How to transcribe an interview automatically?

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What is transcribing? Transcribing is to write out a spoken recording such as an interview. Transcribe interviews and other audio recordings make it possible to analyze and code the text afterwards. Transcribing is a time-consuming and sometimes difficult job. On average, transcribing takes 5 to 10 times longer than the length of the audio file. Make sure to use the following tips to transcribe as quickly and effectively as possible:

  • Make sure you have good audio quality.
  • Start transcribing as soon as possible after the interview.
  • Use transcription software to speed up the process.
  • Read the transcript carefully and correct any errors.

Forms of transcriptions

There are 3 forms of transcriptions: verbatim transcription, literal transcription, and summary transcription. In a literal transcription, everything is written out: repetitions, stuttering, sighing, etc. In a verbatim transcription, the conversation is edited into a running conversation that is easy to read. Summary transcribing is similar to note taking and is mainly used for meetings. You do not type out everything word for word, but you also summarize everything.

Example verbatim transcription

Person 1: Do you think the first person was better?

Person 2: I am not sure about that, but I think number two did better.

The choice between the two forms depends on the purpose of your transcription. Do you need broad meaningful information? Then go for a verbatim transcription. Are you looking for an underlying or deeper thought? Then go for a literal transcription!

 Example of literal transcription

Person 1: Do you feel that um…

Person 2: Hmm… I am not so sure about that. I think, I think number two did better!

Applications for transcribing interviews

Automatic transcription software gets better and better because speech recognition technology has improved rapidly. You can now have your recording transcribed automatically. The only thing to do is make corrections which saves you a lot of time. Off course the audio quality must be good and automatic transcribing work best with English recordings. If your recording contains a mix of languages, for example by using English terms, the result will also be less good.

1. AmberScript

The best option for English and Dutch is Amberscript. AmberScript can automatically convert speech to text in an easy and simple way. It can recognize speech saves hours of transcription time and upload, search, edit and export with ease.


As an automatic transcription app, Otter is suitable for people with limited monthly transcription projects, which may come as a drawback for some. But it’s the software’s top-notch accuracy and speed of transcription that makes it one of the go-to automatic transcribers out there. Every month, Otter gives you 600 minutes’ worth of free transcription.

3. Trint

Trint is one of the most popular automated audio and video transcription services that’s recommended for digital journalists, and there are numerous reasons for that. Most notably, Trint is powered by artificial intelligence.

4. Happy Scribe

Happy Scribe transcribes both audio and video files into text, then allows you to export the transcripts into various formats, including Word, PDF, or TXT. This software doesn’t limit the size of the audio or video files that you can upload. But regardless of the file size, Happy Scribe dispenses with most transcriptions in a matter of minutes.