Transcribing an interview gives you an easy reference point when making critical decisions about who to hire or what research information to include in your report. It also makes it easier for you to create work reports, memos, and emails from the information covered in the interview, as you can copy and paste quotes from the interviewee. Some speech-to-text software even has features that create reports and memos from your transcript to save you time.
Today, we’ll go over everything you need to know about writing interview transcripts, preparing to transcribe an interview and other must-know tips for creating an interview transcript.
How to prepare to transcribe an interview
1. Know what you want from the interview transcript
Start by considering your end goal for the interview transcript. Are you using the information for a research report, to assess potential job candidates, or create work memos? Based on your end goal, you can adjust the type of transcription method to save you time down the road.
2. Get yourself prepared with the right tools
Computer and charger
Headphones: You’ll need a pair of high-quality headphones to pick up on every word said. Playing your recording out loud on a speaker can be challenging to hear well and feature distracting sounds, so we strongly recommend wearing headphones.
An audio player: Depending on how you transcribe the interview, you may create a recording and then upload it to your software. If this is the case, test a free audio player, like Windows Media Player or iTunes, and create a recording. If your interview is over Zoom or other video conferencing platforms, check to see if you can create a recording within the software.
Transcription software: Notta is a time-saving speech-to-text software with many outstanding features, including speaker identification, quick turnaround, and high accuracy. Notta has 104 support languages, easily exports transcripts to different formats, and even creates work memos or reports from your transcript. You can also use it to live transcribe your interview over Zoom or other platforms, or you can use it to transcribe a recorded audio clip.
Word processor: If you are transcribing the interview, you’ll need a text editor, such as MS Word, Google Docs, or Pages. Save your document as you go to avoid losing all your hard work!
A foot pedal: Professional transcribers usually invest in a foot pedal so that they can easily pause, rewind, play, and fast-forward your recording using your foot instead of hotkeys. Using your foot saves you time because you won’t need to make extra keystrokes.
3. Choose your transcription method
Before you start transcribing or choosing a transcription software, determine which transcription method will work best for your intended uses.
Verbatim transcription: A verbatim transcription includes every spoken word, including stutters, hesitations, such as “uh” or “you know,” and pauses. It’ll also include emotional expressions like someone laughing or crying. This type of transcription is primarily used for research or legal professions where somebody’s tone and emotion matter to the content.
Intelligent verbatim transcription: Intelligent verbatim transcription is the most commonly used type of transcription because it removes excess from the transcript to improve readability and grammar. For example, an intelligent verbatim transcription would remove “uh,” “yeah,” or “you know.” It would also fix broken sentences and grammatical errors and cut up long paragraphs. In most cases, you’ll want to choose this type of transcription because it’s easier to refer back to later.
Edited transcription: An edited transcription will be the most clean-cut and succinct transcript version. Essentially, an edited transcription is a summarized and highly edited version of the typical intelligent verbatim transcript. It won’t change the meaning of the story or interview, but it will dramatically change the length and cut out any unnecessary or repetitive bits.
How to transcribe an interview
Method 1: Transcribe an interview on your own
Transcribing an interview on your own involves playing the audio back and typing the transcript in a word processor as you go. Unfortunately, this can take around four hours of work for every hour of audio that you’re recording.
If you want to transcribe an interview on your own manually, you’ll need to take the following steps to ensure you create an accurate interview transcript:
1. Block Out Time
Manually transcribing audio takes a lot of time, about four hours for every one hour of audio. So, if you plan to transcribe an interview on your own, make sure to block out a large chunk of time in your schedule. Add extra time to your schedule if the audio is hard to understand, the speaker is difficult to understand or uses unfamiliar jargon or slang.
2. Listen to the recording all the way through
Listen to the recording all the way through before you begin transcribing. While listening, take down a few notes about how you may want to structure your transcript. For example, if you are transcribing a qualitative interview, you may want to organize the transcript into different sections for different types of research or parts of an experiment answer.
3. Transcribe a draft
After listening through the draft once, begin transcribing the draft on your second listen-through. Be prepared to pause the audio frequently so you can catch up, as most inexperienced transcribers will not be able to type as quickly as the speakers are talking in the audio. Pay close attention to the type of transcript editing rules so that you can stay consistent with formatting and omit unnecessary pauses or “ums” as you go.
Label each speaker with their name or initials. Spell out the person’s full name the first time they speak during the interview for the best reference. For added clarity, consider color-coding different speakers throughout the transcript.
If you cannot understand part of the audio even after rewinding the audio multiple times, type the word “unintelligible” in brackets and continue typing. If you have a guess about what is being said, type your best guess inside brackets to indicate that you aren’t 100% positive about what is being said.
