Writing the Transcript

Student Multigenre Web Projects:
Exploring Local History

Writing the Transcript of your Interview

After your interview, you will need to transpose the recording. This is how you create a transcript of the interview. It is best to do this word for word to begin with. It will take time to do this, so perhaps you and your partner can plan to meet at one or the other's house on a weeknight or a Saturday or Sunday. Once you have that done, you need to revise to write the transcript that you will publish.

The transcript needs a heading (as do all pages). Then, write a short introductory paragraph that will precede your transcript that tells who you interviewed, when, and about what (a summary of your main questions). You can give any other pertinent details as you need.

The transcript may take three forms:

  • A straight question/answer format. In this format, you will want to edit for any obvious or distracting dysflencies (uhm, like, etc) from the conversation. Also, if there are places that drift off topic, you can take those out.  You will end up with the written version that represents the taped interview.

  • A first person narrative. In this version, you will be writing in the voice of the person you interviewed. This version will be like the person is writing his or her autobiography. You will include his or her comments word for word. You will probably not include any of your questions, so your transitions from one idea to the next are going to be important. You will have to add to this type of transcript to make it read smoothly.

  • A third person narrative (like a biography). In this version, you will write in your voice and tell the story of the person you interviewed. You will include all the relevant facts from the interview but the arrangement of details will be up to you. As a third person narrator, your voice will be part of the transcript, but it is important that the voice of the person you interview is the primary voice. You may want to use quotation marks for long passages from your interviewee. See the samples below.

  • Remember, even your transcript can be hypertext. See the example in the Question/Answer sample below.

Transcript types/Samples:

Question/Answer:

Sarah:
Marian, what was school like for you during the Korean War?

Marian:
Oh, it was a little different from today. You girls are lucky to have sports to compete in. I was a pretty good baseball player, but it wasn't something I could do in school, really. You know my aunt played on an all girls team in World War II for Beloit. I got to see one of her games when I was little. I really wanted to play. But when I was in high school we were supposed to be pretty serious about our studies. I think I could have been serious about studies and sports, but sports were for boys back then.

First Person Narrative:

Girls today are lucky to have sports to compete in during high school. I didn't have that, but I was a pretty good baseball player. I wish I could have played on a real team. My aunt played on the Beloit team. I got to see one of her games when I was little. I really wanted to play. But when I was in high school we were supposed to be pretty serious about our studies. I think I could have been serious about studies and sports, but sports were for boys back then.

Third Person Narrative:

#1

Marian feels disappointed with her school experiences in that she was not allowed to compete in sports like boys were. She said that she was a pretty good baseball player. "I wish I could have played on a real team. My aunt played on the Beloit team. I got to see one of her games when I was little. I really wanted to play. But when I was in high school we were supposed to be pretty serious about our studies. I think I could have been serious about studies and sports, but sports were for boys back then," Marian said.

#2

Marian feels disappointed with her school experiences in that she was not allowed to compete in sports like boys were. She said that she was a pretty good baseball player. She wishes  she could have played on a real team. Her aunt played on the Beloit team, and she went to see one of her games when she was little. Marian really wanted to play, but when she was in high school students were supposed to be pretty serious about their studies. She thinks she could have been serious about studies and sports, but sports were for boys back then, she said.


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2004 Pat Schulze and Dawn Hogue