How To Edit An Interview Transcript

André Bastié
André Bastié
Posted in Transcription
5 min read
How To Edit An Interview Transcript

Delve into the intricacies of interview transcription, from capturing speech details to employing the best editing tools and techniques for polished results.

Understanding the basics of interview transcription is vital, not just for journalists and researchers, but also for professionals in various fields who conduct interviews as part of their work. Primarily, interview transcription involves converting the speech into written text. This procedure ensures that every detail of an interview is captured and can be readily accessed whenever required.

The transcription process begins with recording the interview. It's crucial to ensure that the audio quality is clear and crisp. Avoid background noises as much as possible to ensure the transcription procedure is seamless. Once the interview is recorded, the next thing is converting the speech into text. This can either be done manually, by carefully listening to the audio and typing out the contents, or by using transcription software that automatically transcribes the audio.

How To Edit An Interview Transcript

It's important to note that transcription is not just about converting speech to text. It also involves understanding the context and ensuring that the tone and intent of the talker are accurately captured in the text. This is where editing comes into play. Editing is not just about checking for grammatical errors or typos; it's about ensuring the text is coherent, readable, and accurately reflects the speaker's thoughts.

Before you start the editing procedure, it is advisable to decide on the style of transcription you will use. There are two popular styles - verbatim and clean read. Verbatim transcription includes all the 'ums', 'ahs', and false starts in the interview, while a clean read omits these fillers and focuses only on the main topic of the interview. The choice between these styles depends on the purpose of the transcription.

In summary, understanding the basics of interview transcription involves understanding the entire procedure from recording to editing. It's about capturing the speaker's speech, tone, and intent, and presenting it in a clear, readable text. With practice, this procedure becomes easier and more efficient, leading to high-quality interview transcriptions that serve their intended purpose.

Essential tools for editing interview transcripts

In the process of editing interview manuscripts, certain tool is indispensable. This tool not only simplifies and streamlines the task but also ensures a more accurate, polished final product. Here are a few essential tools that can transform the way you approach editing interview manuscripts.

A transcription software

First and foremost, transcription software is a must-have tool for this task. There are several automatic transcription services available online, such as Rev, Trint, Descript or Happy Scribe.

This tool uses AI technology to convert audio files into written text. While they may not always be 100% accurate, they significantly reduce the time spent on manual transcriptions. Some of these tools even offer features such as talker identification and time stamping which can be extremely useful during editing.

In the case of Happy Scribe, many people start their instructive video transcriptions and subtitles using the software's automated translation. They edit the manuscript either using the excellent editor included in Happy Scribe or by utilizing a downloaded file after running the audio or video file via the web program, which just takes a few minutes. Sharing editable manuscripts with visitors via a share link is another great feature of Happy Scribe.

How To Edit An Interview Transcript

A quality word processor

In addition to transcription software, a good speech processor is another essential tool. While Microsoft Word is a popular choice, there are other alternatives such as Google Docs, which allows real-time collaboration, making it easier if more than one person is working on the manuscript. A high-quality speech processor allows you to make edits, add comments, and incorporate changes in a systematic, organized manner.

Grammar and spell-checking software

A grammar and spell-checking tool such as Grammarly or Hemingway Editor can also be immensely helpful in polishing your manuscript. This tool not only corrects grammatical errors and misspellings but also helps enhance readability by identifying complex sentences and suggesting improvements.

A state-of-the-art pair of headphones

Finally, a good pair of headphones is an often-overlooked yet vital tool for editing interview manuscripts. They allow you to listen carefully to the audio file, ensuring that you capture nuances, inflexions, and subtleties that might be missed otherwise. Noise-canceling headphones can be particularly beneficial for this purpose.

In summary, while the thought of editing interview manuscripts can be daunting, equipping yourself with the right tool can make the procedure far more manageable and efficient. By utilizing transcription software, a reliable speech processor, a grammar and spell-checking tool, and a quality pair of headphones, you can drastically improve the quality and correctness of your edited manuscripts.

Step-by-step guide to editing an interview transcript

Before starting the editing, ensure you have a clean, accurate manuscript of the interview. Various transcription services, both automated and human, are available to help you with this. In light of this, follow these steps to edit an interview transcript:

Step 1. Read through the manuscript

Once you have the manuscript, the next thing is to read through it while listening to the actual interview recording. This helps you to cross-check the manuscript's correctness and make any necessary corrections, including fixing typos, grammar errors, and incorrect speech.

Step 2: Put a larger lens on the content

After you've verified the correctness of the manuscript, you should focus on the topic itself. Start by removing any filler speech such as 'um,' 'ah,' 'like,' and 'you know,' that do not add value to the topic. Remember, while these phrases might be expected in speech, they can disrupt the flow of the written topic. Also, consider simplifying complex sentences and replacing jargon with simpler alternatives wherever possible. However, be careful not to alter the interviewee's intended meaning while doing this.

Step 3: Structure your transcript

The next thing is to structure your manuscript. Break down long paragraphs into smaller ones to improve readability. Also, include headings and subheadings to provide a clear structure and make it easier for your audience to follow along. Adding timestamps at regular intervals can also be helpful, especially for those wanting to listen to specific parts of the interview.

Step 4: Review the final edited manuscript

Lastly, review the final edited manuscript for any possible errors or inconsistencies. It's advisable to have a second set of eyes check your work as they might spot mistakes you've overlooked. Once you're satisfied that the manuscript is accurate, clear, and easy to read, it's ready to be published.

