Although an interview transcript sounds as if it is pretty straightforward, the process requires considerable effort, time and patience. To make it even more challenging, it is key that your interviews are transcribed accurately and presented correctly. If not, there could be key data that can get lost. As a matter of fact, students are required to submit transcripts of interviews along with their dissertations.
Presentation, therefore, really matters as you will not be the only one who has to refer to it. So, to help ensure that you ace your research paper, use these tips as some guidelines for crafting an accurate transcript.
There are a few different ways to edit your transcript. If you are completing qualitative research or interviews, you will either opt for true verbatim (referred to as strict verbatim) or clean verbatim (also referred to as intelligent verbatim). You might also have to include timestamps at regular intervals (such as every 30 seconds).
When you are using true verbatim, you need to include all the utterances like false starts and noises in the background. Clean verbatim is easier to transcribe and read (hence, more popular) as it removes these stutters, background noises, false starts, etc.
Typing up an interview calls for excellent listening skills and fast typing. Then, you will also need to edit it depending on the style that is required.
An interview is usually composed of a question followed by an answer. So, each time you will need to type out the name of the person who is conducting the interview whenever a question is asked. Then, when an answer is given, you will need to remember to type out the name of the interviewee. Do not forget to skip a line between the different speakers as this will improve the presentation and flow of the transcript. Luckily, a tool like Audext offers automatic voice recognition which can make this task much easier.
After you have made sure that all the speakers have been identified correctly, you will turn your attention to their actual words. For example, if more than one idea is mentioned at a time, you can use different paragraphs to make it easier to make sense of the flow of the conversation.
If you decide to transcribe it without the help of software, you will need to listen to your recording again after you have typed out the initial draft to edit the grammar and spelling where needed. Needless to say, this is very time-consuming! Therefore, it is a very good idea to use a tool such as Audext that can complete the bulk of the work for you, leaving you with only some editing required.
If you have formally recorded your interview and you would like to refer to it in a research paper, you will have to include a formal entry in the reference list in addition to citing it in the actual text as well.
There are a couple of different style guides of which the American Psychological Association (APA) is one of the style guides most often used. It is crucial to note that each style guide has its own set of specific guidelines with regards to the format of the transcript.
Students often struggle to understand the correct format, even more so when they need to cite an interview using the APA format. When using the APA format, the surname of the interviewee must be cited in the body of the text. If it makes sense, you may also include the name of the interviewer in the text by writing something like “According to Brown’s interview of Moore”.
Then, in the reference list, the interviewee must be cited again as the interview’s author by first writing his/her surname and then the initial (for example, “Moore, S.”). Other details that must be included in the reference list are the year of publication, the interview’s title in italics followed by the name of the interviewer and the medium of the interview (e.g. transcript).
To help you understand the guidelines that have been mentioned, here is a short example that has been transcribed. In this interview, the interviewer, Ben, interviews a musician, Philip. The clean verbatim format has been used and regular timestamps have been included too.
[00:00] Ben: So, let’s go right into it and tell me how did you start as a musician?
Philip: That has been something that I was always fascinated by already as a kid.
Technically, I would suppose I started by learning the trumpet at the age of nine, forcefully somewhat, and I didn’t like it, but I always appreciated how music was put together.
[00:30] So, I spent then just a lot of time doing research and experimentation and just finding my way. It was kind of a passion that it got me deeper and deeper into it, just by chance. So, yeah that’s kind of the start of that.
Ben: And did you consider yourself a musician in the beginning or was it just an
An organic slow process of becoming one?
Philip: You know, I honestly never considered myself a musician. I just considered myself a person that was interested in this.
[01:00] I guess you can call me a musician, but a musician for me is somebody who has some training in this and a lot of what I do is self-taught.
Students find it a lot easier to refer to a transcript instead of having to replay and listen to the audio file. If there is no transcript, you will have to replay the file of the audio recording countless times just to get the relevant info that you need to quote!
All in all, an interview transcript makes the task of analyzing your data much simpler, helping you to draw the right logical conclusions. Plus, it is much easier to keep a transcript if you need to retrieve it at a later stage again.
Katin runs her own podcast show, and interested in best ways to transcribe audio recordings into text.