Wednesday, October 21, 2015

To transcribe or not to transcribe




I have over 30 hours of interviews and I need to type them all out before I can do anything with them. I had always intended to do this myself. That was before I started doing this for myself!  What a S.L.O.W process it is. For me anyway, even though I am a reasonable typist. So, after 8 interviews, I decided to start thinking about getting someone else to type the rest up for me. This was not a straight forward decision. I was enjoying the process of transcribing from audio to text as it took me back to the day and place when the interviews where recorded. I found myself back in the room with the men and women I spoke with and I felt again all that was to be felt at the time. Mostly sadness and hopelessness and loss.  While this was emotionally quite hard work, both at the time and now during transcription, I felt I was benefitting from reliving the experience. I felt I was getting back inside the data and that this was important.  However, also important is the passage of time. If I did all of the 31 interviews myself, I was going to be spending too long on this part of the process.

So, after 8 transcriptions, I spoke with my SUPERvisors to get their opinion and they agreed that it was time to hand it over to the professionals. They thought that although there is benefit to be gained from transcribing your own interviews, most of that benefit can be derived from the first 8. Now there was more to be gained by outsourcing the transcription than there was to be gained by doing it all myself.

Enter Rev.com. An American transcription service that charges US$1 per recorded minute. I have submitted all my remaining files today and they promise the transcripts will be available in 24 hours!  I wonder how they will go with the Australian accents (and all the swearing!).  I really hope they do a good job. I will review all of them and expect to have to tidy it all up a bit (I hope just a bit) and then I can actually start doing something with it all. EXCITING!!!!

I am wondering now if I will get the same emotional response to the transcripts that I did when I was transcribing the interviews myself. I wonder how much of that response came from hearing the interviewees tone of voice and the extra sounds of the environment in the background. The pauses and the sarcasm.  It will be a very interesting experience to read through them all as a group too.  Can't wait!

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