1st Edition

Transcribing Oral History

By Teresa Bergen Copyright 2020
    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    228 Pages
    by Routledge

    Transcribing Oral History offers a comprehensive guide to the transcription of qualitative interviews, an often richly debated practice within oral history. Beginning with an introduction to the field and an overview of the many disciplines that conduct and transcribe interviews, the book goes on to offer practical advice to those looking to use transcription within their own projects. A helpful how-to section covers technology, style guides, ways to format transcripts and troubleshoot the many problems that can arise. In addition to the practicalities of transcription itself, the book encourages the reader to consider legal and ethical issues, and the effects of troubling audio on the transcriptionist. It explains how scholars can turn recorded interviews and transcripts into books, films and museum exhibits, enabling the reader to understand the wider concerns surrounding transcription as well as the practical uses to which it can be put.

    Based upon the author’s personal experience as a freelance transcriptionist and interviews with more than 30 professionals working around the world in the oral history and qualitative research fields, this is an indispensable guide for those involved in interviews and transcription at any level of an oral history project, including historians, transcriptionists, interviewers, project administrators, archivists, researchers and students.

    List of Figures, Tables and Boxes




    Chapter One: About Oral History and Transcription

    Chapter Two: Getting Started

    Chapter Three: Transcription vs. the Alternatives

    Chapter Four: Technology and Equipment

    Chapter Five: Transcription Step by Step

    Chapter Six: Hard Decisions

    Chapter Seven: Editing and Polishing

    Chapter Eight: Legal, Ethical and Regulatory Issues

    Chapter Nine: The Human Side of Transcription

    Chapter Ten: Using Transcripts for Research

    Chapter Eleven: Conclusions


    List of People Interviewed in Book




    Teresa Bergen is a freelance writer and transcriptionist based in Portland, Oregon. She has transcribed, indexed and edited qualitative interviews for more than 20 years, and is a member of the Oral History Association. Her articles appear in many consumer magazines and websites.

    "Writing with clarity and wit, in Transcribing Oral History, Teresa Bergen presents a comprehensive overview of transcribing methodology. She defines best practices and, drawing on examples from around the world and extensive experience, discusses the critical role of a transcriptionist as active, professional member of an oral history team. A must-read for anyone working in oral history and qualitative research."

    Barbara W. Sommer, Oral Historian and Author, USA

    "Transcribing Oral History is an engaging and practical book that will be a fantastic resource, not just for transcriptionists but for oral historians more generally who need to better understand how representation of their interviews affects people’s understanding of them. This is an important companion work for anyone working in oral history."

    Mary Larson, Associate Dean for Special Collections and Puterbaugh Professor of Library Service, Oklahoma State University Library, USA