Last summer, I collected roughly 40 hours of conversation from people in Washington State last year. Not an enormous corpus, but I’m quite proud of that dataset. Well, my goal was to transcribe one speaker gradually over the course of the year, finishing around now. Well, in 9 months, I’ve done about… one hour. I realized this week that I really really need to get these done.
Now, I haven’t just been slacking off doing nothing for the past school year. I’ve been very busy with my research assistantships and with other tasks. I’ve given workshops and seminars here at UGA, and my name has been on a lot of conference presentations in the past few months, even if I haven’t been able to attend them. I’ve put together this website as well.
I’ve got my second qualifying paper coming up (edit: see my post about it here) and it occurred to me that if I want to graduate in a year, I had better get these recordings transcribed!
Because I am the way I am, I kept track of my transcription rate. I did the first hour or so in about 5 hours. Okay, so at that rate, it’ll take me around 200 hours of work to finish the transcriptions. Okay, so at an hour a day that’ll take me like 8 months. At two hours a day I’ll finish in like August. Yikes. That’s a lot of work.
39 hours of audio left. At two hours of transcribing a day I'll finish by… Thanksgiving. Am I old enough to hire undergrads yet?— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) April 28, 2017
So I decided to just get to it. I can calculate and project and write about it all I want, but it’s not going to get done unless I just go for it. And I’ve got to be the one to do it. Even though there are automatic transcribers out there, I’d have to double-check their work anyway, and if I need to listen to it all I might as well do it all myself. Plus, it’s nice to go through them again and listen to linguistic features I didn’t catch before. And there are a lot!
Edit: I’ve decided to tweet every so often to keep track of my progress and to keep myself motivated.
I put in four hours today and finished an entire speaker, averaging 3.2 minutes of work time for every minute of transcription time. Nice.— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 2, 2017
I'm 15% finished transcribing. Just finished listening to my interview with a professional radio announcer. Wow. Talk about clear audio.— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 12, 2017
Just hit the 20% mark for transcribing my interviews. I'm currently reliving the one with a guy who worked falling trees for 18 years.— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 16, 2017
25% done with transcribing. Would have hit it earlier, but I've got two other projects going right now, which means more transcribing later…— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 31, 2017
After a bit of a hiatus, I'm back to transcribing and just hit the 30% mark for my corpus! Hooray!— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) August 3, 2017
After another long hiatus, I'm back to transcribing. I just hit the 35% mark of my corpus. I'm averaging around 4.6 hours of work for every hour of audio, and I've got about 26 hours of interviews left. https://t.co/AyjOL9gIXX— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) April 17, 2018
Okay I'm now 40% finished transcribing. I've put 78 hours into this already and I've got approximately 105 hours of work left. I'm hoping to be done by July. This is crazy. #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) April 25, 2018
I'm now 45% done with transcription. It'll be really satisfying to heat that 50% mark in a week or so. Only 60 workdays left! #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 2, 2018
Hooray! I'm HALFWAY done with transcribing these interviews! At slightly more than two hours a day and my current pace of 4.5 hours of work for every hour of audio, I should be done by July. #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 8, 2018
Just hit 55%. Learning a lot about welding right now. 1022 minutes of interviews left to transcribe, but who's counting anyway? #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 16, 2018
Okay, so now I'm 60% done. I'm enjoying all the technical terms I'm learning about: welding on the last interview and quilting on this one. Only 65 more hours of work left! #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 22, 2018
Okay, I'm now 65% done with transcribing my corpus! About 6 more weeks and I'll be finished. #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) May 29, 2018
Alright, I just hit the 70% mark. Just 10½ hours of interview left, which should take me about 45 hours to do. In less than a month I'll be done! #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) June 7, 2018
Hooray! 75% done! Just finished an interview with a native Washingtonian who totally has existential "it" and "liketa." That was cool. #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) June 13, 2018
It's been a busy week of transcribing, and even though I hit 80% on Tuesday, I just finished out the week at 85%. I did an entire interview yesterday and another one (plus some change) today! #amtranscribing— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) June 29, 2018
So apparently, I've been miscalculating my percentage. Turns out I'm 95% done! I only have two more interviews to transcribe! The end is near! #amTranscribing #NotForMuchLonger #CantWaitToStartAnalysis— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) July 10, 2018
I saved the funnest interview for last. This guy's a fourth generation euphonium player and I did trombone before switching to linguistics, so most of the interview is us geeking out on low brass topics. #amtranscribing #ButIllBeDoneTODAY #StayTuned— Joey Stanley (@joey_stan) July 11, 2018
To see my excited tweetstorm for when I finished, see this new post.