Remember, the goal of editing an interview manuscript is not merely to correct errors but to transform the raw material into a polished piece of enjoyable and valuable content for your audience. So please don't rush through it. Take your time to ensure every detail is perfect.

How To Edit An Interview Transcript

Common errors to watch out for when editing transcripts

When editing interview transcripts, there are several common errors that can easily slip through if you're not vigilant. These mistakes can detract from the quality and correctness of your manuscript, making it less useful and harder to read. Awareness of these potential pitfalls can help you avoid them and ensure your manuscript is as accurate and polished as possible.


One of the most common errors to watch out for is inaccuracy in transcribing speech. This can include mishearing speech or phrases, especially technical jargon or industry-specific terminology, and incorrectly transcribing them. To avoid this, make sure to verify any terms or phrases you're unsure about. If possible, ask the person being interviewed for clarification or look up any unfamiliar terms.

Failure to capture the talker's diction

Another common error is failing to accurately capture the talker's tone and intention. This is particularly important in an interview transcript, where the way something is said can be just as important as what is said. Be careful to accurately transcribe any pauses, changes in tone, or emphasis the talker uses.

Grammar and spelling mistakes

Grammar and punctuation errors are also common in manuscripts. While spoken language often doesn't follow the strict rules of written language, it's important to ensure your manuscript is as grammatically correct as possible. This not only makes it easier to read but also helps to maintain the integrity of the talker's words. Pay special attention to punctuation, as incorrect usage can change the meaning of a sentence.

Limited attention to formatting

Lastly, it's easy to overlook formatting when editing a manuscript. Consistency is key when it comes to formatting; whether you're indicating who is speaking, highlighting important points, or noting any non-verbal communication. Inconsistent formatting can make a manuscript difficult to follow and detract from its overall quality.

In conclusion, while editing a transcript, it's important to watch out for these common errors. Accuracy, clarity, grammar, punctuation, and consistency in formatting are all crucial in creating a high-quality manuscript.

Tips and tricks for efficiently editing interview transcripts

Editing an interview manuscript can be a daunting task, especially if you're dealing with lengthy conversations. However, there are several tips and tricks to help you efficiently navigate through this procedure. Here are some you should acquaint yourself with below:

Get into high-quality transcription

First and foremost, it's essential to start with a high-quality transcription. Automated transcription services can be a good starting point, but they often make errors that require manual correction.

Therefore, investing in a professional transcription service like Happy Scribe can save you from the unnecessary hassle of correcting countless inaccuracies. The web app experience of this software has been carefully planned and executed, and the software's machine translation is extremely accurate, making it enjoyable to use. It's important to also do a thorough review if you are using an automated service.

Read your manuscript while listening to its audio file

When you have your manuscript in hand, the first thing is to read it while listening to the audio file. This allows you to spot any discrepancies or errors missed during the transcription procedure. You'll also get a feel for the flow of the conversation, which will be helpful when you begin editing for clarity.

Disintegrate the editing procedure into simple parts

Break down the editing into manageable chunks. If you try to edit the whole manuscript in one sitting, you may overlook errors or become overwhelmed. It's more efficient to focus on one section at a time. You can divide your work based on the topics discussed, the time it took, or any other logical division related to the content of the interview.

Keep the talker's voice and tone

When editing, remember to maintain the talker's voice and tone. It's important not to rewrite the interview to the point where it loses the essence of the original conversation. Instead, focus on removing filler phrases, correcting grammar, and rephrasing for clarity where necessary.

Employ software that can simplify the editing

Use a tool to streamline the editing. For example, word processing app often has built-in grammar and spell check tool that can catch mistakes you might miss. There are also transcription editing apps available that allow you to listen to the audio while you edit the text, making it easier to ensure accuracy.

Use a beta reader

Lastly, always have another set of eyes to review the manuscript. A fresh perspective can often spot errors or inconsistencies that you may have overlooked. Whether it's a colleague or a professional editor, this stage ensures a polished, accurate final manuscript.

Get an error-free interview transcription with Happy Scribe

An error-free manuscript is very hard to come by, but our experts at Happy Scribe will provide you with a perfect manuscript. At Happy Scribe, we work with sophisticated AI tools that provide the most accurate transcription. After this, our experienced editors take their time scrutinizing your files to perfect them.

You can edit the transcripts and subtitles that are displayed on Happy Scribe in an interactive editor. It is a straightforward editor for transcriptions. The text is available for viewing, editing, and downloading. Happy Scribe also analyzes the audio and adds fundamental and sophisticated punctuation to the transcriptions and subtitles. You can modify it or use it exactly as is.

At Happy Scribe, we seize every opportunity to meet clients' needs. We also have machine translation that automatically translates your transcription into multiple languages. It is pertinent to state that these services are available for the best prices you will ever find. So, if you crave the perfect edit for your transcript, it all begins with Happy Scribe.

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You need certain tools like good transcription software and headphones for transcribing interviews well

How To Transcribe Interviews Quickly

Niek Leermakers
Niek Leermakers
Posted in Transcription
8 min read

Transcribing interviews can be time-consuming, but there are ways to do it faster. Break the interview into smaller chunks, use speech recognition software, and make use of transcription services. Utilize keyboard shortcuts and familiarize yourself with the content to further increase your speed.