Trouble With Transcribing

My research involves taking interviews in Russian and then transcribing them and then translating them into English. The most difficult part for me is the transcribing. It is hard enough to make complete sense of what someone is saying to me in Russian when I can see their body language and facial expressions. It is that much harder when I have to do it with only the recording. I have done this before on another project with a group of students and it worked pretty well. Now, however, I am working on my own research and the task of transcribing is quite daunting. Luckily, the Chappell Scholarship involves close work with a faculty advisor and this is immensely helpful in making sense of the interviews that I have. The opportunity to work with my advisor, who is a native Russian speaker not only provides me with the ability to complete my research, it also enables me to improve my own language skills and understand Russian culture better. This whole experience again highlights the best aspects of William & Mary. Being in a great academic environment and working one-on-one with a professor on my own work is teaching me a fantastic amount and not strictly in the academic sense. Doing my own research has taught me a lot about where my own interests lie and how I want to go about exploring those passions. Also, it has made me realize all of the preparation and time that goes into producing something of value and gives me a great appreciation for those who dedicate their lives to this kind of work. I am so glad to have had this opportunity and encourage other students to get involved in undergraduate research.


  1. Hi Jacob,

    I understand your frustration with transcription. I have studied Italian and Spanish in depth and nothing is hard than listening to a recording or talking on the phone in a foreign language, I can imagine how hard it would be to then write down word for word what is being said. I can also relate to the amazing help that our advisors provide. While I was researching in Madrid I was feeling a little lost and overwhelmed in the beginning and by chance my advisor was also in Madrid and we were able to meet and discuss my project. It was such a relief to haver her advice and guidance. Good luck with further research!

    Casey Lesser