Having an interview transcript of important discussions and conversations has many benefits for many different industries.

There are various different methods to transcribing an audio interview, from transcription software used by machines, or by humans who are trained to complete the transcription process. There are many factors that can affect the way your audio recording is transcribed.

Today we will discuss how to transcribe an interview and the best practices that transcription services use to give you an accurate transcription of your audio or video interview.

Why Should You Use A Human Transcription Service Over A Computer Transcription Service?

When it comes to transcribing interviews there are many factors that mean that using a human transcription service will get you the most accurate results.

Computer transcription services have many limits within their software which makes transcribing interviews particularly difficult. These limits include the inability to overcome issues such as poor audio quality.

As well as this, computers have issues when it comes to speaker identification, which can affect how audio recordings featuring multiple speakers are transcribed. Human transcription services have the editing ability to ensure that the interview transcript looks like a conversation between various speakers.

A lot of companies use computer software for automatic transcription as they are typically cheaper, and have a faster turnaround time. However, the levels of accuracy that you receive are often poor. This can be detrimental for legal transcription as inaccurate interview transcripts can change the way the evidence is read and analysed.

Human transcriptionists also have the ability to offer clean verbatim transcription if required. This means that a human transcriptionist can remove any unwanted speech sounds such as stutters and false starts, as well as any filler words to create a file which is easier to read and understand.

At Alphabet our transcriptionists are highly trained to transcribe interviews, and include every detail to ensure you are left with the most accurate written record of your interview.

Fast typing speed for transcription.

What Skills Are Needed To Transcribe An Interview?

At Alphabet we use manual transcription to transcribe interviews. There are many skills required to be able to do this to a high standard.

The first skill that is required, as with any type of manual transcription, is to have a fast typing speed. Being able to type quickly is going to ensure a quicker turnaround time.

One of the most important things for any transcriptionist is to stay focused. In doing so, it will allow you to get in the correct frame of mind to be able to concentrate on the audio and to start transcribing. It also allows the transcriptionist to block out any background noise from the recording if necessary. Good quality sound cards, headphones and transcription software enable this.

Our transcriptionists will be able to assist on the best method to transcribe an interview depending on the context and industry it is required for. For example, when it comes to academic transcription we can use a clean verbatim transcription service, due to the fact that with educational recordings it is more beneficial to be able to read the necessary information.

There are certain industries where a strict verbatim transcription method is more suitable, an example of these include legal and medical transcription, where removing false starts and filler words can affect how the data is perceived.

At Alphabet we listen to the audio recording before we start transcribing to work out the complexity of the full transcript. It also allows us to work out the exact length of the audio or video recordings, and gives us an idea of the technical terminology used within the audio.

How Long Does It Take To Transcribe An Interview?

You are not going to be able to transcribe an interview in one shot. It takes a professional about six times the length of the recording to produce an accurate transcription. Our transcriptionists have access to the right tools and equipment which makes the process less time consuming, and allows us to transcribe in greater detail.

When transcribing audio or video interviews a foot pedal is a transcriber’s best friend. Being able to play, pause, rewind and fast forward with your foot is a lot less time consuming than relying on keystrokes to make these actions. This piece of equipment is great for doing a first pass of the audio file.

As well as this a good audio player is key. This is due to the fact that with higher quality equipment even poor quality audio can make the transcription process a lot easier, and save time.

There are many factors that come into play when it comes to how long it takes to transcribe an interview. For example, audio with poor quality will take longer to transcribe due to the fact that it will be more difficult to understand what is being said. As well as this the length of the audio itself is an important factor in how long it takes to transcribe. An hour long audio of a good quality, is not going to take the same amount of time to transcribe as a quick fifteen minute discussion. 

At Alphabet our transcriptionists are highly qualified and are equipped with the best equipment. This gives us an advantage, as highly qualified transcriptionists can transcribe faster than someone with less transcription experience. 

Person sitting typing on laptop.

Some Tips On How To Transcribe An Interview

When it comes to transcribing an interview, many transcriptionists use placeholder text during the transcription process. This placeholder text is great for speaker names and speech habits and can make editing at the end an easier process.

One approach is to identify the speakers as S1 and S2 in the first draft, and to use a find and replace function further down the line to replace these with the speakers actual names.

Leave the cosmetic details until you proofread. For example, any editing to the format, font size, page numbers should be done once the interview transcription is complete.

Use time codes where necessary. Time codes are great for interviews in the research industry, as readers can easily identify important moments of the transcript on the audio recording itself.

To Summarise

Overall there are many skills involved when it comes to transcribing an interview to assure that the data is highly accurate.

At Alphabet Secretarial we go above and beyond to ensure that your interview transcripts are to a high standard, and match your industry’s needs. Contact us today to find out more about our interview transcription services.