Transcription Guidelines

  • I create a Word document with the text of the audio/video file using standard formatting parameters: 1”-margins and Times New Roman 12.
  • I use several templates (see here) depending on the number of speakers and other specifications, such as stamping. I can modify the template according to client specifications.
  • Unless a client requests otherwise, I use the name of the audio/video file as the name of the transcript and the Word document itself.
  • I create a header with the file name and a page number.
  • I apply standard grammar and punctuation rules based on the guidelines of the Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association (7th ed.) and the Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed.).
  • I make every effort to research terms, names, and phrases for correct spelling. If I don’t understand what is being said and cannot find it in my research, I flag the words as [indiscernible].   
  • Please provide as much background information about the recording as possible.

    Examples include any supporting documentation you have, such as flyers, meeting agenda, abstracts, web addresses, as well as background information about the topic. Every little bit contributes to a high-quality transcript.

  • I do not try to guess what is being said. I listen carefully and transcribe as accurately as possible. If a word, phrase, or longer segment is unidentifiable to me after listening to it several times, I flag it as [indiscernible].

Here are some other notations I use.

[crosstalk]                  = at least two speakers are talking at the same time, which makes it impossible to hear what is being said

[background noise]   = noise or background conversation in the room makes it impossible to hear the speaker(s)

[sp]                               = the spelling could not be verified through research; the names are spelled phonetically using the most common spelling variant

[unrelated talk]           = the speakers are making extraneous remarks that are not related to the main conversation (e.g., director’s comments, words directed to someone who is not a participant in the conversation).

[sic]                              = an inaccurate expression, wording, or misspelling is typed so intentionally so that the transcript exactly reproduces the speaker’s         words