How to transcribe an interview

Transcribing makes everything easier. It is the process of converting speech into text. The result is a document that you can easily skim through. Easier than having to listen to the whole audio recording and can be processed further or archived.

How to transcribe pre-recorded interview

Interview transcription is a common type of transcription. Unlike standard transcription with only one speaker, interview transcription usualyl involves multiple speakers. Transcribing an interview is easy but there's a technique to achieve optimum results. To get the best result, you need to be willing to spend more time on the transcript or you need to get the right tools.

What is an interview transcription?

An interview transcription is the process of converting an oral interview into a written form. It creates a record of the things discussed between two or more people in an interview that can be referred to at a later time. An interview transcription can either be done at the time the interview is taking place or after through a recorded audio.

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What are the benefits of interview transcription?

Transcribing an interview is brings many benefits. Below are some of the main ones you can get from having an interview transcribed.


If you're listening to an interview, you may not be able to get some of the explanations and answers to certain questions but with a transcript, that can be rectified.


Most interviews are in audio form. This means people who have hearing difficulties won't be able to access it. By adding a transcript you open a way for people with hearing difficulties to enjoy the interview.

Furthermore, in the case of an interview between a human resource manager and a job applicant, having a transcript will hasten the decision-making process especially when there are many people involved.


In an office scenario, transcribing an interview will give the other colleagues easy and quick access to the information. It can act as proof of certain things being said and can easily be archived for future reference. 

What are the types of transcription methods?

There are different types of methods you can use to transcribe an interview. Before you begin anything, you first have to determine the interview transcription format you want to writing down the words

Verbatim transcription

This is the type of transcription that captures everything within the audio from false starts to stutters. If one of the speakers says 'umm', it will be recorded. As a result, verbatim transcription contains a lot of unedited lingo and mistakes that have not been cleaned up.

Verbatim transcription is often used when the readers will not only be interested in the words that are spoken but also in the way they are spoken. An example is in the legal profession.

Intelligent verbatim transcription

This is the most common type of transcription. It is a word for word transcription that removes the false starts and stutters in the interview. It is more readable and also edited.

Another word for it is clean transcription. In a way, we can say that intelligent verbatim transcription focuses on what is being said rather than the context in which it is said. Medical diagnosis transcriptions are the best examples of intelligent verbatim transcriptions because there's no reason for you to have any pause or false starts in them.

Edited transcription

This type of transcription is different from the verbatim transcription but similar to the intelligent verbatim transcription. Instead of just editing all the fillers, it goes a step further to summarize the audio and remove all the words and sentences that are not necessary to make the document make sense.

What are the ways to transcribe interviews?

Like there are many methods of transcribing an interview, there are also many ways to transcribe an interview. The first thing you need to know is that you don't have to do it all by yourself. You can get professionals to do it for you or use an interview transcription software such as Philips speech to text.

What you may decide to use is completely dependent on your needs and preferences.

The following are ways in which transcription can be done:

Audio-to-text converters

There are some interviews where the voice of only one speaker will be dominant and the other speaker will only have to reply at intervals. For this type of interviews, using a Philips audio-to-text converter is a great option.

Of course, the transcription generated from this will not be 100% perfect. You may have to tweak it a little bit here and there, but it will save you a lot of time, compared to if you would do it all yourself. 

Manual transcriptions

This is the type of transcription that mostly fits interviews. The reason for this is because there are usually two or more speakers and an audio to text converter may not be able to accurately put down their discussion as it occurs. 

Furthermore, in cases where there are strong accents or technical jargons, getting a human transcription will also be a great decision. You can easily use our Philips transcription service or have your own transcriptionist do it for you.

Transcribing through Philips SpeechLive

You can get interview transcription services from Philips SpeechLive. All you have to do is upload an audio file of the interview with detailed instructions on what you need to be done and you'll get back a time stamped and neatly formatted transcript.

Getting a freelance transcriptionist

If it is impossible or too expensive for you to get an agency to help with your transcription of an interview, another option you can explore is to hire a freelance transcriptionist an than use Philips In-house transcription.

The best thing about using a freelancer is that you have a better control on how you want the transcription to be done. It is also cheaper and sometimes faster than from an agency.

How to properly transcribe an interview

Transcribing an interview is different from transcribing other types of audio with little to no dialogue. If you want to properly transcribe an interview, there are certain steps you need to go through.

Listen first

The first mistake most people make when they are trying to transcribe an interview is to start without knowing exactly how complex the recording is.

To avoid this rookie mistake, you need to check out the number of speakers, the length of the recording, what languages are used, if there are any technical terminologies and whether you need to transcribe the whole interview or just a part of it.

Once you understand what you need to do, everything else becomes easy.


The right tool is important to help you achieve a perfect transcription. If you want to easily make your transcription, using a tool will reduce the stress you have to go through. The first thing you need is an audio player. This does not mean the music player on your phone. Rather, what you need is a transcription audio player with playback on your phone or laptop. You can try our Philips SpeechLive.

Philips SpeechLive player will allow you to pause, play, rewind and do other things you need to do while transcribing. This can help you save time if you’re transcribing something lengthy. A key advantage of SpeechLive is that you can also change the playback speed. 

Investing in a good dictation set (headphones and a foot control) is also a great idea to make your life easier. It will give you the chance to be able to hear the words in the audio as clearly as possible and the foot control will keep your hands free for typing. Using a foot control makes it easier to transcribe a recording. You can also use a handcontrol if you prefer, which also makes scrolling back and forth within the recording quicker and more comfortable than having to use your mouse each time.

Start with a draft

Your transcription should begin with a draft. The first time you’re going through the audio, write down everything you can hear. You don’t have to pay much attention to how correct they are because you can just edit it after. You can also search online for words you don’t understand.

If you try to get the exact transcription at the first try, you may end up spending more time on the transcription.


You may not have time to type every word correctly while you’re transcribing. Using your autocorrect option in MS Word, you can reduce the edits you have to make while going through the article the second time.

For example, if you begin a new sentence with a small letter, Word will automatically change the small letter into capital and if you type CAHNGE instead of CHANGE, it’ll automatically correct the word.

You can also use your auto-correct option to complete words by designating it to convert certain acronyms to their full version.

Insert time code

Inserting timecode in a transcription of interview will give the reader the chance to know what part of the audio is being transcribed. Furthermore, if you can’t hear a part of the audio file clearly because of noise or any other disruption, you can simply use a time stamp to indicate that something is there instead of spending too much time over the transcription.

Transcription software

This is our Philips SpechLive speech to text software you can use to transcribe your interview without having to go through the stress of brainstorming and listening to the audio file over and over again by yourself.

In recent years, Philips SpeechLive transcription software has gone through a lot of development that can help you considerably speed up your transcription.

Before you can consider our software for your interview transcription, it must be capable of accurately converting your speech to text especially when the audio is of good quality. Audio that is not of good quality or with background noise can reduce the quality of the transcription you’ll be getting from our speech-to-text software. This means you need to provide a noise free background with great audio quality for whichever software you’re using to get a decent transcription.

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