Automatic Transcription of English and German Qualitative Interviews


  • Susanne Wollin-Giering Technische Universität Berlin
  • Markus Hoffmann Technische Universität Berlin
  • Jonas Höfting Technische Universität Berlin
  • Carla Ventzke Senatsverwaltung für Inneres und Sport



qualitative interviews, transcription standard, methods, automatisation, data protection, accuracy, automatic transcription


Recording and transcribing interviews in qualitative social research is a vital but time-consuming and resource-intensive task. To tackle this challenge, researchers have explored various alternative approaches; automatic transcription utilising speech recognition algorithms has emerged as a promising solution. The question of whether automated transcripts can match the quality of transcripts produced by humans remains unanswered. In this paper we systematically compare multiple automatic transcription tools: Amberscript, Dragon, F4x, Happy Scribe, NVivo, Sonix, Trint, Otter, and Whisper. We evaluate aspects of data protection, accuracy, time efficiency, and costs for an English and a German interview. Based on the analysis, we conclude that Whisper performs best overall and that similar local-automatic transcription tools are likely to become more relevant. For any type of transcription, we recommend reviewing the text to ensure accuracy. We hope to shed light on the effectiveness of automatic transcription services and provide a comparative frame for others interested in automatic transcription.


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Author Biographies

Susanne Wollin-Giering, Technische Universität Berlin

Susanne WOLLIN-GIERING is currently working at Technical University Berlin in the projects "FUFAF – Functions and Consequences of Unemployment in Researchers Careers" and "EPAC – Effects of Pandemic-related Disruptions on Academic Careers". In her work she focuses on the intersection between the sociology of work and the sociology of science, particularly in the area of academic careers.

Markus Hoffmann, Technische Universität Berlin

Markus HOFFMANN is a research associate and PhD candidate at the Technical University Berlin in the research group for social studies of science and technology. He is currently working on two projects to investigate the field-specific effects and ways of handling unemployment and restrictions induced by the COVID-19 pandemic respectively. His research interests include field-comparative science studies and qualitative approaches of analysing content.

Jonas Höfting, Technische Universität Berlin

Jonas HÖFTING is currently a Master's student in Information Science at Humboldt University Berlin. He supports the projects "FUFAF – Functions and Consequences of Unemployment in Researchers Careers" and "EPAC – Effects of Pandemic-related Disruptions on Academic Careers" as a student assistant at Technical University Berlin.

Carla Ventzke, Senatsverwaltung für Inneres und Sport

Carla VENTZKE supported the projects "FUFAF – Functions and Consequences of Unemployment in Researchers Careers" and "EPAC – Effects of Pandemic-related Disruptions on Academic Careers" as a student assistant at Technical University Berlin.


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How to Cite

Wollin-Giering, S., Hoffmann, M., Höfting, J., & Ventzke, C. (2024). Automatic Transcription of English and German Qualitative Interviews. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 25(1).



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