How to Transcribe an Interview [2 Proven Methods]

If you often have interviews, you must be familiar with the process of recording the conversation and then writing an interview transcript.

A transcript allows you to organize the information for publishment and also pinpoint exact information without the need to go over the recording many times. However, it can also take up hours of valuable time that could be spent on other important tasks. Is there a way to transcribe interviews more efficiently? 

Read this article for tips and the tools to create top-notch interview transcripts that capture the essence of your interviews. Let's get started!

What is an Interview Transcript?

An interview transcript is a written document that captures the spoken content of an interview. It should list the interviewer and interviewee's names, interview date and time, and then the complete text.

Transcripts can be highly detailed, capturing every spoken word or, in some cases, more of a summary based on the primary points covered during the interview. The process generally involves the following steps:

  • Recording the interview using a digital device

  • Transferring the recording to a computer or transcription software

  • Transcribing the spoken words into text format

  • Refining the transcript for precision, clarity, and formatting

  • Delivering the transcript in the required file format

[Interview transcript example]

interview transcript example

Interview transcripts can be a valuable asset for professionals seeking to collect, categorize, and quickly retrieve detailed information from interviews. 

The Benefits of Transcribing an Interview

For busy professionals who regularly conduct interviews, transcription offers the following benefits:

  • Enables focused attention during interviews

As an interviewer, it's crucial to understand candidates by actively listening to and responding to their answers. While taking notes can help in this process, avoiding getting distracted by writing everything down. 

Interview transcription allows you to review the conversation later with more attention to detail. So you remain fully present during the interview and focus on the candidate's responses without worrying about capturing every word at the moment.

  • Transforms audio into actionable content

Interview transcripts enable professionals to access critical information efficiently and convert it into actionable content. For instance, if an interviewee mentions a new development in their field, the transcript can serve as a starting point for the reporter to conduct additional research and investigation, which can lead to more in-depth and informative reporting.

  • Serves as a powerful tool for analysis

A transcript is a valuable tool for analysis, enabling researchers and journalists to identify patterns, themes, and trends in the conversation that may not have been immediately apparent during the interview. 

In addition, it can help to uncover discrepancies or contradictions in the interviewee's responses, providing a deeper understanding of the subject matter. 

Now you have an overview of the interview transcription, let’s get our hands on it. In this article, we cover two major ways to transcribe an interview.

Transcribe an Interview Automatically with Notta

Did you know that transcribing an hour of audio can take anywhere between three to more than eight hours? No wonder it takes a lot of time and effort to transcribe an interview verbatim, as you need to be precise and accurate.

Even experienced transcribers can find it tedious and may make mistakes. Additionally, if there are many mistakes, the transcript might not be very useful. 

So, if you are looking for a fast and accurate way to transcribe interviews, the Notta transcription tool is your best solution. is available on Desktop, Android, and iOS devices, so you can access it anywhere.

Here is why you should choose Notta for your transcription needs:

  • Fast and accurate transcription: Notta uses AI-powered technology to transcribe interviews quickly and with a remarkable accuracy rate of up to 98%. Additionally, it helps you transcribe interviews in over 104 languages, including English, French, Japanese, and Spanish.

  • Easy editing: Notta has a built-in media player and editor, allowing you to play back video or audio at variable speeds while making necessary edits. Also, you can keep all your interview transcripts organized in one Workspace rather than scattering them all around.

  • Export: You can export the interview transcription to various formats like TXT, PDF, DOCX, and more.

  • Provides live transcription: Besides file transcription, Notta can also record and transcribe speech into text in real-time, freeing you from all the hassles.

    Notta audio and video transcription software on desktop, mobile- or iPad

3 steps to transcribe audio/video interviews with Notta

Notta has an innovative and user-friendly interface that simplifies the transcription process for novice and experienced users. Follow these steps for converting speech to text:

Step 1: Upload the audio/video interview

Log in to your Notta account and click on the Import Files button on the right-hand panel. You can then simply drag the file to the upload area or select it from your device.

If your recording file is stored in Google Drive or Dropbox, you can directly paste the link.

