What Is Interview Transcription?

G. Wiesen

Interview transcription is a process by which recorded audio from an interview is reproduced as a typed, text document. This is often done by someone who works for a transcription company or service, and can utilize digital audio recordings or traditional analog recordings while producing digital copies of the transcription. Different levels of accuracy can be utilized, depending on what is preferred by a client, and this type of transcription can be created for an interview between only two subjects or a group setting. Interview transcription is often done in a wide range of fields, often for research or focus group testing.

Interview transcription is often done in a wide range of fields.
Interview transcription is often done in a wide range of fields.

The basic purpose behind an interview transcription is for an audio recording to be transferred into a text document that contains all of the same information as the recording. There are many reasons why a person may want to make a recording of an interview, and while audio can be advantageous in some situations, a text record can also prove useful. An interview transcription service utilizes an audio recording to create this type of written record. Different types of audio can be supplied for a transcription to be made, though digital recordings often make the process easier.

Interview transcription involves taking recorded audio from an interview and reproducing it as a typed text document.
Interview transcription involves taking recorded audio from an interview and reproducing it as a typed text document.

Interview transcription can be provided by various companies that utilize different methods and practices for such transcription. Verbatim transcription, for example, usually means that a recording is reproduced in text as an exact copy of the original words and sounds in the recording. Any secondary sounds like “um” or similar verbal pauses in conversation are transcribed just like the actual speech in the recording. This type of interview transcription can be important for linguists, but may be unnecessary for others, and near-verbatim transcriptions may be preferable in other fields.

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Transcriptions may be taken from a job interview if a supervisor is not able to be present for the interview.
Transcriptions may be taken from a job interview if a supervisor is not able to be present for the interview.

There are a number of different reasons for the use of interview transcription services, though many people who perform research often use such services. Someone performing research for an investigative report, news article, or scholarly article might want a text record of what was said during an interview. It can be easier for someone to quickly flip through pages of a transcript to find a particular section or phrase than to go through hours of audio recording. Services that provide interview transcription often assure confidentiality for information in the interview, and can transcribe a simple interview between two people or more complex interviews that include a dozen people discussing a new product or service.

Interview transcription can be created for an interview between only two subjects or a group setting.
Interview transcription can be created for an interview between only two subjects or a group setting.
Journalists might use a digital device to obtain accurate quotes from a source.
Journalists might use a digital device to obtain accurate quotes from a source.

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