Transcription in Action

Department of Linguistics
University of California, Santa Barbara

Contact: Mary Bucholtz ()
and John W. Du Bois ()

home | projects | tools | Representing Discourse | bibliography | links

The transcription of spoken language is a fundamental practice within linguistics as well as other disciplines concerned with the analysis of spoken language. Researchers in phonetics, discourse, sociolinguistics, child language, corpus linguistics, clinical linguistics, and field linguistics rely on transcripts of speech to gain insights into how language works at a variety of levels, from the production of speech sounds to the structure of interaction. At the same time, scholars in linguistic anthropology, conversation analysis, communication, education, and folklore, among others, use transcription to discover how linguistic interaction brings the social and cultural world into being. And beyond academia, transcription and related forms of discourse representation play important roles in many institutional contexts, such as the legal system, medicine, and the media.

Yet despite its importance in these fields, transcription has not yet consolidated into a focused area of research. There is a substantial body of scholarship on different aspects of transcription from a variety of perspectives, but for the most part there has been little dialogue between different traditions.

Transcription in Action collects and disseminates information about the transcription of spoken interaction, including methods, theories, tools, and research. The site gives special attention to transcription within linguistics but also aims to be useful to transcribers in other disciplines and professions.

Of special interest are a number of resources for the transcription of discourse, including the transcription programs VoiceWalker and SoundWriter, guidelines for discourse transcription developed by John W. Du Bois, and a bibliography of publications related to transcription. The site also provides information about current transcription projects at UCSB and offers links to additional transcription resources.