Why Does Transcribing Take So Long?

This is the part that I hate about interviews.

I did this to myself really. You would think after four years of constantly sitting in front of a computer and typing that I would be a decent typist by now, but I am continue to be as mediocre as I was in my 6th grade keyboarding class. That being said, I keep putting myself in situations where I need to transcribe interviews. This class is the third one I have taken this semester where I needed to do this.

Thank God Canvas has that transcription feature. I would like to thank whoever on the Canvas team realized that this was a good idea and implemented this feature. I sit and I listen through my interviews, and although I am making only edits and not starting from scratch, I am constantly forgetting the little shortcut buttons that you can use to rewind and fast forward by a few seconds, causing me to just use my mouse to click the buttons myself like a noob.

The most recent time I had to do this was when I was typing up a transcript of an interview with my grandma for my Women Studies class. That interview was an hour and a half, so at least all of these interviews I have been/will be conducting have been shorter in length. The cool thing that I have found with taking the time to transcribe interviews is that while you’re going through the process, you learn things about the interview that you maybe didn’t realize while you were conducting it. You relisten so many times to get that transcript perfect that you come to know your interview frontwards and backwards, and you can already pick out some parts that you think are significant and would like to use for the final project.

I just need to sit down and finish them. No getting around it. Anyone else have that transcribing trauma**?


**trauma’s not really an accurate word here, but I wanted it to be alliterative.

One thought to “Why Does Transcribing Take So Long?”

  1. Hello Amy! Boy do I ever know about the transcribing trauma — so much so that I’m starting to think trauma is the accurate word to describe it.
    I had to transcribe five interviews for my project which turned out to be just over 16,000 words. If I had to guess, between interviewing and transcribing, it probably took around 20 hours. #STRESS But, it feels so great once you finish them! I plopped on my bed and devoted a few hours each day to getting it done and it only took me about a week. I completely agree that transcribing interviews is a great way to get to know your interview better. I ended up pulling quotes I loved right when I was transcribing to include in a separate space on my website.
    How do you plan to house your interviews on your website or other medium for your project? I am currently tinkering with how to make them look appealing. It’s hard when there are so many important words that tell the story, but an audience that might be overwhelmed by word vomit.

    Best of luck with the transcription trauma, you can do it!

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