The Role of Research in Transcription

Aug 26, 2011 | Qualitative Research, Transcription | 0 comments

Research is a critical part of transcription, i.e. research for correct spellings of  names, places, technical terms etc.

The accuracy of a transcript can vary greatly depending on the thoroughness of research done by the transcriptionist.

For e.g., take a look at this paragraph from the oral history of  Dr. Erwin L. Hahn:

Well, I was destined somewhat to be a particle physicist in that I had started with Kerst as a graduate student developing a power supply, of various kinds, devices to power high current ignitrons and things of that sort, to power his betatron. At that time, we had a 20 MEV and a 50 MEV betatron that were developed, and I was sort of stuck, I thought, in being an electronics technician. Now, he may not like that but that was the truth. And I wanted to do some physics. Now, I started to do some physics with Bob Koch. He’s the retired director of the American Institute of Physics.

To transcribe these 110 words, one needs to know:

  1. Who was Kerst (Donal William Kerst) and how did he spell his name?
  2. What are ignitrons and betatrons?
  3. What is the correct way of writing MeV — MeV, MEV, M.e.v or Mev?
  4. How does Bob Koch spell his last name (Koch or Kotch)?

Typing phonetically, Kerst could become Kurst, ignitrons could become ignetrons and Koch could become Kotch!

To find out the correct spellings one needs to do proper research (which means that a minute or two of recording could actually take up to 30 minutes to transcribe).

There are other factors that affect the accuracy of a transcript, but there’s no doubt that research is one of the most important ones. What do you think?

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