For many students transcription is becoming as normal as drinking coffee in the morning. Particularly in study programs that involve a lot of qualitative research, transcription is necessary. During exams this can become very stressful as it takes a lot of time.

Katja is 22 years old and is studying International Communication & Media in Germany. She knows quite a bit about interview transcription. We asked her why there is so much transcription work to be done in her studies, and how she found a way around it.

Katja, tell us who you are and what you do

Katja: Sure. As you already mentioned, I am 22 years old and I am studying marketing and communication.

What do you especially like about that field of study? And what are typical tasks there like?

Katja: Instead of exams, we often work individually or in groups on projects and papers that require a lot of qualitative and quantitative research. And exactly because of that I chose this study program, as I really like doing research. I also enjoy conducting interviews because, in my opinion, you get the most honest answers during a personal conversation.

But to just attach audio files of these interviews to your project is not enough for the lecturers, right?

Katja: Unfortunately not. And for the analysis of an interview, writing it down is necessary anyway. I had never heard of the word 'transcription' before going to university and was quite shocked when I realized how much work it actually takes to write down an interview. A ten minute interview can easily take one hour to transcribe, so you lose a lot of valuable time. Especially since I have a part-time job on the weekends, transcription is just really annoying.

Why do you think that the transcription of interviews is so important in your study program?
 
Katja: I think there are several reasons. Especially with topics that deal with consumer behavior, personal opinions of the target group are very important. It’s worth it to have a closer look and to not just have questionnaires be filled in. Marketing is about understanding what your target group wants and needs, so interviews just make a lot of sense. However, transcription is necessary for students from all kinds of study programs nowadays. Luckily I found a great solution.
 
How did you get to know AmberScript?
 
Katja: It was actually just by chance through a fellow student. I knew that he had four interviews to transcribe for the next day and by knowing that alone, I was like man, how in the world is he going to do that? And still, I met him at the bar that evening. When I asked him how he manages to transcribe everything until tomorrow, he told me he was using AmberScript's transcription software. With that, transcripts are automatically created in a few minutes and you only have to correct them afterwards. I got very curious and took a closer look at AmberScript.
 
And what was your first impression of AmberScript and what is your experience so far?
 
Katja: I was a bit skeptical at first, how well that really works. However, if you realize that the step of typing everything out is done by the software and that you only have to correct those transcripts afterwards, you understand in what way it saves so much time. However, with the perfect service of AmberScript, where these additional corrections are taken over by transcribers, I was not sure if that might be considered to be ghostwriting. That’s of course forbidden at most universities.
 
After taking a look at my first automatically generated transcript and after being assured by my lecturer that perfect transcription is not seen as ghostwriting, my skepticism was blown away. 
So in the end, you have the option to just use the software and adjust everything yourself or to outsource the entire transcription process which is of course more expensive. Either way, you save a lot of time. It’s crazy that, on average, one hour of audio takes around six hours to transcribe. Thanks to AmberScript’s software I get the same result after one to two hours. Of course you have to pay for the service, but if you think about it, you actually even save money. Instead of transcribing for hours you can work and earn more money than the transcription costs in the first place. Or you just start analysing your interviews.

At the moment, exams are coming up again and after that I have to look for an internship in the summer. The right organisation, while you are studying, is incredibly important, and thanks to AmberScript, I have one less thing to worry about. Of course, everyone is different in that regard, but for me personally, it is very hard to focus on one thing while having all the other things I also have to do in the back of my mind. Planning is key!
 
In the end, using a transcription software like AmberScript will be helpful to any student, so I'm sure more and more will use this service in the future. I'm already a convinced user!
 
Great! Good luck and thank you for the interview.