Doubts about Transcription
Thread poster: Cristina Heraud-van Tol

Cristina Heraud-van Tol  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 12:21
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Jun 18, 2010

I wanted to know, what colleagues think about or what is the standard practice when:

You get an audio file to be transcribed but it contains many "hmmmm...", "weeeell", coughs, phrases that are gramatically incorrect, verbs that are missing (cause you know, some people talk quick and forget things), mispronunciation of words, etc.

Which ones of these do/don't you actually transcribe into your text? Do you really transcribe word for word (and sound for sound)? Do you avoid the "hmmm" but transcribe the rest? Do you proofread the text at the end and give the client a neat and readable result? If the latter is the case, do you charge extra?

Thanks for your comments.


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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
Transcription Jun 18, 2010

I've done a bit of transcription in the past, and read some transcribed texts here and there, so this is what I've done (and seen done):

Em, hm, er: I keep them in. No need for an exaggerated "hmmmmmm" though , hm is enough. e.g. "So I told him, em, what would you say if, er, I told you.."

I'm not so sure about coughs, I would definitely not mention a sneeze for example, but I do sometimes see coughs mentioned, perhaps because people sometimes cough for reasons related to their thought process, so it may be seen as relevant. It can be put between brackets. e.g: So what would you say (coughs) if I asked you out?

Grammatical mistakes - I wouldn't change these, if necessary follow by (sic!). "So he say (sic!) to me..."

Mispronunciations - I don't think it's necessary to render these. I can't think of cases where you would need to indicate a mispronunciation, but I imagine that if you're transcribing the words of a non-native speaker who keeps mispronouncing words it just wouldn't make sense to keep indicating that. Just write the proper words...

I'm not sure if there's a transcription guide covering these issues, but I hope this helps.


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Lourdes Zalcik  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 10:21
English to Spanish
+ ...
No hums, ahems, etc. Jun 19, 2010

I do transcriptions in almost a daily basis. The customers appreciate it when stuttering, junk words, and sounds that don't add any meaning to the conversation are removed, such as hums, ahem, etc.

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Nesrin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:21
English to Arabic
+ ...
Depends on purpose Jun 19, 2010

najn wrote:

I do transcriptions in almost a daily basis. The customers appreciate it when stuttering, junk words, and sounds that don't add any meaning to the conversation are removed, such as hums, ahem, etc.


I guess it depends on the purpose of the transcription. If it's a regular interview for example, I agree with you, we don't need to know of every single hesitation and stutter. But in other cases the transcription is required to be as accurate as possible for the purpose of analysis e.g.

I've found this nice guide: http://www.ac.wwu.edu/~ccfriday/tools/transcribing.htm
It also suggests leaving in crutch/bridge words unless they distract too much from the transcript.


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