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Are You Sure that Focus Group Transcription Is for You?


Focus group transcription can be provided for many kinds of people. Whether you are a student or a professional, there is a good chance you will have to attend a focus group where you will need to make a good recording so that you can later transcribe the discussions that took place.

Focus group transcription is one of the most difficult of all transcriptions because there are so many people in attendance, and often it is hard for you to decipher who is saying what. Identifying each speaker is a painstaking task and one of the reasons many people shy away from this kind of work.focus group transcription services

5 Reasons Why a Focus Group Transcript Is Difficult

Lots of people talking – During a focus group, many people are in attendance. As a consequence, it is often the case that more than one person is talking at any one time. This makes transcribing very difficult because the speakers overlap one another. As a consequence, important information is missed.

focus group transcription sampleIdentifying each speaker – As mentioned, a number of people attend a focus group. It could be 5, it could be 10 – or it could even be as many people as 20. For this reason, identifying each speaker becomes a problem. How do you remember each voice? How do you know who is really saying what? The result is that you might quote the wrong person.

Nuances of speech – Transcribing focus groups is made doubly difficult if there is a speaker who mumbles and is thus practically inaudible. If a speaker has a difficulty getting their point across – or if they speak too quickly – it can make focus group transcription difficult.

Background Noise – A bad focus group transcription example often happens when there is too much background noise in the recording. This can happen if the focus group is taking place in a room next to a major road, or if it is taking place in a large hall.

Dialects – Some people have weak dialects – but some have very strong dialects. If there is a speaker in your focus group transcript who has a very strong dialect, it can often be hard to decipher what it is they are saying. It is often a case where you have to listen really carefully, continuously playing the recording back – or asking a friend to help.

tips to transcribe focus groups

Tips on Transcribing a Focus Group

Focus group transcription is one of the most challenging tasks in transcription because there are many people involve in the script and it is difficult to identify who speaks what. The task becomes more difficult when participants speak simultaneously. The background noise, dialects involve, and speakers’ tones also contribute to this strenuous work. But these factors do not limit us to provide quality and accurate focus group transcription services.

The following are some tips on how to work on focus group transcription.

  1. Use quality tools. Use a high-quality headset to listen to the script. Invest in these tools, as they will help you a long way on your transcription business. Also, use quality and ergonomic keyboards and chair for long hours of work.
  2. Transcribe verbatim. Transcribe everything each speaker says in all original forms – including word fillers like “ahh” or “umm”. However, you must put these word fillers inside parentheses to make sure that they don’t mix with the actual words. If you prefer this style, you should have a clear sense of hearing for an accurate transcript.
  3. Use time stamps. A time stamp is an act of inserting time (in minutes and seconds) for every speaker interval. This allows you to mark the end and beginning of each speaker. It also helps the reviewer or reader to go back and refer to the previous discussion without listening to the entire audio recording all over again.
  4. Hear the details. As a focus group transcriptionist, you should have “ears” for details. This means you hear everything in detailed forms – tone, dialect, and other speech properties. You can develop this skill by noting down the important details like “what the speaker talks about and how he talks about it. “
  5. Identify the speakers. There is usually a moderator who identifies the speaker, especially when he or asks a question. Note this to get to know the speakers. You can use your own identifier such as Moderator, Speaker 1, 2, 3, so on and so forth.
  6. Do not “clean up” the transcript. The goal of the focus group transcription is to translate the script into text, not to make a perfect script for a play. Some mispronounced, grammatical errors and misuses of words are just common, especially in a group discussion. Do not try to correct these. If you insist, put the correct words in parentheses within the script.
  7. Maintain confidentiality. Do not drop names on the transcript. Use Speaker 1, 2, 3, so on and so forth to address the participants.
  8. Review the transcript. Read the script after transcription having typed it. When you’ve reread this version of the transcription a couple of times, you can use member checking to help confirm its accuracy.
  9. Edit the transcript. It does not mean you have to edit the content; you just have to polish it. If the client prefers a “cleaner” transcript, you can delete filler words like “ummm” and “ah”. Some clients want to edit grammar and misused words. Other than that, leave the transcript be.
  10. Hire a professional. If you have a long script to transcribe and you need a professional help, don’t waste your time and hire academic transcription services. We have a team of professional transcriptionist that specializes in focus group transcription. We can provide you with focus group transcript example to display our experience and skills.

Transcription Tips

  1. Improve your typing speed and accuracy. Both are important for the task. You don’t just type fast, but you have to make sure you’re typing correctly. You can practice with typing speed tests online. They will help you practice and improve both speed and preciseness.
  2. Help yourself with the transcription text. You should not use a dash or break a word that it split between lines. You must write in full words.
  3. Take note if you cannot make out a part of the page or a word. You should take note of them using a question mark or a double bracket if you’re having a difficulty in figuring out certain words or a page.
  4. Develop good listening and hearing skills. Aside from typing speed and accuracy, you must also understand what you’re working on to type it fast. Invest in good listening equipment or tool, such as headphones or earphones. You need it, especially if the speaker on the file has a poor accent or if the background is noisy.
  5. Use free or paid software to help you with the job. However, you should have an experience with it in order to know keyboard shortcuts or a foot pedal.
  6. Maintain quality. When done, make sure to correct grammar and spelling in your work. You may want to get help from someone if you don’t know how to do it yourself.
  7. Format correctly. Ask for the required format before working to avoid wasting time later when you had to change the format to suit the requirements.
  8. Upon receipt of the file, listen to it and assess the quality. You must do it to inform the person who sent it to you in case the file quality is poor. If you don’t, you may have a hard time to accomplish your task.
  9. Organize your working environment. Work in a comfortable station that won’t give you body ache and pain for sitting and typing for hours.
  10. Enjoy what you’re doing! Take a break from time to time to avoid complete exhaustion. Finally, don’t pressure yourself and take it slow if you’re a beginner. In all cases, enjoy transcribing or ask help from someone who can.

Benefits of Using a Professional Focus Transcription Service

focus group transcription

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Quality Sound Equipment – Top quality sound equipment ensures a crystal clear sound recording – which makes it easier to decipher sounds and speeches, even in a place as busy as a focus group.

Professional Mastering Equipment – High-quality sound mastering equipment is fundamental when it comes to a focus group transcription. Professional transcription services use this mastering software to separate the sounds – and thus the speeches, which essentially means that each individual speaker is identified.

Experience – There is no doubt that experience counts for a lot when it comes to transcribing focus groups. A professional transcription service has trained their ears so as to spot nuances in speech, recognize what is being said when speakers are overlapping, and identify each individual speaker.

Why Choose Us?

focus group transcriptIf you’re having trouble transcribing focus groups and need some help, why not speak to us today? We are a professional academic transcription service with years of experiences when it comes to focus group transcription and we are armed with the latest sound recording technology. When it comes to deciphering every last important detail in a focus group, there is simply no one better.

Turn to us for professional help once you need a good focus group transcript!