CA tutorial: Transcription

What is CA?

This tutorial

Audio & video files

Why record?

What to transcribe?

    transcript 1

    transcript 2

    transcript 3

    pros & cons

    transcript 4


What is analysis?

    analysis 1

    analysis 2



Anonymising data

Main menu

Transcription: what to put down?

Why transcribe - a reminder.

If you tried the exercise on the previous page, I imagine that you will have realised that you missed quite a lot when you came to write down, later, what you had just seen on the video or heard on the audio.

Even if you were trying to make a record as you were listening or watching, you probably still missed some things.

The audio or video tape will always contain more information than a transcription ever can. But it can be unwieldy to work with. Sometimes things come out more clearly when you can work very slowly and painstakingly through the fine details, as they appear written out on the printed page. And scholarly publications are still better geared up to print than audio and video (though that is changing). So transcribing the data into a textual document has advantages. If you can complement it with the recorded version, though, that would be all to the good.

Is it enough just to put down the words?

Talk is the prime medium of transacting the business we have with each other. So we should try and capture at least all of what was said. That's not merely the words, of course; listen closely to the clip and you'll hear all sorts of things that don't appear in the dictionary.

Even on a low-quality recording you'll hear the speakers bend and play with their voices. They'll alter words with drawls, elongations, pitch rises and falls, and other mutations besides. All these are the tricks of the trade in communication: they work in the service of getting something across. So the analyst would do well to try and capture as many of them as possible.

When you've seen the video a couple of times, and perhaps tried the exercise of making notes while it's playing, and then again from memory, go to transcript 1.