Top 10 Tips to make the most of your audio transcriptions #ECRchat #PHDchat #research

Catch these great tips from our experienced transcriber to help you get the best result at
the lowest cost.

  1. Before you conduct your interview(s), check to see that the recording device works properly and the audio is clear.  Oftentimes the audio has a fuzzy background, or the voices are distorted which makes it more difficult for the transcriber to accurately record everything that is being said. 
  2. When you conduct the interview, ensure that the facilitator and participant(s) are sitting close enough to the recording device to be heard clearly. When facilitating, avoid making additional noise – two common noises that really interfere with being able to hear the interview clearly include rustling of papers and clicking/tapping pens.
  3. When conducting the interview, consider background noise.  A quiet room is the best place to conduct an interview.  Examples to avoid are busy cafés, sitting near busy roads, sitting outside underneath a flight path, near a train station, near a playground (with children playing/screaming). 
  4. Try to encourage the participants to take turns when speaking.  It’s often difficult to hear what one participant is saying if another interrupts them.  If this does happen, asking the participant(s) to repeat themselves or to clarify what they said will ensure that potentially important data is not wasted.
  5. Getting the participants to introduce themselves at the beginning of the interview can be helpful.  It means that the transcriber will be able to identify the participants when transcribing.  You, as the facilitator, can always provide a list of pseudonyms so the transcriber can change the name(s) of the participants (for deidentification purposes), but still allowing you to identify participant responses.
  6. Sometimes when interviews are conducted, the participants may be eating or drinking.  Again, the rustling of packets can be very intrusive when trying to transcribe an interview, but it’s also difficult to hear what someone is saying if their mouth is full of food or if another participant is chewing loudly nearby.
  7. Make a note to keep an eye on your recording device to ensure that it is still recording throughout the interview.  Some interviewers prefer more than one recording device.  Make sure that your device(s) are charged up/have batteries.  If you are using your phone to record the interview, turning it on silent (without vibrate) is the best option as the phone vibrating is loud (when transcribing) and can also interrupt the train of thought for participants. 
  8. To ensure the accuracy in transcribing terminology, provide the transcriber with a web page address or a glossary which lists the most common acronyms and terminology that may be used in an interview.
  9. Terms such as ‘inaudible’ will be used when the transcriber cannot make out what is being said in the recording.  Please indicate if you wish the transcriber to use another word or any other protocols for dealing with pauses, etc., so it does not interfere with the coding of data.  For example, silence or laughter may be important to you, and you may wish these to be indicated in a particular way.
  10. When possible, provide a list of the questions (or the topics that will be covered) the facilitator will be used for the interviews.