How Do You Transcribe An Interview? Why It Is Important?

When starting out as a transcriber, you will notice that most of the audio/video files you will be working on, will be interviews. This is not to say that you will never meet single speaker audios but it’s to support the proven fact that 60% of audio transcription is usually in the form of an interview. Of course, depending on what industry, you are working in, you will definitely find yourself working on an interview transcription and if you don’t know how to do it, you will end up with a not so conclusive transcript for your client.

  • Transcription is the process of creating a transcript or a text format of an audio/video file by typing out every single thing that you hear.
  • An interview on the other hand is a conversation between two people where one is asking questions and the other answers. The questions are usually asked by an interviewer while the interviewee answers them.
  • Interview transcription is the process where a transcriber creates a transcript of interview audios. On the speaker tags of the transcript, you will find a conversation between an interviewer and an interviewee.

In this article, we will look at some things you need to consider when doing an interview transcription in order for you to come up with conclusive transcripts on the same and also briefly look at the importance of creating an interview transcript.

Steps in creating perfect interview transcriptions

1. Pre-listening to the audio

Having worked as a film transcriber, I can tell you for sure that sometimes you will get audio/videos that are not in the best way or form and you will still have to work on them to the best of your ability. When you pre-listen audios, you can first determine the quality of the audio. You can tell whether it’s an audio that is clear or one that has a lot of distortion and background noises. You can also find out whether the interview is between two speakers, three speakers, or even four speakers. Pre-listening to the audio also helps in determining whether the speakers are male or female and this is when you get the first feel of their voices which helps you differentiate who is who when creating tags. Another reason you should always Pre-listening to your audios is so you can determine the genre in which the interview is in. There are different transcription industries and being able to ascertain which industry your audio belongs to will definitely come in handy because then you will know the correct jargon to use. You should also listen to the audio from beginning to end before you decide to use an audio-to-text converter, outsource it to an agency, or transcribe it yourself.

2. Estimate the time it will take you to finish the audio

By now, you have listened to the audio you are supposed to work and decided to work on it by yourself and not outsource it. This is where you estimate how much time you will need to finish the transcription in its entirety. Different people with different strokes. I say this because everybody will take different amounts of time to finish 10-minutes of audio and that is very normal because our typing speeds are not the same. One person might take an hour and 30 minutes to do 10-minutes of audio while someone else will take three hours to do the same number of minutes. A pro transcriber will always take less time compared to a beginner transcriber.

Depending on how fast your typing speed is and the Turn around time set by your client, it is important to estimate the time you think you will take to finish the audio. When doing this be sure to incorporate typing speed, proofreading, editing, and formatting because these are all things that need to take place during a transcription process before you send your transcript back to your client.

3. Select the proper tools

Always have all the tools that you need for your transcription process close to you and in perfect form. You don’t want to be working on a personal computer that keeps on shutting down unprovoked because it will be the reason you lag while your time elapses. You also do not want to use faulty earphones/headphones, which won’t allow you to listen to your audio/video without any sound breaks. The most important tools you need for a transcription process are; Personal computer, headphones/earphones, a word processor, an easy speech to word software, and a steady Internet connection if you are working from home. It is also of most importance to get a transcription audio play”  on your computer because it allows you to use hot-keys for play/pause/rewind/fast-forward/time-coding functions without you needing to take your hands off the keyboard.

4. Write a draft first

Now you will start your transcription process. The best thing to do is to always first type out exactly what you hear. You will be surprised by how you will hear different things every single time you listen to the audio afresh. It is important to create a draft of what you hear when you first start the transcription process. Many people feel the need to create and format a transcript as they go, but this usually ends up wasting so much of your time and you end up not finishing audios because you concentrated more on formatting. Creating a draft will help you transcribe in short intervals, which further helps you to stay focused.

5. Use shortcuts

Shortcuts will be your best friend as you type out your interview transcripts. Have you ever wondered why writing skill is one skill that is important for a transcriber? Well, it is because writers know how to use shortcuts as automated tools to work for them when they are working. When transcribing, you should always enable auto-correct or auto-complete. These tools allow you to continue typing without having to correct every minor typing error as you go. You won’t keep on checking if you typed your words correctly and waste more time because these shortcut tools will help you in doing that.

6. Proofread your draft

Once you are done typing out your transcript, you need to proofread it in order to check out any words you did not capture, grammatical errors, and spelling mistakes. You also need to look out for your punctuation and make sure that you have placed them where they are supposed to be. This allows you to send back the transcript to your client knowing well that there will be no errors and that the transcript is in perfect form.

7. Format the transcript

This is usually the last step in interview transcriptions or any kind of transcription you might be doing. Formating usually helps in making it easy for anyone interacting with your transcript to decipher what is being communicated. One thing you need to note though is that you will only format your transcript according to what your client has requested. Different clients request different transcripts formats. You will probably need to change the font, split the text into paragraphs and add, headers, titles, and page numbers.

Benefits Of Creating An Interview Transcript

With that said, we will glance at some benefits of writing an interview transcript.

  1. Captures each detail: Just like in any form of discussion or conversation, you will not miss information that is of most importance and that information needs to be captured for future reference. It won’t be possible to get that information in an hour-long audio/video but if a transcript of the audio is created then finding that particular detail will be much simpler and easy to do.
  2. Enables others to access the interview: Creating an interview transcript, makes it easy for other people who happened not to be in the interview to go through an interview easily to know what exactly was said and how it went. You don’t have to go through long audio of an interview for you to determine whether the interviewee gets the job or not.
  3. Allows the interviewer to focus: If you have noticed, a lot of interviewers are always taking notes on a notebook whenever they interview anyone. This is usually them trying to note down the answers the interviewee is giving so that they can reference back. This usually doesn’t allow them to concentrate and do their work well and so if someone else is creating a transcript on the same then they will be able to concentrate and make their interviews worthwhile.
  4. Provides you with direct documentation: Transcription is generally done to help with the documentation of important files.  Having direct documentation to refer to will enable your interviewer to have a detailed examination of the events of the entire interaction. This usually comes in handy for interviewers because they are able to understand an interaction deeply and helps them in selecting the correct candidate for an organization.

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