How to transcribe

Manual (on) Transcription (3rd Ed.)

In our free manual, we explain what’s important when recording interviews, creating transcripts and analysing them – and why it is not advisable to start without proper preparation and an understanding of the basic techniques of audio and video transcription. We provide answers to questions such as: How to do an interview. What exactly should be transcribed? Can I use voice recognition software? 

manual (on) transcription

Our compact and comprehensible manual supports and guides you during transcription in the context of a qualitative research project. We reference up-to-date literature on the topic; we refine existing advice and provide new, time-saving hints.

You can download our manual for free. It is prohibited to distribute the PDF through servers other than This ensures that everybody receives the most up to date version. If you like our manual, we ask that you recommend it to others.


(PDF file, 94 pages, 1.5MB, release 01.02.2015)


The publication is registered under ISBN: 978-3-8185-0497-7.
In your academic work, please cite the book as follows:

Dresing, Thorsten/Pehl, Thorsten/Schmieder, Christian: Manual (on) Transcription. Transcription Conventions, Software Guides and Practical Hints for Qualitative Researchers. 3rd English edition. Marburg 2015. Available Online: (Access: ISBN: 978-3-8185-0497-7



Qualitative Interviews
Why should one conduct qualitative interviews?
Conducting Successful Interviews
Common issues

Transcription: The challenge of producing a text
Rules are necessary!
A system for simple transcription
A complex transcription convention: GAT2
Transcription conventions in conversation analysis
How long does it take to transcribe?
Useful tips
Remarks concerning anonymization
Expecting and avoiding transcription errors
Can speech recognition software do my work for me?
Use transcription software – not iTunes
Step-by-step guide for f4 (Windows) and f5 (Mac)
Time stamps are useful!

Qualitative data analysis with f4analyse

Tutorials / Practical Hints
How to choose a recording device
Hints for recording & handling files in particular situations
Recording telephone interviews
Recording phone conversations with Skype
Converting audio files
Noise Removal
Trimming audio files
Data security and recovering deleted data

Cited works / References
The authors