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Tips to Transcribe an Interview

Published by at August 16th, 2021 , Revised On February 9, 2023

Interview transcription is the conversion of speech into written format. It includes question-answer recording sessions between two or more people. It’s generally used for business, legal, research, media, and medical purposes.

Do you know it may easily take 6-7 hours to transcribe an interview of one hour?

Yes, you heard it right, and the speed of transcribing depends on your skills and proficiency.

To transcribe an interview efficiently, you need to be proficient in the following skills:

  • Listening capabilities
  • Patience
  • Language proficiency
  • Editing

How to Transcribe an Interview?

Please write down the interviewer and interviewee’s name along with the time, date, and location where it was conducted.

It’s essential to select an appropriate transcribing method before starting your transcribing procedure, depending on the purpose of your transcription. Let’s take a look at the following methods of transcription.

Verbatim Transcription

Verbatim transcription is the method of converting the conversation into text precisely the way the participant spoke it. It would help if you were careful while listening to the audio for capturing the sound, tone, words, pauses. You can make use of punctuation to convey the exact speech.

There’re three types of verbatim transcriptions such as:

Intelligent Verbatim

It’s a ready-to-read transcript, and it includes a transcript with minor paraphrasing and detailed editing. It consists of the entire conversation of the transcript with slight paraphrasing by eliminating:

  • Grammatical errors
  • Fillers (umm, huh, you know, I mean)
  • Incomplete sentences
  • Repetitions
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Unwanted sounds.
  • Shutters (Ac-Ac-Actually)


Verbatim is a word-to-word transcript of the audio recording with grammatical errors and false starts, excluding the clutters (Ac-Ac-Actually) and repetitions. Journalists, students, and researchers use this style frequently.

True Verbatim

True verbatim is a detailed word-to-word transcript of the conversation without editing, paraphrasing, or eliminating non-verbal communication. Academic researchers widely use it.

Listen to the Audio Carefully

Sometimes it’s difficult to understand a few words or sentences in the conversation and their meaning. You need to:

  • Repeat it and listen multiple times
  • Note down the meaning of a specific phrase or word.
  • Highlight the text which was not there in the audio and added by you.


Tips for Writing the Transcript

Follow these rules while editing transcript:
Brackets/Parenthesis [ ]: You can use brackets if you add any clarification notes that are not present in the transcript.

I never expected to visit LA [ Loss Angeles]

Em dash (—): You can use it to indicate

  • Incomplete sentences or phrases
  • Speech interrupted by another speaker.
  • Continuation of the speech after the interruption
  • The speaker can take a pause etc.

While I was shopping—wandering up and down the aisles, actually—I ran into our old neighbor.

Ellipses (…): You can ellipse to indicate the missing audio.

“I was about to… but I realised that it’s going to be alright.”

Non-verbal communication: You can italicize the non-verbal sounds or events in parenthesis.

(Laughs), (cries) or (claps)

Double question marks: when it’s difficult to understand any word, phrase, or sentence in the conversation, you can make a smart guess using double question marks in parenthesis + timestamp and highlight.

Trajetry(??) or Trajectory(??) [00.20.13]

If you can’t understand it, then you can write (unintelligible—00.15.20) +timestamp

Why should you use a Plagiarism Detector for your Paper?

It ensures:

  • Original work
  • Structure and Clarity
  • Zero Spelling Errors
  • No Punctuation Faults
Why should you use a Plagiarism Detector for your Paper

Analyse and Proofread

Once you’ve written your transcript, it’s time to analyse it. It takes a lot of time to go through the textual data. You can use the coding method to analyze the written transcript. 

Coding is a way of tagging the data and organizing it into a sequence of symbols, numbers, and letters to highlight the relevant points. 

You can also use content analysis, discourse analysis, and thematic analysis to analyze your transcript.

After writing your transcript, you should:

  • Proofread it to edit grammatical and spelling errors.
  • Check the punctuation, capitalisation, and spacing of your text.

Transcribe Smartly

It’s time to save time and work smartly, as we have already discussed that it may take around 6-7 hours to transcribe an interview of one hour. You don’t have to worry when you have technology at your fingertips. Today, there are many transcription software these days, such as Happy ScribeTrintTranscribe. It saves your time and helps you transcribe effortlessly.

Most of the transcription software is designed to convert English conversation to textual form. Your audio should be:

  • Audible without any background sounds or disturbance
  • Clear accents and voice
  • Good microphones

If your audio quality is inadequate and unclear, you may not get the exact transcript, and you need to either dictate it or transcribe it manually.

About Alvin Nicolas

Avatar for Alvin NicolasNicolas has a master's degree in literature and a PhD degree in statistics. He loves to write, cook and run. Nicolas is passionate about helping students at all levels.