How to Transcribe an Interview: A Step-by-Step Guide 

More and more organizations are opting to transcribe their interviews—for market research or even legal proceedings—as it allows for thorough analysis with many benefits. However, the whole transcription process is no walk in the park, especially for amateurs, as even the slightest mistake can lead to misinterpretation or legal issues. Transcription services for interviews solve these challenges. 

With the help of a trusted transcription provider, organizations can save time, reduce errors, and ensure interview data is adequately captured. The question is, how do you choose the right transcription services provider? 

In this article, you’ll learn:

  • In-house transcription means preparation, familiarization, transcribing every word and non-verbal cue, saving work and taking breaks, refining the transcript, and formatting and proofreading.
  • Transcribing interviews offers benefits like quick and easy analysis, improved accessibility, better searchability, repurposing opportunities, legal and archival purposes, and more. 
  • Enlisting the help of transcription companies is your best option for accuracy, customization, and security. Ditto Transcripts ticks all the boxes. 

What is an Interview Transcription?

Let’s get the definition out of the way. 

Interview transcription means creating a written version of a recorded interview. It involves listening to the interview and accurately typing out words and nonverbal expressions—at least for a verbatim transcript. The transcribed text can be used to create a database, review or analyze the content, prepare for future interviews, and more. 

Types of Interviews Where Transcription Can Be Helpful

To get a bigger picture, I’ve listed a few types of interviews where transcribing them can be beneficial.

Type of InterviewDescription
Journalistic InterviewsConducted by reporters and journalists for news articles, magazines, or documentaries.
Research InterviewsCarried out by researchers for qualitative studies, case studies, or histories in various fields.
Legal InterviewsConducted by lawyers for depositions, witness statements, or interrogations.
Medical InterviewsPerformed by healthcare professionals for patient assessments, medical histories, or case studies.
Business InterviewsConducted for market research, customer feedback, or employee evaluations within a company.
Podcast InterviewsRecorded for podcasts, covering a wide range of topics.
Public Figure InterviewsConducted with popular individuals for promotional purposes, biographies, or entertainment content.

How Ditto Transcribes an Interview

Though there are many companies to choose from, there are right and wrong ways to transcribe. Here’s how we do it:

1. Prepare

Transcribing is time-consuming work. An hour of audio recording could take 4-6 hours to transcribe, so we must be comfortable during the process. 

Our transcriptionists all have a quiet space to concentrate without anyone or anything bothering them before starting the transcription process. Then, they prepare their audio playback device, high-quality headphones, editing software, and computer with a word processor like Microsoft Word or Google Docs—and get started.  

2. Our Transcribers Are Familiar With The Audio Content

Before starting, our transcribers listen to the entire recording. This step is a standard operating procedure so our transcribers can better understand the content, speakers, and conversation flow before transcribing.

Our transcribers pay attention to difficult accents, speech patterns, or background noises that may impact the transcription process. As they continue listening, they also take note of any specific terminology, names, or references that may require additional research.

3. Start Transcribing

The third step is where the actual work begins. We start the transcription by creating a clear introduction that contains details like the date, time, and location of the interview, as well as the names of the interviewer and the interviewee. You can think of it as setting the stage for the transcription, and this is also our way of ensuring that readers understand the circumstances of the conversation.

As our transcribers start typing, they listen carefully to the audio recording and create a verbatim transcription, meaning typing out everything that occurred—more on that later. They’re encouraged to pause and rewind recordings as many times as needed to transcribe accurately and use speaker labels to indicate who is speaking throughout the transcript to spot who said what easily.

4. Transcribe Every Word and Non-verbal Cues

This part is where the principles of verbatim transcription come in; it means typing out the words exactly as they are heard, including filter words, pauses, laughter, or other elements that convey the natural flow of the conversation. We also ensure proper punctuation is in place to represent the rhythm of speech, indicating pauses, interruptions, or overlapping speeches.

Now, suppose there are parts of the audio that are unclear. In that case, we usually mark them with a timestamp and a note, such as “[inaudible 00:15:30]” or just as simple as “[unclear],” so we can visit these sections later or, better yet, seek clarifications from the speakers. 

5. Save Work and Take Breaks

Transcribing interviews is a long and tedious task. So, our transcribers ensure they save their work regularly to prevent data loss. Fortunately, word processors with automatic save features—Microsoft Word and Google Docs—’ll save progress and somehow prevent fatigue since our transcribers can take a break without worrying about losing data.

Our transcribers are encouraged to listen to their body and mind for these tasks. They can take breaks to stretch, rest their eyes, or refresh their concentration. Simply stepping away from the tasks for a short period can help them return with renewed attention to detail, which is important for the quality of our work.

6. Refine The Transcript

The initial draft of interview transcripts just that, an initial draft. We review the document while listening to the audio once more to better check for accuracy, consistency, and completeness—a recipe for an intelligent verbatim that faithfully represents the spoken coverage.

