Happy Scribe has the latest automatic transcription technology and the best professional transcribers to transcribe your interviews with the best quality in the market.

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How to transcribe an interview?

As any researcher or journalist knows, it is necessary to conduct interviews to get fresh or hard-to-find information. However, to fully leverage the data that has been collected, a transcription of the audio-to-text is essential. Simply put, transcription allows for an easier analysis of qualitative information. Why? Because it is quicker to scan the written word instead of listening to hours of audio recordings. Also, with the interviews printed out on paper, you can quickly shuffle pages to find story connections. You can't do that with audio. However, realizing we have to transcribe interviews is one thing, but knowing the best way to transcribe an interview is quite another. Let's dive into these important steps you should consider:

1. Choose a Transcription Method

Once you have completed the interview, there are three main ways to get that audio to text: manually transcribe it yourself, use an automated transcription service provider - like Happy Scribe - or outsource someone else to do it (think Upwork). There are lots of criteria to consider when choosing a transcription method. Ultimately, the option that will work best for you will depend on the complexity of your audio file, required accuracy, available turnaround time, budget, and level of confidentiality needed. If you want an economical and fairly accurate transcription quickly, then an online automated transcription service provider like Happy Scribe is the way to go. If you want a hands-on approach - and have tons of time on your hands - then the DIY transcription method is still an option. The choice is yours!

2. Edit and Format Your Transcription

No transcription method, even if you do it yourself, is 100% accurate. Therefore after you get your transcription back or once it is completed you will need to check the transcription and correct mistakes where necessary. How you edit the interview is somewhat a matter of personal style, but there are some important considerations and guidelines to follow. First, you should determine what mode you want your transcription to be in. The two dominant modes are naturalism, a very verbatim transcription where every utterance is transcribed in detail, and denaturalism, in which stutters, verbal tics (i.e. ‘like', ‘uh'), and involuntary vocalizations (i.e crying or laughter) are removed. As part of the editing, you may also want to consider if the timing of when certain phrases are said is important. If the transcript is to be used for analysis or later turned into subtitles, then having timestamps inserted might come in handy. Finally, consider the final formatting of your document. Reviewing a style guide for transcribing and editing oral histories will help determine how to deal with specific formatting questions particular to transcription (like what is the standard format for entering names). Alongside this, you should also consider your document margins and line spacing. Wider margins and double spacing will be helpful as you make notes and start to code the material and make connections with other interviews. Having plenty of space to make comments about the information you've just gleaned is essential.

3. Request an Interviewee Review

In this step, you go back to the interviewee and ask them to review and see if the transcription is an accurate recording of what they said or rather what they meant to say. This one is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you want to make sure that your transcriptions are accurate, yet there is a possibility that they might disagree. The problem is, in the moment of an interview, an individual might become so relaxed that they reveal information that they had wholly intended to keep to themselves. This is also the exact material that you are trying to get. They may then want statements erased, and usually have a right to do that, which might leave you a bit stuck. In this instance, you can remind the interviewee that their role is to check the accuracy of the transcription (i.e. to fill in any inaudible parts of the recording or to define an acronym used), not to rework the text by changing word choices or word order.

4. Anonymize Your Transcript

If you plan to publish your research, it is common practice to anonymize your transcript so that the names of people and all the contextual names relating to them, like the organisations that they work for, the towns they live in, etc cannot be traced back to a particular individual. Such anonymity is central to ethical research practice. Generally, the original names are kept on the transcripts during the analysis and they only get anonymized at the publishing stage.

5. Maintain a Log

At each step of the transcription process keep a log of who transcribed, edited, audited, and proofread the final copy and when. The log should detail the nature and extent of changes in the transcript from the original tape.
Transcribing an interview can be a laborious process. Happy Scribe's audio-to-text transcription service can take some of the heavy load off of your shoulders, freeing you up time to perform more interviews to collect further data or just take a nap. If you find transcribing your interviews a chore, then get in touch. We will be delighted to transcribe them for you.

Supported Languages

Below is the list of popular languages we support for transcription.

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Is it necessary to transcribe interviews?

    Absolutely! Interview transcription ensures accuracy in reporting and makes it easier to find story connections between interviewees. Our brain fills in the gaps when it can't hear what an interviewee said, but those words may not be accurate. And skimming and scanning the written words is much faster than streaming hours of audio, making story connections jump off the page.

  • How can I improve the accuracy when I transcribe interviews to text?

    To get the highest possible accuracy rate when you transcribe interviews to text you need to upload a high-quality audio file. To obtain a high-quality audio file, it is advised that you maintain a consistent recording environment, avoid background noise, use quality microphones, and ensure that speakers talk directly into the microphone and avoid talking over one another.

  • How accurate are our transcription services?

    Ongoing technological advances continue to improve the accuracy rate of automatic transcription. Depending on the audio quality, speaker accents, and technical jargon, our automatic transcription software can achieve up to 85% accuracy. And with the help of our professional transcribers, your transcripts can be 99% accurate.

Customer Reviews
Rated Excellent 4.8/5 based on 850+ reviews
  • Perfect Video to Text transcription
    Perfect Video to Text transcription? It saved me hours of writing!
    Thomas Wing - Trustpilot
  • Perfect for transcribing
    This website is perfect for transcribing Any Video fast and with ease. To make it even better, it HAS Numerous Useful features like translation, etc. I highly recommend it.
    Yahia Mostafa - Trustpilot
  • Einfache wirklich tolle Art seine…
    Einfache wirklich tolle Art seine Videos zu mit Untertiel versehen.
    Renate Hotz - Trustpilot
  • Perfect Video to Text transcription
    Perfect Video to Text transcription? It saved me hours of writing!
    Thomas Wing - Trustpilot
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