The Zoom Revolution and Covid 19

The Zoom Revolution and Covid 19

So what impact has the coronavirus epidemic had on my ability to provide high quality transcription services?  Well the short answer is, if anything, it has IMPROVED the quality of my transcripts.  How so?  Let me explain: pre Covid-19 I would estimate that 50% of my interviews were recorded in a room face to face; 30% were telephone interviews and only 20% via Skype or similar. 

So what impact has the coronavirus epidemic had on my ability to provide high quality transcription services?  Well the short answer is, if anything, it has IMPROVED the quality of my transcripts.  How so?  Let me explain: pre Covid-19 I would estimate that 50% of my interviews were recorded in a room face to face; 30% were telephone interviews and only 20% via Skype or similar.  At the time of writing - June 2020 - 30% are still via telephone but now a whopping 70% are via video conferencing, predominately via Zoom.  So how does that improve the quality and accuracy of transcripts?  Well the simple answer is that I can SEE the respondent and I can SEE the interviewer/facilitator – so if someone shrugs their shoulders in response to a question – I can add that in to the transcript.  Likewise if someone nods or shakes their head.  Recently I was able to include when a respondent rolled his eyes!  Those little nuances that are missed in audio recordings but can be extremely valuable when it comes to the analysis stage in some instances.  Seeing the respondent also reduces time coded ‘gaps’ – these are the odd word here and there that are inaudible on an audio recording, but actually seeing the respondent’s mouth form the word results in much higher accuracy - in most cases 100% accuracy.

I have yet to transcribe a virtual online focus group but I’m dying to – now that will be interesting!  I would imagine this will be facilitated by Microsoft Teams and, again, I believe it will actually IMPROVE the quality and accuracy of my transcripts provided a good facilitator/chair is in situ to ensure only one person speaks at a time for example, which will also then hopefully reduce any time lags and of course stop people talking over one another.  I will let you know how I get on when I finally get to transcribe one!