29 November 2011

Top tips for identifying voices in Focus Group Transcription


If you’ve ever worked on focus group transcription you will know how difficult it can be to identify people from their voices. Hardly surprising, you’ve got a bunch of people you’ve never met before and the only way you can identify them is by the sound of their voice.

This can be very tricky especially when you’ve got several of the same gender in a group with similar voices.

Someone once said to me it’s like being a blind person in a room full of strangers. A pretty good analogy I think.

So I asked some colleagues for their top tips for identifying speakers during focus group transcription and these are some things we came up with:


  • A good facilitator of a focus group will ask the participants to introduce themselves at the beginning and say a little about themselves. This is your opportunity to make a voice map. Get yourself a piece of paper and write the names as they are introduced. Imagine they are sitting around a table and place the names around that table as they introduce themselves. 

  • Make notes about each participant. 

  • Make a note of the time in the recording when each participant speaks next to their name on the voice map. This will be useful for checking back to that time to check voice identities. 

  • Can you tell whether the person is on the left or right of the microphone or are they more audible through the left or right headphone? 

  • Have they got an accent or any recognisable features to their voice, e.g. quietly-spoken, loud, nasally, deep or any other describing word you can think of to describe the way they sound? Or perhaps they sound like someone famous like an actor. Write these descriptions on your voice map. (Don’t worry; you can destroy the voice map when you’re finished). 

  • Make notes about each person such as where they work, where they are from, if they've got children, a partner, a dog. This can come in useful later if they mention it and you can check back with the ‘find’ function to make sure you've got the right name for the right voice. 

  • As well as loading the sound file into your transcription software, also load it into Windows Media Player so you can use this if you need to check back and forth to identify voices without losing your place in the transcription software. 

Thanks to Cathy, Suzanne, Pat and Kate for your really helpful tips.

Have you got any tips or techniques you use to help identify voices during focus group transcription? If so we would be really interested to hear them. Please leave your tips in the comment box below. 

If you would like more information or a quote for transcription services take a look at focus group transcription on the KATTS website. 

11 November 2011

Disciplinary and Grievance hearings: should they be independently transcribed?

Although it is not a legal requirement for an employer to make an audio recording of disciplinary and grievance hearings it seems more and more businesses are proactively choosing to take this route.

With the agreement of all parties disciplinary and grievance proceedings are being recorded so that the recording can then be sent to an independent professional transcription services provider for transcription.

The foreword to the Acas Code of Practice (PDF) advises employers to keep a written record of any disciplinary or grievance cases they deal with including notes of any formal meetings.

However, making an audio recording of disciplinary and grievance hearings and any formal meetings for transcription by an independent transcription services provider is advantageous because it provides a full, complete and impartial record, both by way of the recording and a full transcript, of everything that is said.

This independently transcribed transcript can then be shared with the employee, so both the employer and the employee have a full and complete record of the proceedings.

By choosing an independent transcription services provider to transcribe the disciplinary and grievance proceedings rather than doing the transcription in house ensures that there is no question of a conflict of interest.

It seems that employers are now seeing the benefits of making audio recordings of their disciplinary and grievance cases for transcription by an independent transcription services provider, as producing full and independent transcripts of all proceedings to be shared with employees also promotes a greater degree of fairness and transparency within organisations.

Benefits of recording disciplinary and grievance hearings and using an independent transcription services provider :

  • a full and complete record of all proceedings

  • an independently transcribed transcript ensures no conflict of interest

  • promotes a greater degree of fairness and transparency within organisations

  • employers and employees know exactly what was or wasn’t said  

KATTS professional transcription services provides a fully independent, confidential and impartial transcription of disciplinary and grievance hearings, investigatory meetings and appeal hearings at reasonable rates. Contact KATTS for a quotation and then send your audio recording to KATTS here for transcription. The completed transcript will be sent to you via email attachment.


Here are some useful links which provide information relating to disciplinary and grievance cases: 


Do you think disciplinary and grievance hearings should be independently transcribed? Please leave your comments.

08 November 2011

MFY Schools Prom at Royal Albert Hall

Monday was the amazing opening night of Music for Youth's Schools Prom at Royal Albert Hall London. 


All the young people who performed were absolutely amazing and super talented; congratulations to them all.  


I particularly liked the various collaborations between groups, which made for some really interesting and vibrant entertainment. 


The night was topped off by the fantastic Wessex Youth Orchestra from Dorset finishing with Elgar's Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 


The Schools Prom runs for three nights 7th, 8th and 9th November 2011 and tickets are available to book online at Royal Albert Hall.


Visit Classic FM for behind the scenes information and interviews with the musicians themselves. 


A truly amazing night!

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