Transcribing interviews - it takes ages!


Not much point to this post really - just a moan. I have just started transcribing interviews and it has taken me all morning to do about ten minutes! I expect to have at least 30 hours to transcribe :$ Please someone tell me that you get quicker with practice!


Hi timefortea,

I had about 40 hours of audio to transcribe. When I started it took me on average 4 hours of typing per hour of audio. Then I got a foot pedal from my department and that sped me up to 3 hours of typing per hour of audio! Whoop!!! Definitely worth getting one if you haven't already.
But bottom line is it takes forever. My right shoulder will never be the same again after suffering repetitive strain injury induced by transcribing!!!

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Get "transcription buddy" its free to download from, it has a trial period ,but if you just uninstall and reinstall it works again. It allows you to have set pause and rewind times, so it continually loops the tape, so you never have to press play or pause. The pause and run times can be set under the view menu on it I think.


Thanks guys - actually I am already using soundscriber that does the same sort of thing - I guess I am just really slow!


I had 110 interviews of roughly one hour each. I started being really fastidious recording pauses laughs etc etc. By the end I had the topic guide copied and pasted into a word document and filled in the blanks just so I could get the main body of it down!! Now I'm analysing I can fill in the blanks but I was transcribing for about 3 months solid. Awful time of my life!!!!


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You will get quicker with practise, but there's a strong possibility that you will go insane in the process! Your university may have funds available for transcription so you can claim the cost back - it's worth asking.


Thanks but they aren't in English.


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Ah, not English, that's not something I can help you with! I use voice recognition software which speeds the whole process up and saves me from RSI but good software isn't cheap. Dragon Naturally Speaking costs £150 - I didn't mind paying this because I use it day in day out for my transcription work, but for a one-off project it's not really cost effective.

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I'm in the same boat now and its doing my head in :-) can't wait to get these finished


A transcription software program combined with a foot pedal will do wonders (> had a package for about $99 that included software, foot pedal and headset for transcription).

Unfortunately due to a nerve/hand injury (pain/severe swelling) I had to get the rest of my interviews transcribed professionally, but it's expensive. Saved my hands though!


When I did the module "qualitative psychology" awful module, the lecturer said it takes about four minutes transcription for every one minute of talk, so if you had a 30 min interview it would take 2 hours to transcribe.


I used Express Scribe software and the Dragon Naturally Speaking software together. This made transcription much quicker, and cut the transcription time by half (3 hours of transcription for 1 hour of recording),


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