A little something about interview trancriptions

A new year has arrived, although between yesterday, today & tomorrow means no more than time is closing in on me!!
Anyway here are some interview tips (For making transcription easier) for friends out there considering interviews in their studies:

1) Get a decent digital audio recorder, and set them up properly. Use the Noise Cut function but Avoid using the Voice Over Recognition (VOR) – it paused when there’s a pause in the conversation, which sometimes cut off some of the beginning of a conversation. You’d be left guessing what it was

2) Ask the most relevant question in one recording based on your Interview Schedules (make one – highly recommended!!)

3) During the interview you may find interesting issues that you’d wanted more info, note them down, so you’d remember, but avoid asking about it then. Ask them later, after all the main question have been asked and answered, preferably use a separate recording

4) Most of the time, Wait until the respondent answer/ or ask a question – don’t cut in to avoid unclear / mumbled up words because of cross conversations, you are not in a debate! Although some respondents tend to do that…

5) When in doubt – Use your instincts!

Some Mechanics of Transcription to consider:

1) Get a software that allows you to –

a. Use short keys while transcribing – the usage of mouse really slows you down, and cause ergonomic problem to your palm!!

b. Slow the pace of the conversation, really important for some people who talk rather fast and for people like me who are slow typist (or slightly pekak badak) 😉

c. Divide the audio recording into several files, to save time from locating where you last stop especially for breaks in transcribing process

2) The above (which I found in the Sony Voice Editor version 3) helps boost your morale in the process. And believe me, when I tell you, your morale can be very, very, very low after some times. For instance the function to divide the files, allows you to divide the files where you last stop, and you may keep the original recordings. You can divide them for instance into 3 files at different intervals of the audio conversations, and listen to each one of them separately. Once you’ve divided them, you may delete the ones that you have listened to, hence it would leave you with the balance of the recordings, giving you the impressions that now there’s lesser time to listened to on the original recorded audio. The help of the software avoided me from feeling nauseous he..he..he..but I do feel rather sleepy at times, especially if you listen to someone who can drive you to dreamland 😀

3) If some of the interviews needed translation (where the parties spoke in English & Malay intermittently), do it in one go. Although if the interviewee spoke fully in Malay, it’s advisable to keep one in that version for reference first. I believe translation process is easier than transcription, once you have everything on paper. You really want to avoid going back to the tapes again!

4) Backup is not enough, print a copy every time you finished one interviews. (I lost one of them from over backing up actually!!)

5) Ask for help! If you can get some… Although I can tell you, no amount of love would make anybody do it for free 😛

6) Keep your sanity intact, cry when you need to, and go for breaks when there are some major achievements, and completing one or two transcription doesn’t cut it, do 10 then go on holiday 😉

With all the above technique, minus all the cooking, eating, sleeping, play no so desperate housewife time, I manage to finish 31 interviews roughly in less than 3 months. It could take even less time than that if not due to my laptop ram problem and my exhaustion. AND EXHAUSTED I AM!
That said I have to be back at work…Happy New Year everybody 😀

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