Upload your Instagram video to Notta

Step 2: Transcribing

The app will begin transcription as soon as you upload the interview file. You can find ongoing transcription in Recent Recordings and look for the file name.

Step 3: Review and export

Once the transcription is done, review and make any necessary edits directly within the software. 

Once you're satisfied with the changes, you can easily export the transcript to a preferred format.

Notta supports a variety of file formats for export

In only three steps and simple clicks, you can get a complete interview transcript with Notta!

Try Notta for Free

How to Transcribe an Interview Manually by Yourself 

Transcribing an interview manually by yourself involves listening to an audio or video recording of the interview and typing all conversations down. This can be a time-consuming process, but if you decide to do a transcription manually instead of using AI transcription software, here are six steps that will guide you through.

Step 1: Listen to the full recording

It's a common mistake for people to jump right into transcription without initially assessing the complexity of the recording. Listening to the audio before starting helps to ensure that the transcription process runs smoothly and accurately.

When listening to the audio, take note of the following:

  • The length of the recording

  • Any technical terms or specialized language used

  • The number of speakers involved and their speaking pace

Step 2: Choose a transcription method

The complexity of the audio significantly impacts the transcription method you should choose. Here are three types of frequently used transcription styles:

  • Verbatim transcription captures every word, including filler words such as  "um" and "ah," making it suitable for legal or medical transcripts where even the minutest details are essential.

  • Intelligent verbatim transcription focuses on the essence of the conversation by removing non-essential elements, such as filler words, while maintaining the context of the discussion. This method is ideal for interviews where you want to capture the essence of what was said without including unnecessary words.

  • Edited transcription goes a step further by condensing the text, removing even more non-essential elements, and presenting the transcript in a more readable format. This approach is often used for market research and qualitative analysis.

You can zero in on the transcription style that best suits your needs.

Step 3: Get the right tools

To effectively transcribe your audio or video recordings, having the proper tools at your disposal is important. The essentials include a computer with a word processor, an audio player, and headphones (preferably over-ear with noise-canceling capabilities) to help you pick up on subtle details and reduce background noise while typing.

There is also transcription software to help, such as oTranscribe. It is a web-based platform that allows you to pause, fast-forward, and rewind the video/audio while transcribing.

Step 4: Create a draft

It is advisable to start with an initial rough draft when transcribing, especially if you're not confident with your typing speed. Accuracy should not be a primary concern at this stage, as you will have the opportunity to review and revise the transcript later. While transcribing, try to avoid rewinding the recording frequently and take necessary breaks if needed.

To speed up the typing process, you can use shortcuts for frequently used words or phrases. For instance, you may use "w/" as a shorthand for "with." You can later go back and make necessary edits using the 'find and replace' function.

Step 5: Proofread and edit the transcript

It is recommended to review both the transcript and audio recording of the interview several times to ensure accuracy. This will help you identify any errors or omissions and make corrections as necessary. 

Additionally, paying close attention to typos and punctuation errors to maintain consistency and accuracy throughout the document. You can use spelling-check tools such as the one in MS Word, which can help catch common errors and suggest corrections. 

Step 6: Format the transcript

Formatting your transcript to resemble an interview transcript is the next step. This entails inserting paragraph breaks, including meeting title and time, adding page numbers, and adjusting font sizes as necessary. 

Finally, take a moment to review the transcript one last time to ensure it conforms to your desired formatting.

Tips for getting a high-quality transcript

1. Use a high-quality audio recording

Ensure the interview audio recording is clear and of good quality. Try investing in a good recorder, this will make it easier to transcribe accurately, saving you time and, in the long run, is cost-effective.

2. Use headphones

Use headphones to block out background noise and focus on the audio recording. This can help you transcribe more accurately and let you listen to minor details you could have missed if there was noise surrounding you.

Getting Your Interview Transcribed

We have outlined two effective ways for transcribing interviews, both of which are accessible and free. 

However, we strongly recommend going with automated interview transcription because it can save you hours of manual transcription work without compromising the quality. Notta podcast transcription service instantly transforms audio and video files into text, enabling you to search, edit, and export the document; just get started for free! 

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