27 January 2014

Interview Transcription Notation


There are several different conventions for transcript notation in interview transcription, some of which are based on the 'Jefferson System', named after Gail Jefferson. This very technical system was developed for Conversation Analysis (CA) and uses a series of symbols to denote certain events within a conversation. 

Invariably during interview transcription at King Audio Transcription there are certain events that need to be denoted in the transcript. Since 2003, I have only been asked to use a variant on the Jefferson System on one occasion. As I was unfamiliar with this system it took quite some time to get to grips with it. As it was a short transcription I had to use a reference guide for each notation. Quite time-consuming when one is not used to it, although a brilliant system for very technical analysis.

In the main, the interview transcription I work on at KATTS does not need this degree of technical notation. Indeed, using a system such as the Jefferson System would incur a premium rate as I would have to learn the system on the job so it would increase transcription time. 

Instead KATTS uses a less technical technique for transcription notation in interview transcription, which is used by many transcribers in the transcription services industry. There is no need for a separate reference guide to understand what is happening during an interview as the notations are fairly self-explanatory. 


Interview Transcription Notation:


Descriptors
[laughs], [laughingly], [wry laugh]
[pause] 
[multiple speakers]
Other descriptors such as [shouts], [loud], [quiet], [whispers], [coughs], [break] etc.

((?00:00)) = an inaudible word or words (00:00 would be replaced with the time in the recording)


((?word)) = a guess at a word if not clear


((sp?)) = placed after a word denotes unsure of spelling if correct spelling 
cannot be found through internet research

wor... = a word that cuts off sharply


... = change of subject direction or sentence that cuts off or is interrupted

word = emphasised words emboldened


In the main, the descriptors are used in verbatim interview transcription, where every event and utterance must be noted, including 'ums' and 'uhs' spoken by the participants. If fully verbatim is not required then these descriptors are not usually included. 

However, in non-verbatim interview transcription inaudible words, spelling queries and word and sentence cut off would be indicated by the notations above.  



For more information please visit the interview transcription page at the King Audio Transcription main website. Alternatively contact us for a quick interview transcription quote via the contact page at King Audio Transcription. 


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