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NVivo

Qualitative Data Analysis using NVivo

Tools for Transcription

While NVivo allows you to work directly with audio or video files, most people find it much easier to work from a transcription. Transcription can be manual (done by a human) or automated (done by a machine). Manual transcription is usually more expensive, but is also usually more accurate, especially if the recording is at all noisy. Automated transcription is getting better all the time, and with a clean noise-free recording you should be able to expect at least 90% accuracy, and likely much better. Note things you may lose in a transcription include any emotion, pauses, inflection, etc. If these are important to your analysis, be sure to also pay attention to the original source files.

If you're asking someone else, human or machine, to perform a transcription, do pay attention to confidentiality. As of December 12, 2022, Rev.com, Otter.ai, and Transcription Heroes have been reviewed by UofC Security and are approved for use with de-identified Level 2 data [opens in new window] (PDF). The onus is on the Principal Investigator to ensure the information being recorded is de-identified. This may include warning participants in a recorded data collection session against mentioning their names, workplace, profession, or any information that may reveal their identities.

As of May 2023, transcriptions made with Zoom (Campus license only) are approved for up to Level 3 data [opens in new window] (PDF) and transcriptions made with Microsoft Teams are approved for up to Level 4 data [opens in new window] (PDF).

If you have questions about transcription tools approved for studies involving human participants, please contact the Conjoint Health Research Ethics Board (CHREB) at chreb@ucalgary.ca or the Conjoint Faculties Research Ethics Board (CFREB) at cfreb@ucalgary.ca.

Here's a short, alphabetized, incomplete list of automated transcription services, along with costs, links to confidentiality statements, and other considerations.

Automated Transcription Services
Provider Cost Confidentiality Platform Other
aTrain [opens in new window] Free N/A (your machine) Windows, Linux Offline - 57 languages
Buzz [opens in new window] Free (there's also a paid version if you want a prettier interface) N/A (your machine) macOS, Windows or Linux Offline - slightly techie. More than 90 languages
Descript [opens in new window] 4 hours / month for $5 USD [opens in new window] Statement [opens in new window] Web, macOS or Windows [opens in new window] 23 languages [opens in new window]
ebby.co [opens in new window] $15/hour USD ($0.25/minute) (cheaper with bulk purchase) Statement [opens in new window] Web 100+ languages [opens in new window]
MacWhisper [opens in new window] Free N/A (your machine) macOS Offline - 100 languages
Microsoft Teams[opens in new window] Free (included with U of C Teams accounts) Statement [opens in new window] macOS or Windows English only
NVivo [opens in new window] $30/hour USD (cheaper if you buy 5 or 10 hours) Statement [opens in new window] Web 28 languages [opens in new window]
Otter.ai [opens in new window] First 300 minutes/month free Statement [opens in new window] Mobile or Chrome English only, 20% education discount should you upgrade
Rev.com [opens in new window] $15/hour USD ($0.25/minute) Statement [opens in new window] Web English only
Sonix [opens in new window] $10/hour USD (30-mins free trial) Statement [opens in new window] Web 35+ languages [opens in new window]
Spext [opens in new window] $21/hour USD (cheaper if you buy more) Statement [opens in new window] Web - Chrome only 100+ languages [opens in new window]
Temi [opens in new window] $15/hour USD ($0.25/minute) Statement [opens in new window] Web or mobile English only [opens in new window]
Zoom [opens in new window]
(institutional license only)
Free (Included with U of C Zoom account). Statement [opens in new window] macOS or Windows English only. Must choose this option before recording. More: Windows [opens in new window] / Mac [opens in new window]
Human Transcription Services
Provider Cost Confidentiality Platform Other
Rev [opens in new window] $1/minute USD Statement [opens in new window] Web Claims 99% accuracy
Transcription Heroes [opens in new window] $1.69/min CAD Statement (PDF) [opens in new window] Web Canadian

Rev is also recommended by the Taylor Institute [opens in new window].

Doing it yourself
Provider Cost Confidentiality Platform Other
Transana [opens in new window] $75 USD student pricing N/A (your machine) Windows or macOS  
Express Scribe [opens in new window] $80 USD but 50% off ed pricing [opens in new window] N/A (your machine) Windows or macOS  
f4transkript [opens in new window] 25,90 € - 50,90 € N/A (your machine) Windows/macOS/Linux Also offers as a service [opens in new window]
HyperTRANSCRIBE [opens in new window] $40 USD student pricing [opens in new window] N/A (your machine) Windows or macOS  

If you ever need to compress or extract just audio from a video file, Handbrake [opens in new window] is a good option.

If you really want to dive in to a comparison of the accuracy of transcription services, you could start here [opens in new window].

Here's a web tool [opens in new window] (untested by me) that claims to "convert automated transcripts generated by Zoom or Microsoft Teams to NVivo format, with options to make coding easier."