Raffa, Kristi


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Prepare a rough transcription

The first step in preparing the transcription is to obtain a rough transcription. This task is not as trivial as it sounds, for the soundtrack conceals a host of ambiguities, not all of which will be evident to the naive listener. Expect to spend more time refining the transcription than creating the first iteration. A refined transcription is a product of editorial scholarship, not tech support, for reasons that will become evident in this manual.

Refine the transcription

Refining the transcription requires the making of many judgment calls. Review this page before uploading your transcription to the oral history page of the Fellowship website. If the initial transcriber and the editor of the particular oral history are two different persons, they will want to communicate at this stage, or perhaps here is where the initial transcriber can relay the transcript over to the editor.


"Making judgment calls," by Kristi Raffa

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.