Our transcribers can make smart changes to refine the transcript as they review it. For example, they can take note of proper names, technical terms, or other factors requiring clarification

Although it may sound like an additional layer of work, reviewing the transcript alongside the audio can help spot errors that may have occurred during the initial phase.

7. Format and Proofread

After going through all the steps, it’s time for the final touches: proper formatting and proofreading. 

We focus on formatting the document for readability and professionalism, which can be achieved with consistent spacing, font, and style throughout the text. Then, we put necessary elements like headers or footers to improve the document’s organization.

Before considering the transcript completed, we proofread the final draft to spot any remaining errors or typos. 

We tend to read the text aloud as it can help us identify awkward phrasing or missing words—which is very common—and we ask another person to review the document, as a fresh set of eyes can often spot issues that have been overlooked by the tired ones, i.e., the transcriber’s eyes.

Benefits of Transcribing Video or Audio Interviews

Now that you understand interview transcription and how to make one, let’s consider the benefits this solution can offer.

Easy Analysis

It’s much easier to analyze audio or video transcribed content since researchers, journalists, or even content creators can quickly scan through the written text to spot relevant information without repeating and listening to the recording. That said, easily analyzing transcripts can save valuable time since sentences, important insights, and remarkable moments can be quickly extracted from the text.

Improved Accessibility

Creating a written interview version ensures that a larger audience can benefit from the content. It also improves accessibility for non-native speakers, those who prefer reading over watching or listening. 

Better Searchability

Transcribing interviews improves the content’s searchability. Users can easily search for keywords or phrases within the document within the app, making it easier to find relevant parts of the interview quickly. 

Of course, searchability comes with time savings. Efficient searching capabilities can smoothen the process of utilizing the content for other purposes. Speaking of which—

Repurposing Opportunities

Content creators can create articles, blog posts, or social media content from repurposed interview transcripts since they can quickly extract quotes, key insights, or stories they want to share with their audiences without conducting another round of interviews.

The ability to reuse some parts of the content opens new opportunities for content creation. These documents can be used as a resource for generating additional content that can reach targeted audiences across platforms like Facebook, where 74% of videos are watched without sound.

Preservation and Backup

Old recordings can degrade, become corrupted, or will no longer function with new media players in the future. Fortunately, transcribed interviews serve as backup in case the original audio-video files become inaccessible.

Preserving the information in a written format guarantees that the insights, knowledge, and experiences shared in the interview can be accessed even if the original recording is no longer available—a safeguard against losing interview content. 

Transcribing interviews is not just for record-keeping or content creation; it can also be used for legal purposes

In some cases, a written record of an interview may be required for legal proceedings or to maintain a historical record of events.

That said, transcribing interviews is important for creating reliable documentation, as they serve as official records that can be referenced in legal or historical matters.

Let Ditto Transcribe Your Interviews Instead

As you can see, transcribing an interview is a grueling process. Not only does it take significant amounts of time and commitment, but it also requires someone who knows how to transcribe to do it properly. 

So, let the experts at Ditto Transcripts handle your interview transcription projects.

Here’s what we offer: 

Accuracy Guarantee

Here at Ditto, we don’t settle for being slightly better than AI or automated software. Nor are we satisfied with offering accuracy rates in the low 90s, like some service providers. 

We provide 99% accuracy for all interview transcriptions, ensuring you get your money’s worth and more. Any transcript you receive from us is ready for archiving or use elsewhere.

U.S.-based Human Transcription

With Ditto, every project is handled by a native English speaker and a professional with proven experience and expertise in different fields. Context, nuance, figurative language, and jargon are not lost to us, and we can provide high-quality transcription. 

Flexibility And Customization

Whether you need verbatim records, time stamps, or other requests—you name it, we’ll take care of it. Share your guidelines upfront or show us examples; we’ll do the rest.


Outsourcing transcription services to unreliable providers may present security risks that can leak your hard-earned info. 

With Ditto, you don’t have to worry about any of that. Our entire operation is covered by the most stringent security measures available in the transcription industry. And believe me when we say we keep your files secure—Ditto is FINRA, CJIS, and HIPPA compliant. 

Fast Turnaround Times

We understand that interview transcription requires speed and accuracy to ensure your data analysis or qualitative research flows smoothly. 

Getting our services is bound to speed up your transcription process, as we offer transcript deliveries in as fast as 24 hours or less. 

Competitive Pricing

Quality transcription doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Ditto offers affordable transcription starting at $1.75 per audio minute with a three to five-day turnaround time

Do you need your transcripts faster, or do you want to keep things within budget? We also offer rush and extended services to fit anyone’s needs. 

Trust Ditto for Accurate Focus Group Transcripts

Here, you won’t blow the budget for high-quality transcripts. Ditto provides affordable, high-quality, and 99% accurate interview transcription, conference calls, and any other transcription needs. Not convinced? Give us a call today for a free trial.

Ditto Transcripts is a Denver, Colorado-based FINRA, HIPAA, and CJIS-compliant transcription services company that provides fast, accurate, and affordable transcripts for individuals and companies of all sizes. Call (720) 287-3710 today for a free quote, and ask about our free five-day trial.

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