Transcription Practice

I think the biggest challenge I encountered while transcribing my bit of Professor Knight’s interview with Clay Riley was figuring out when sentences started and stopped. It’s natural when people talk for them to speak in run-on sentences, especially when they are trying to formulate an answer to a question they were just asked. Often, Clay would kind of ramble when answering a question because he would be addressing a lot of different points. I had to make decisions about where I thought sentences ended or where I would use another form of punctuation. I often used an ellipsis to denote a pause in a fairly continuous thought. I also used dashes to denote an interjectory thought in the middle of a sentence.

Other than that, I typed all of the “um’s” and “uh’s” both interviewer and interviewee used. I don’t know if that was the proper thing to do, but I found that it accurately portrayed the tone and cadence of both their voices. As for words I could not completely decipher, I simply typed out whatever word it sounded like most that fit with what they were saying. Lastly, whenever there was a slight interjection by Professor Knight that was indecipherable, I just ignored it. I did not think it would add to the transcription to include them.

1 Response to “Transcription Practice”

  1. 1 sgglos March 11, 2013 at 7:45 am

    Yes, it’s common for a speaker to interrupt themselves, and speak in run-ons. It seems you found some good ways to address this. How might you transcribe something differently the next time? Perhaps consider which “ums” might be meaningful (a “loaded” um, perhaps?), and which ones just get in the way when we read a transcript.

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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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