Thoughts on Transcription

If anything, the transcription assignment helped me realize that I don’t type anywhere near as fast as I thought I did.I found myself stopping the audio every few seconds even when slowed down to a speed which was almost unintelligible. This experience was a moving one, and I now have a profound respect for anyone who can discipline themselves long enough to accurately transcribe a piece longer than ten minutes. I found myself very personally involved with the process of the interview. Whenever people began to talk over each-other I was frustrated at how difficult it became to understand what was being said. There were unnamed people who talked on the recording which made it difficult to decide how to include their statements. I regularly found myself on the edge of my seat hoping the interviewer would reign in the conversation as it frequently went off on rather obscure tangents. After transcribing about half of the recording, It became painfully aware that I needed to streamline my process considerably. I began eliminating unnatural pauses such as “umm” and “uh huh”. Eventually I achieved a pace which I could reasonably keep up with the slow-motion voices on the recording. I then, for the first time, saw myself as an interpreter of the story being told rather than merely a monkey punching keys.


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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