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Selecting formatting options for your transcript can be quite daunting, especially if you are having your audio files transcribed professionally for the first time. We believe many researchers may require unusual formatting or custom-made templates specific to their unique needs or even the requirements of qualitative analysis software. To help you navigate the options we have listed some tips below on how we usually define, categorize and then produce research transcripts. From the options available, you can easily choose the formatting and cost of your transcriptions to suit your needs – and more importantly – your budget.

Generally speaking, transcription services for research can usually be divided into two categories – Focus Group Transcription and Interview Transcription. Conversations between one and maximum three people will usually fall under the category of Interview Transcription. Conversations between larger groups of people will be more complex, with Focus Group Discussions usually consisting of a large number of speakers/participants.

Speaker Identification v Speaker Differentiation:

EXPERT uses a standard format for research transcription in both identifying as well as differentiating speakers on an audio or video tape.

Identification – When a client requests that specific speakers' names should be used in the document, those names will be used to identify the speakers.

Differentiation – When a client does not specifically request that we use any speakers' names, the standard labeling format will be used and the speakers will be titled as Interviewer/Interviewee, Speaker1/Speaker2, and/or differentiated by gender on a case-to-case basis.

De-Identification – When a client requests that person names, places, etc. should not be identified in the transcript, then such instances will be marked with a label, like [de-identified] or [private info], etc. This includes all identifying data such as addresses, places of work and positions within the workplace, or any combination thereof as specifically requested by the client to be documented.

Example of De-Identification:

Female Speaker: Hello, I am the first caller. My name is [de-identified] and I just spoke with [de-identified] a while back.

Interviewee: Hi, my name is [private info]. I was earlier working as [private info]. I started my own company called [private info] in 2011.

Interview Transcription – files with 1 to 3 speakers

Interviewees and interviewers are always identified as precisely as possible. Unless the client instructs explicitly to use the names mentioned in the transcript, our transcribers will differentiate speakers as either Interviewer or Interviewee as appropriate. If there are two or more interviewers or interviewees, these will be further separated by gender; for instance – Interviewer, Male 1, Male 2.

Focus Group transcription – recordings with 4 & more speakers


For regular focus group transcription we identify Interviewers and Interviewees, but not between individual interviewees other than by their gender. The interviewees will be named simply as Male or Female. The reason we follow this style is because over the course of the last several years we have seen that the majority of our clients signing up for focus group transcription services prefer it this way as they are more interested in the content of the group discussion and the accuracy of capturing its essence, rather than concentrating on which speaker commented and what he/she commented on.

If you would like speakers to be identified or differentiated in any manner, adding a note in the comments section when you upload your files would greatly assist our transcription team. If you want to see names being used in your transcript instead of numeric identifiers (i.e. Male 1, Female 2, etc.), please provide us the specific speaker names, either within the comments/notes section a separate speaker log along with your audio/video recording. This would help our transcribers to ensure the speakers’ identity is captured as accurate as possible.

In case of recordings that have large focus groups and where no speaker log or speaker identification info is provided, we would only be able to identify/differentiate speakers numerically and this might lead to some reading confusion for the client due to large number of speakers. Of note, additional charges may apply whenever numerical speaker identification is required. So please reach out to us to discuss specifically about your requirements before we initiate transcription.