Raffa, Kristi

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Prepare a rough transcription

The first step in preparing the transcription is to obtain a rough transcription.

Experience suggests at least 20 hours is required to obtain a rough transcription of an hour-long interview. If you're preparing several transcripts, you may wish to purchase your own transcription software and foot control pedal:

Refine the transcription

In most cases a rough transcription will suffice, even one prepared using automated software or AI. The editorial priority is to add tagging using term lists to ensure consistency across the website, and to ensure the presence of appropriate documentation (including photographs, scans of documents referred to in the interview, and various supplemental materials).

Refining the transcription is worthwhile when a given history or portion of a history may be published elsewhere, or whenever any participant wishes to invest the time required.

A Personal Introduction: The Ethos of Oral History

By Kristi Raffa

Oral history captures a first-person account of the life experiences of a narrator. It is the creation of an auditory primary source (the recorded conversation) that is then used to create a second, written primary source (the transcription). The human component of multiple actors synthesizing speech and text with human experience and emotion calls for a pause in how oral history ought to be perceived. Oral history is an art in itself.