How to Transcribe Data


Transcribing involves listening to recorded data and typing out exactly what was said. You may have to transcribe notes or interviews for a project in college. There are also professions that will require you to transcribe data. These professions include court reporting, news reporting or medical transcription. You may work for other transcription service companies that will require you to transcribe messages and other important information for clients. You must have excellent listening and typing skills. Whether it's for school or work, you should practice transcribing properly in order to excel at it.

Things You'll Need

  • Headphones
  • Word Processor
  • Cassette Recorder
  • Conduct the interview. Make sure you have a fresh cassette tape in the cassette recorder. Hit "Record" before the interview begins.

  • Summarize the interview afterward. Work on this as soon as possible, since it's fresh in your mind. Make a rough draft of what you remember from the interview.

  • Listen to your recording. Type any key information that you missed. Make sure to write them in chronological order.

  • Type what you hear. Don't change the interviewee's grammar or slang. You don't want to take away from the authenticity of the interview.

  • Pause the cassette recorder when necessary. There may be words or phrases you can't understand. Rewind to listen again until you're certain of accuracy.

  • Leave out words such as "uh" or "um." This will make your transcription even more confusing to read. Only use the words they said during the interview.

  • Use the appropriate grammar and punctuation. You don't want to make your transcription look sloppy. Use the proper grammar for indicating paragraphs, question marks, lowercase and uppercase letters, abbreviations and hyphenated words.

  • Place actions in brackets. If the person laughs, type [laughs]. If there are parts of the interview that you can't understand, type [unclear].

  • Type dashes for interruptions, pauses and incomplete sentences.

  • Let the interviewee read the transcription. You should have their permission to use the interview as is. Plus, they'll go over any words, names or information you may have left out.

Tips & Warnings

  • Never change the information around or put "words" into the interviewee's mouth. Be honest when transcribing.
  • It can take four to 10 hours per hour of recording, depending on your skills and type of equipment being used.

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