How to Transcribe an Interview: Tips for Recording and Transcribing Audio

Transcribing Interviews

A lot is said during an interview. You cannot imagine just how many words can be spoken in just a five-minute conversation. It is very unlikely that you will remember even half of what was said during an interview. It is therefore important to have all this in text for future reference.

The Importance of Transcribing

It is in your interest to transcribe the interview. Why? If you were there when the interview was being conducted you will be able to recall the details better when you transcribe them. You will also be able to understand what the conversation was all about. The Role of Transcribing is of paramount importance. You cannot understand what is being said if you cannot read it. So, you should get your hands on the text. You will then transcribe it and edit it properly. So even if you need to go back and study an interview five years from now, the text is there when you need it, It is important to use as many transcription tools as you need. You can use the free services. You can use tools that have a monthly or yearly subscription. Many services also offer a good discount. A lot of transcriptionists use software like Microsoft Word or Apple’s Pages.

How to Record Audio

The best way to record a phone interview is to use a solid, free recorder, such as the SoundMagic E10. The sound quality of any recorder depends a lot on the recording quality and the quality of the software that is used. For video interviews, you will want to consider a simple voice recorder like the Poptel Voice Recorder. A voice recorder works much like a digital camera, but without the photo quality. An audio recording device is a tool that captures sound for broadcast or an audio transcription. It can be attached to your mobile phone, laptop, or even your landline. An audio recording device is also much like a voice recorder, but you can turn on and off the recording by using a switch that you can place on the device.

For best quality, you can opt to use a professional setup with good quality mics. Or if you’re in the media industry and move around a lot, a lapel will do. For a podcast or just a professional interview, you can make use of a software like Audacity, which is free, and you will get all the tools you need for a great recording there.

For a lot of people though, a phone will do the trick. Now, there are some methods you can employ to at least produce decent, quality recordings so you won’t have a tough time transcribing the interview. One is to have the two people taking part in an interview be close to each other as possible, well, with a bit of social distance because of COVID, but just don’t be too far away from each other. Proximity matters a lot. One of the most annoying things when transcribing is having one person’s voice drifting off. Another thing you should remember, especially if you’re using a phone to record, your voice should be audible. Because your phone is not primarily an audio recording device, it doesn’t come equipped with all the hardware enhancements a condenser mic might have. So you need to be loud enough for the phone to pick up your conversation clearly.

How to Transcribe the Interview

Now that you have your recording saved, what you’ll want to do is transcribe the interview into text. In the transcription world, there are two main types of transcriptions, verbatim and non-verbatim.

Non-Verbatim (most common)

This is a type of transcription where the final text will come out really polished and clear. Sometimes it might even appear like the two people involved in the interview are communication experts as you will find almost no errors in their speech. But as we all know, during a conversation, especially one that’s more than 10 minutes, it is unlikely that it will flow smoothly. We cannot converse like robots. In this type of transcription, the transcriptionist omits all the fillers words like, Um, like, you know, to make the text easily readable. This is usually what most people want.


This is a word-for-word translation of audio to text. Everything that is said in the audio is put in the text. If a person coughed, laughed, applauded, all of that is included in the text. When reading a verbatim transcript, sometimes you might confuse it for a theater play script. Some people require this type of transcript for various reasons, especially in legal transcription.

Now it’s time for you to start transcribing. The first thing you need to do is to set aside some time, a good amount of time. The average computer-savvy person with at least a decent typing speed will take around one hour to transcribe a 10-minute audio. Depending on your experience, it could take even up to hours or more. More experienced transcribers will take about 20 minutes or 30.

You will also require a text editor. You can use any doc editor. There are some free transcription editor software online that you can download like Express Scribe that will make it easier for you to transcribe. You sit now and begin. You will pause and rewind the audio many times. You’ll find out listening and typing at the same time is not such an easy task.

Get it done for you

For a majority of people, you simply do not have the time to sit down and transcribe a whole 50-minute interview. It is, therefore, best to use an online transcription service, that captures all the audio in one go and then analyses the transcript. This service has to be customized according to your needs so that it produces accurate and error-free transcriptions. What makes it better? The best online transcription services use big data and artificial intelligence to create transcripts for every audio file. In fact, most of them offer a tool that you can use to analyze and upload your own files to be transcribed.

Scriptingpod is one of such services. All you have to do is upload your audio file and it can be done by an experienced transcriber in less than a day.


Transcription of interviews has become an essential part of life. Most companies now rely on at least three transcription agencies or individuals to handle the process of writing a report, creating an audio recording, and scanning it for the files. Do not hesitateto make good use of transcription services like Scripting Pod to make transcribing easier for you.

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