4. Go through the draft and edit
After completing the transcript, go through and edit out any mistakes. Make sure that the transcript is as straightforward as possible and that you are adhering to any specific transcription rules for the type of transcript you’ve chosen and the field in which you work.
Indicate any breaks within the interview by notating them with brackets at specific points.
5. Format the document
Use the following intelligent verbatim transcript format to keep your transcription consistent and easy to read:
Audio [file name]
Transcribed: [19 September 2022]
Interviewee: Opening statement
Interviewer: Response - [00:49 unclear] - use this formatting to indicate unclear parts of the conversation.
Method 2: Transcribe an interview using Notta
1. Steps to get transcripts of an interview with Notta
Start by locating your recording. Depending on how you recorded the interview, the file may be stored on your computer, the Cloud, or within the software that you created the recording through, such as Zoom or Google Meet.
Locate the recording, then go to Notta and create an account.
Go to your Notta Dashboard and click ‘Import Files.’
Locate your file and allow it to finish uploading to Notta, then click ‘Close.’ Your transcript will now be located within your dashboard.
Click on the transcript within the dashboard.
Once the file is uploaded, Notta will automatically create an editable transcript from the audio with time stamps.
Notta also supports transcribing real-time conversations. You can even schedule the Notta Live Bot to join online meetings, such as Zoom, so that it can record and transcribe your interview live.
2. How to edit the transcript and speaker with Notta
Notta transcribes audio with high accuracy. However, it’s still wise to do a quick read-through of your transcript before sharing it with others to ensure everything is as accurate as possible.
Notta has a user-friendly interface that allows you to edit your text by simply clicking on the text directly and making your edit. You can also play the transcript aloud with Notta, and the software will automatically highlight the words as they are spoken in the audio. This can help you make any edits faster.
You can also turn “Automatic correction’ off above your transcript if you want to edit the transcript yourself without the use of Notta’s automatic editing software.
You can also highlight key points of the transcript by hovering over any text block and clicking ‘Key Point’ in the top right corner. Likewise, you can click ‘Add Image’ in the same section to insert relevant images to your transcript or to transform the transcript into a more eye-appealing report.
Lastly, don’t forget to rename your transcript by clicking the automatically added title at the top of the page. Rename it to something easy to remember, notable, and ideally, with the date and location in the title.
3. How to export the transcript
After you’ve completed your edits, click ‘Export’ at the top of the page to download your Zoom transcript. From there, you can select from a variety of file formats and also opt to include timestamps within the downloaded file. Other options include merging full text, having a share link, and including marks and notes you added to the file.
Which is the easiest way to transcribe an interview?
The easiest way to transcribe an interview is using a speech-to-text transcription software like Notta. Notta frees up your hands and saves you time by creating an accurate transcription of recorded and live audio, such as interviews, work meetings, lectures, and more.
Notta also improves your productivity by allowing you to make quick edits to the interview transcript, add notes or images to the file, and export the transcription in multiple formats.
Why do we need to transcribe interviews?
We need to transcribe interviews to keep information and research accurate. Whether you’re transcribing a job interview or a qualitative research interview, having an accurate record of everything said provides you with a specific transcript to refer back to for important decisions, such as choosing who to hire or what information to quote for your research project. You can also take transcribed interviews and transform them into work reports, memos, and newsletters to share information with coworkers.
How long does it take to transcribe an interview of 1 hour?
It takes about four hours to transcribe every one hour of audio. So, if you have an interview of one hour, you can expect to spend about four hours manually transcribing your interview. However, using speech-to-text transcription tools, like Notta, saves you hours of transcribing and frees up that time for other tasks.
What will affect the transcription of an interview?
Many things will affect the transcription of an interview, including background noise, a lack of proper pronunciation, or talking too fast. Specific transcription software is also only designed for one language, such as English, so if an individual has a strong accent or uses a unique dialect when they speak, this may affect the accuracy of the transcription.
What does it mean to transcribe an interview?
Transcribing an interview means converting the spoken words to text verbatim. Transcribing an interview, work meeting, or lecture is a widespread practice because it allows you to create a reference and perform a deeper analysis of what was said during the interview.
Transcribing an interview has many valuable uses for your personal, professional, and academic life. Between serving as a valuable reference for the interview, or a quick way to create memos, reports, and other work resources, you should always record interviews because you never know when you’ll need to refer back to the information.
We hope today’s article on how to write interview transcripts and valuable interview transcription software that can save you time transcribing recordings manually. Notta can save you hours of work transcribing interviews manually and has a high accuracy rate, saving you additional time editing the transcript later on.