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What will my Research Transcripts look like?

Knowing what formatting options to select for your research transcripts can be daunting, particularly if it is your first experience of having audio files transcribed professionally. We understand that many researchers may require unusual formatting or the use of a template specific to their unique needs or the requirements of qualitative analysis software.

To help you navigate the options, we’ve set out some tips below on how we usually define, categorise and then present research transcripts. By understanding the options available, you can easily tailor the formatting and cost of your transcriptions to suit your needs – and more importantly – your budget.

Research Transcripts: Interview Transcription or Focus Group Transcription?

Generally speaking, transcription for research can be divided into two categories: Interview Transcription and Focus Group Transcription. Conversations between one to three people will usually fall under the category of Interview Transcription. Conversations with larger groups of people are more complex, with Focus Group discussions usually including large numbers of participants.

Research Transcripts - Focus Group Discussion
Research Transcripts: Speaker Identification v Speaker Differentiation

Pacific Transcription has a standard format for research transcription when it comes to both identifying and differentiating speakers on a file.

  • Differentiation is where we label the speakers as “Facilitator” or “Interviewee” and/or differentiate by gender accordingly, as the client has not requested that we use the speakers’ names.
  • Identification means that where a client requests that speakers’ names are used in the transcript, those names will be used to identify the speakers.
  • De-Identification means that wherever speakers’ names are used, or wherever other names are used in the transcript these will be changed to [de-identified]. This includes all identifying information such as specific addresses, places of work and positions within the workplace.

Example of de-identification:

Facilitator: Hello, I am the facilitator. My name is [de-identified].

Interviewee: Hi, my name is [de-identified]. I am currently living in Brisbane in [de-identified]. I live with my sister [de-identified], who works with me at [de-identified].


Interview Transcripts – Files with 1 to 3 Speakers

Facilitators and interviewees are always differentiated as accurately as possible. Unless we are explicitly instructed (either through File Notes or within the audio file) to use the names mentioned in the transcript we will differentiate speakers as either “Facilitator” or “Interviewee”, as appropriate. If there are two facilitators or interviewees, these will be further differentiated by gender and voice, for example Facilitator, Male 1, Male 2.

Example 1:

Facilitator 1: Hi, I am the facilitator. I have a male voice.

Facilitator 2: Hello, I am also a facilitator. I have a male voice.

Interviewee: Hi, I am the interviewee named Sally. The facilitators call me Sally when they speak, however no instructions were given to identify me as such, so I am simply listed as Interviewee.

Example 2:

Facilitator: Hi, I am the facilitator. No instructions were given to use my name.

Male 1: Hi, I am an interviewee with a male voice and I introduce myself as Ryan. No instructions were given to use my name.

Male 2: Hi, I am a male interviewee and I am called Steven by the facilitator. No instructions were given to use my name.

Example 3:

Alice: Hello, I am the facilitator and my name is Alice. I have requested that participant names be used.

Sam: I am the interviewee and my name has also been provided.


Focus Group Transcripts – Files with 4+ Speakers

For standard focus group transcription we differentiate between facilitators and interviewees, however not between individual interviewees other than by gender. This means that interviewees will be named simply Male or Female.

This style is preferred by the majority of clients who use our transcription services as they are more interested in the content of the discussion as a whole, rather than knowing which speaker made certain comments.

If you would like speakers to be identified or differentiated, please add a note to your files requesting this. If you require names to be used, rather than numeric identifiers (i.e. Male 1, Male 2, Female 1, Female 2 et cetera), please provide a speaker log with your audio. This allows us to ensure the speaker identification is as accurate as possible.

Where no speaker log is provided, please understand that we can only identify/ differentiate numerically on a best attempts basis and as such this may not be possible for large focus groups. Please note also that a surcharge may apply where identification or differentiation numerically is required, so please contact us to discuss your specific requirements before uploading your files.

Example 1:

Facilitator: Hello, I am the facilitator.

Male: Hello, I am an interviewee with a male voice, the first time I speak I introduce myself as Robert.

Male: Hello, I am an interviewee with a male voice.

Female: Hello, I am an interviewee with a female voice.

Male: Hello, I am an interviewee with a male voice. I could be one of the two males who have already spoken or a new participant.

Example 2:

Facilitator: Hello, I am the facilitator and I have requested for speakers to be identified by number.

Male 1: Hello, I am an interviewee with a male voice.

Male 2: Hello, I am an interviewee with a different male voice to the first male.

Female: Hello, I am an interviewee with a female voice.

Male 1: Hello, I sound like I am male 1 again.

Example 3:

Facilitator: Hi, I am the facilitator and I have requested speakers to be identified by name.

Andrew: Hi, I am Andrew.

Tom: Hi, I am the interviewee Tom.

Sally: Hello, I am Sally.

Andrew: I have not mentioned my name again, but the typist has been provided a speaker log so knows it is me speaking.


If you are unsure of which option is the best for you, do not hesitate to contact Pacific Transcription to discuss which of the formatting options available is best suited to your project.


Posted by Catherine Byrne

About Catherine Byrne

Catherine's work with Pacific Transcription spans many areas, including writing and design, business development, training, and of course, keeping abreast of emerging trends and new products which enhance transcription and dictation experiences for clients.
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