A Complete Guide to Writing Interview Transcripts

Transcription is becoming more popular by the day as more organizations acknowledge the need to have their audio content converted into written form. In this article, we’re paying special attention to interviews.

Writing Interview Transcripts: How to Go About It

What is a transcript of an interview? It is the written format of a verbal interview. Transcribing audio or visual interviews into text form presents them in a format that’s easier to interact with. Reading is easier and faster than listening to a recording from start to finish. Moreover, if you need to share the content with others, you can simply distribute copies of the transcript, eliminating the need for screens, headphones, and bulky media players.

Compared to other forms of audio content, interviews present the extra challenge of having multiple speakers whose tones and accents could differ. Not to worry, though. We’re here to show you how to do it right.

Get the Interview Context

Before you start transcribing one sentence after the other, familiarize yourself with the topic covered by the interview. Let’s say you’re transcribing a discussion between a journalist and a musical band on an upcoming album. If you don’t know anything about the band in question, it’ll be difficult to make head or tail of the conversation. Carry out basic research on the group. Learn about its history, members, projects, albums, events, and anything else of significance.

This way, the subjects covered in the discussion will be familiar and easy to follow. While the aim of transcribing an interview is to write down everything that was said, having a general understanding of the topic at hand will surely speed things up.

Listen to the Entire Audio

It is important to sample the entire conversation before you begin transcribing. Other than getting an overview of the content, this initial run helps you figure out the number of speakers and their identities, which goes a long way in helping you structure your transcript.

Listen up for any terminology you’re unfamiliar with and Google it. Take note of the speed of the conversation so you can prepare yourself. Listen multiple times if you need to until you have familiarized yourself with the flow of the interview. The transcription job will be faster just by doing so.

Start With a Draft

In this step, you transcribe without worrying too much about accuracy. Just type what you hear, and avoid constant rewinding. That will only slow you down and affect your typing speed. Since you’re already familiar with the content, listening once should suffice.

Edit and Format

Finally, go through the transcript. Fill in any missing bits, and correct typos and grammatical mistakes. Here, you also get to decide if you need the script in full verbatim, with every word recorded precisely as spoken, or if you’re better off omitting some repetitions, false starts, etc.

Another important step here is to determine if the entire interview needs to end up in the final transcript or just parts of it. If the first five minutes of the file contain unrelated conversations, for instance, you can decide to cut out that segment. Finally, format the transcript appropriately, matching every speaker with the respective part of the conversation.

Let the Professionals Handle Your Interview Transcripts

A transcribed interview offers an accurate account of the conversation that you can scan through at a glance. At times, transcripts also serve as information backup and legal documents.

Transcribing an interview is no mean feat, especially when several speakers are involved. Fortunately, experts abound, such as GoTranscript, whose experienced transcribers are well equipped to handle such projects.


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