Naomi Nagy

Linguistics at U of T

Guidelines for Transcribing Interviews

How I transcribe these days:

Transcribing, Extracting tokens and coding them in ELAN, for analysis in Goldvarb (or R...) .

How I used to transcribe:

Transcribing in Word (or a Word processing program)

To transcribe interviews, please observe the following, if you are working in Word:

  • Use Times New Roman, 12 pt. font
  • 1 1/2 line spacing
  • Put the file name and page numbers in the header.
  • Use "1." to indicate the interviewer and "2." the main interviewee. Add other numbers if there are other speakers and list them at the beginning of the interview. 
  • Make SURE the speaker and tape number is indicated (1) in the file name, (2) in the header, and (3) at the top of the first page.
  • Use periods and commas for intonation. Don't worry about indicating pauses or stutters/false starts for now. But do transcribe all fillers (uh, um, you know).
  • Use standard English spelling, not "eye dialect". You can use things like "wanna" and "gonna" if they say that.
  • If there are multiword proper names, hyphenate them: University-of-New-Hampshire. Don't worry about spelling of proper names if you aren't sure.
  • ( ) indicates that something was said and you aren't sure what it was
  • (word) indicates that you think the word you heard was "word"
  • <1. > can be used to indicate a short, interrupting turn by speaker 1 in the middle of speaker 's turn.
  • <cuckoo clock sounds> can be used to indicate a disruptive sound on the recording
  • Don't spend too much time worrying about what the interviewer said, if you can't understand it. Just fill in the gist of what you hear. For now, we aren't analyzing the IVer's speech.
  • If the interview goes onto a second cassette (and I don't know if you'll be able to hear that on the CD), but if it's more than 90 minutes, just transcribe the first hour of speech, for now.
  • Put in counter/timer information into the transcription every few minutes.
  • Use the "Insert Bookmark function in Express Scribe each time you start typing on a new page. And put in a note like "[B .5]" in the document wherever you put in a bookmark in the recording. (Page breaks change on different computers and with different fonts, etc.)
email: naomi dot nagy at utoronto dot ca | Return to my home page