Format Interview Transcripts Like a Pro

How to Format Interview Transcripts Like a Pro

Proper formatting of interview transcripts is essential for the success of any report or analysis. Yet, many overlook this fundamental step, resulting in work that fails to capture the essence of the interviewee's thoughts and ideas.

The correct format can transform a disorganized jumble of spoken words into a structured, meaningful, and actionable document. It also demonstrates the writer's professionalism, competence, and expertise.

But what is the optimal interview transcription format?

This guide will answer this question by examining the three major types of transcription formats. I will also delve into the nuances of how to write a transcribed interview, format conversations, and highlight sections in the transcription.

Novice and experienced transcriptionists will find this guide's insights and practical tips helpful in improving their transcriptions and mastering the art of interview transcription.

What is the Format for Interview Transcription?

Format for Interview Transcription

The practice of interview transcription has evolved with the advent of technology, and now there are three main formats for interview transcription:

1. Verbatim Transcription Format 

The verbatim format is the most comprehensive and detailed transcription format. It involves transcribing everything said during the interview, including all verbal pauses, filler words, stutters, and false starts.

The purpose is to capture what is said and how it is said to provide a complete and accurate interview record. This format is helpful for legal, medical, or academic research purposes.

What's in a verbatim transcript:

  • Everything the speakers said during the interview, including verbal pauses, filler words, stutters, and false starts.

  • Non-verbal communication, such as laughter, sighs, and pauses.

What's not in a verbatim transcript:

  • Background noise or irrelevant chatter.

Example: "Um, so, like, I was thinking about applying to that job at the library, but then I remembered I don't have any experience. Laughter It's ridiculous, right?"

2. Semi-verbatim Transcription Format 

Semi-verbatim is a more condensed version of the verbatim format. It involves omitting verbal pauses, filler words, and false starts to make the transcription easier to read and understand.

This format provides a more polished and coherent record of the interview while still maintaining a high level of accuracy. It is mainly helpful for journalistic or podcasting purposes.

What's in a semi-verbatim transcript:

  • Everything the speakers said during the interview, without some verbal pauses, filler words, and false starts.

What's not in a semi-verbatim transcript:

  • Background noise or irrelevant chatter.

Example: "I was thinking about applying to that job at the library, but I don't have any experience. It's ridiculous, right?"

3. Intelligent Verbatim Transcription Format 

The intelligent verbatim format omits most verbal pauses, filler words, false starts, and irrelevant or repetitive content. The purpose is to capture the main content of the interview while retaining key insights and ideas. This format is helpful for market research or business purposes.

What's in a verbatim transcript:

  • The main content of the interview, with most verbal pauses, filler words, and false starts removed.

  • Only relevant information contributes to the overall understanding of the interview.

What's not in a verbatim transcript:

  • Background noise or irrelevant chatter.

  • Repetitive or irrelevant content.

Example: "I don't have any experience for that library job; I won't apply."

When deciding which interview transcription format to use, consider the purpose of the transcript and the audience who will be reading it.

Verbatim transcription is most appropriate when every detail is essential, while semi-verbatim and intelligent verbatim are better suited for situations where a more concise and streamlined transcript is needed.

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Notta can simply convert your spoken interviews and conversations into text with 98.86% accuracy. This allows you to review and regain understanding from your interview.


How to Transcribe an Interview

Transcribe an Interview

Transcribing an interview is a process that requires patience, focus, and attention to detail. A poorly transcribed interview can lead to confusion, misunderstandings, and lost opportunities. Here are the steps to follow to avoid this:

Step 1: Listen to the full recording

Before transcribing, listen to the entire interview recording. This will help you understand the interview's context, tone, and content. It will familiarize you with the speakers' voices, accents, and any technical issues that may need addressing.

Step 2: Determine how much time you'll need

Based on the length and complexity of the interview, estimate how much time you will need to transcribe it accurately. This will help you to plan your time effectively and avoid rushing through the process.

Step 3: Select the proper tools

Using the right tools can make the transcription process faster and more efficient. Choose a reliable transcription software like Notta to transcribe your interviews. Notta is a transcription software that streamlines the transcription process by allowing you to edit, organize, and share your transcript.

Step 4: Write a draft first

Rather than transcribing the interview word-for-word, it is better to write a draft first. This allows you to identify difficult-to-hear sections and understand the speakers' speech patterns. You can then organize your thoughts and create a clear structure for the transcript.

Step 5: Use shortcuts

To save time and increase productivity, use shortcuts like keyboard shortcuts, auto-correct, and transcription templates.

Step 6: Proofread your draft

After completing it, read through it carefully to check for errors, typos, and other mistakes. It is vital to ensure that the transcript is accurate and error-free.

Step 7: Format the transcript

Finally, format the transcript in the required style and format. This includes adding headings, timestamps, and speaker labels.

Each of these steps is important to produce a high-quality transcript that accurately reflects the content of the interview. 

How to Identify Speakers in Interview Transcription

Identifying speakers in an interview transcript can be challenging, particularly if the recording includes multiple participants. However, Notta, an AI-powered transcription tool, streamlines this process and makes it much more efficient.

To use Notta, begin by uploading the video or audio file of the interview to the Notta Dashboard.

uploading the video or audio file

Next, find the recording in the dashboard and listen to it, paying close attention to who is speaking.

find the recording in the dashboard

 Notta will automatically transcribe the interview and label each speaker with a different color.

automatically transcribe the interview

If Notta incorrectly identifies a speaker, you can manually edit the transcription and assign the correct speaker label. This is important to ensure accuracy in the transcript.

Tips for Manually Labeling Speakers

When manually labeling speakers, having a system in place is helpful. Here are a few tips you can follow to make the task easier:

  1. Listen to the recording carefully: Before you start anything, listen to the recording more than once. Take notes of the speakers' names and the timecodes where they start and stop speaking.

  2. Label the speakers consistently: Make sure you label the speakers consistently throughout the transcript. For example, if you mark one speaker as "John," label them as "John" throughout the transcript.

  3. Indicate when there are multiple speakers: If there are multiple speakers in a section of the transcript, indicate this by using "Speaker 1" and "Speaker 2" or "Participant 1" and "Participant 2."

Exporting the Transcript

Once you have labeled the speakers in your transcript, you can export it in a format that suits your needs. Notta allows you to export transcripts in various forms, including SRT, PDF, Word, Text, and Excel.

Exporting the Transcript

How to Format Conversation for Interview Transcription

Formatting your interview transcription is essential in making it easily understandable and digestible. Here are some tips to consider when formatting your interview transcription.

Include a Clear Heading

Begin your interview transcription with a clear and concise heading. The heading should include the interviewer's name, the interviewee's, and the interview's date. This information is essential, especially when dealing with multiple transcripts, as it helps to differentiate and identify each interview.

Identify Speakers

Label every speaker with their name or code to make the transcription more reader-friendly. This step will help readers quickly identify who is speaking at any given time. You can also label speakers using different colors or labels such as "Interviewer" and "Interviewee."

Use Paragraphs

Paragraphs help to break down your transcription and make it easier to read. Each section should represent a different topic or shift in the conversation. When a speaker changes, begin a new paragraph. Proper use of paragraphs makes it easy to track the conversation flow and makes it simple to identify key themes