heavy editing. If that happens, you might as well have written it yourself!

Final Thoughts on How to Transcribe an Interview

Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on how to transcribe an interview. The easiest method is definitely to use the software. So, if you’d like to see how easy it is, sign up for Transkriptor’s free trial today.


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