Transcription Reaction– Bert Geddy

The indexing was hard the first time just because Mr. Geddy’s voice was unclear in some sections. Also, because I really didn’t know what to expect, I indexed some things that were definitely not the most important parts of the interview. However, the index did help with the transcription and vice versa. Looking back into the transcribed interview I was able to edit my initial indexed records to get a more complete timeline.

The transcribing was of course far more difficult than the indexing. It is definitely a tedious process that requires patience and a keen ear to be able to discern certain phrases. When I couldn’t tell what Mr. Geddy was saying, I would repeat the phrase a number of times. I would then listen to the next few seconds of the interview in case some later contextual clues could help me identify what he was saying. This strategy worked in a number of places—but in some I just really could not discern his message. Another way I utilized contextual clues was to use google to help me identify certain passages. Mr. Geddy spoke of some department stores in Richmond that he used to go to. After failing at constructing a perfect recreation of his pronunciation, I turned to google and searched “department stores in Richmond in the 1950s.” The top two results were the names he spoke of in his answer.

I chose to include most nuances—“um”’s and “uh”’s were mostly transcribed in my record. However I avoided most attempts at recording Mr. Geddy’s accent. He had a few strange tendencies such as saying “aboot” rather than “about,” and I believe when mentioned cub scouts and boy scouts he pronounced it in a very almost Scottish way. I have never met Mr. Geddy but his otherwise Southern sound and the history of his family in Toano suggests that he probably would have neither a Canadian nor a Scottish accent. I did include some common abbreviations such as “‘em” for “them” and “wanna” for “want to.”

My interviewer did a good job besides the fact that I don’t believe I caught her name in my segment of the recording at least. She spoke very little and allowed Mr. Geddy to go on for minutes at a time, which, depending on her topic, wasn’t necessarily bad because Mr. Geddy did stay pretty much on target to her question without many random tangents. She seemed interested in a Mr. Melvin Bryant that both Mr. Geddy and a previous interviewee had mentioned, but when Mr. Geddy began talking about him she led him in a different direction by asking a different type of question. Again, depending on her topic this could have been useful to her, but I felt that her main questions were fairly similar— describing your youth and the town you grew up in are questions that are largely intertwined. Overall I thought she did a good job, and that Mr. Geddy was a good participant in an interview that could have proved very useful to her.

1 Response to “Transcription Reaction– Bert Geddy”


  1. 1 sgglos February 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    It seems you were very resourceful in your attempt to be thorough and accurate in your transcription. Using Google and listening for context were good tactics in deciphering an interview for which you were not present. How did you determine what made for a “common abbreviation”?

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The Williamsburg Documentary Project (WDP) strives to collect and preserve the rich past of Williamsburg, Virginia. By conducting oral history interviews, building physical and digital archives, and creating online exhibits, the WDP interprets Williamsburg’s recent past. The WDP works towards developing a better understanding of Williamsburg by bringing together individuals, local groups, Colonial Williamsburg, and the College of William & Mary.

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