Interview Transcription

Hi Everyone,

The lecture and Hammersely’s article (2010) have led me think of the following questions:

  • If the transcript includes all the details, such as silences, gestures, in the interview, will it be too much and difficult for the reader to digest and extract the important points from the conversation?
  • While it is not always possible to video record the interview, the only person who has the first hand information about the participant’s gestures, silences, pauses, facial expression, etc. is the interviewer. Is it possible for an interviewer to conduct an interview while capturing all these little details?
  • How to train someone to accurately transcribe the interview with sufficient details?
  • What if the participants have limited language ability, should the transcriber correct the language or put in his/her own words according to his/her understanding to make it understandable?

Other than putting spoken words onto paper, I now realize the complexity of interview transcription. A good transcriber can make all the difference in the outcome of the research.

What do you guys think?

Thank you.



Hammersely, M. (2010). Reproducing or construction: some questions about transcription in social research. Qualitative Research, 10(5), 553-569.


1 Comment

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One response to “Interview Transcription

  1. Hey Liz,

    As we learned in lecture this week, transcription is not a simple matter of turning heard words into written words onto a page: generally speaking the aim is to do this so as to convey what was being said, how, with what emphasis and import, and so on. Creation of meaning is important here.

    Evidently, it’s so important to have a a good transcriber. To be honest, even if I were the one to conduct the interview, I don’t think I would be that great at transcribing it. As well, I think that it could be beneficial to having someone else transcribe it for you, because they could create/see other meanings to certain things that you did not.

    I think if one were to use a transcriber, a video of the interview would be best. That way, the transcriber could observe both the sounds, as well as the gestures (which are equally as important!!)

    Victoria Grant

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