Paragraph Transition

Begin a new paragraph with each change of speaker, transition to a new topic, significant pause, or interruption.

Insert a time stamp, followed by the full name of the speaker and a colon. Italicize this information.

Then begin the transcript. 


  • Example #1:
    ... Eventually became a self-employed artist and, um, carried on doing that most of my adult life. At the age of thirty-six after a painful divorce, I met and married my husband.

    #00:01:39-8# Jennifer Floether: I may say that my upbringing had been quite a Christian upbringing but not particularly religious. I, however, was a very religious child. However, in my twenties I took a massive detour. I decided that the Christian church was not for me, and so I’d more or less abandoned the church and I headed off, trying to find God, and joined an eastern cult.
  • Example #2:
    ... And I believe that what happened from that moment on has been His faithful answer to that prayer in that he’s revealed himself in deeper and deeper ways throughout the last thirty, forty years of my life —

    #00:08:23-6# Kerry Magruder: Yes.

    #00:08:23-7# Jennifer Floether: — starting off with very dramatic immediate experiences, but moving then to this encounter with Robert Walker, through whom I’ve encountered T. F. [Thomas Forsyth] Torrance by, I think a miracle, whose whole way of thinking and writing has transformed me in my mind.

Tip: When first transcribing, make a new paragraph whenever there is a speaker change. Then when going back on the second or third pass, add paragraph breaks when there are shifts in ideas. Splitting up long paragraphs requires judgment calls, and so it’s easier to do that later rather than at first; it may be left for the oral history editor rather than the initial transcriber, if desired.

Tip: Set up the f5 transcription software to insert the names for you automatically. If not using transcription software, to simplify typing, you could use an abbreviation for the speaker names — perhaps their full initials. And then find and replace the initials with the full name at a later time.