Transcribing from an audio or video cassette or from .wav or .wma files will serve no purpose if the interview transcription is not done by adhering to certain guidelines. Generally the client specifies if they want to have any particular formatting done by the transcription service provider. Even if this is not done the service provider should submit a written document that is professional. The following guidelines will help transcriptionists in producing quality output.
Use quality headphones to listen to the audio file.
Use word processing software that will automatically adjust margin sizes. Use portrait (8.5”x11”) size specifications, as this allows for ease of printing the document.
Format the page for font size, paragraph/line spacing, and margins. Some kinds of interview transcription may require double column formats. Standard fonts used are Times or Courier in a 12 point size.
Head the page with the subject /topic with Interview written on the following line. The date, time, and place of the interview is next. The name of the interviewer with designation is followed by the name of the interviewee.
It is always better to state whether it is a recording of a verbatim interview or not.
Indicate if the original audio recording was in a different language.
Mention if a particular style or standardized formatting is used.
Indicate if any abbreviations are being used in the content, either to denote names of people or non verbal responses.
Any explanatory notes added by the transcriber can be in square parenthesis.
Slang and profanities may be indicated in italics if it is a verbatim transcription.
Always proof read once the transcription has been done. This will give a more consistent documentation.
Many service providers have their own transcript style, for an interview transcription, which they have standardized through practice and usage. They also usually have three levels of checking the transcription. The editing is done by a different person who also will listen to the audio file to see that nothing has been overlooked. The editor can comment on the quality of transcription so as to rate the transcriptionist. The final level will cross check to see if the client’s requirements have been met. The file will then be saved to a database of the client and classified accordingly. Government, law enforcing agencies, medical industry, and legal firms, usually have a standardized format for the different categories of interviews or interrogations conducted by them. The interview transcription should follow these formats and respect the client’s wishes.