Home · Archives · Support

Transcription Guidelines

Thank You!

First of all, thank you so much for helping us out. Make Weird Music survives because of people who care and your assistance with interview transcription goes a long way in helping us. We sincerely appreciate any volunteer efforts in helping with the production of content.

The Basics

Interview transcriptions are significantly important because the words of these creative geniuses should be captured, preserved, and shared for public consumption and for free as often as possible.

Secondly, these interview transcriptions provide us with the pull quotes we use in the videos and serves as the first step in the video editing process.

Stuff to Know

Transcription is difficult and time-consuming. Every minute of audio generally takes most people 2-3 minutes of work. Since a lot of our interviews are 30-60 minutes, transcribing an interview can easily take 1-3 hours of painstaking work. In fact, don’t worry if you can’t finish the task because it can be quite a commitment. Anything helps!

Furthermore, we are often discussing esoteric subjects with obscure names. Don’t worry if you don’t understand what the people in the audio are talking about. Just leave a note to make it obvious that we need to look into it while in the editing process.

Technical Details

  • Don’t capture every single detail of the conversation. Capture English sentences. We don’t need “um,” “you know,” “mm-hmm,” “and… and…” or any repetitive stutters. Use your knowledge of the English language and make the text pleasant to read. Here’s an example: Well I wonder, you know, I, I...it kind of...I wonder if people are looking for that...I hope maybe, I don’t know...through various forms of live performance and things, you know, where people actually can attend. That should be: Well, I wonder if people are looking for that through various forms of live performance where people can actually attend.
  • There are lots of free/easy-to-get audio tools to aid in transcription work. We generally use Quicktime Player 7 or VLC to set the audio playback speed to 50% while typing the words in a text editor.
  • Transcription documents should generally be provided in a Google Doc.
  • MWM uses the Markdown language for all text.
  • Don’t hyperlink anything directly in your text document. Instead, use this format: [text to link](http://example.com/link/to/reference). There is no space between the bracket and parenthesis. Here is an example: One of the great artists and a teacher mentor of mine is [Efrain Toro](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Efrain_Toro).
  • MWM is open source. If you’re familiar with GitHub, go to our site repo and you can do a pull request after we chat if you’re comfortable with that sort of thing.

Check out the Julie Slick interview for a fantastic transcription job by our friend, Casey Williams.