Conversation Analysis Using Gail Jefferson’s Transcription Notations (Jefferson Transcription)

interview-transcriptionAlthough transcripts can inform a client about the exact conversation that takes place during a recorded interview or the correct sequence of words in a transcribed audio file, the most commonly used methods of transcription do not pay attention to the manner in which the said speech or conversation has been delivered and the way in which participants interact. In order to address this concern, Gail Jefferson developed an exclusive transcription method which highlighted key features of a dictation, recording, speech or conversation. Various features which are normally not included in a transcript, for example, length of pauses to seconds, stress on certain syllables or sounds, intonation (raise/lower voice), emphasis; slow and fast speech are added with the aid of symbols in a Jefferson Transcription (as it is popularly called) .

EQ Transcription Services is proud to offer Jefferson Transcription services to our esteemed clients. In fact, this kind of transcription may initially pose a challenge to understand but is ideal for recordings where:

  • It is crucial to transcribe using a method that best captures a live conversation on paper, replete with exclamations and other manner of speech.
  • The transcript itself can be used for conducting further analysis into understanding the manner in which participants interact with each other. Often, non-verbal expressions such as sighs and a sharp intake of breath can hold different interpretations as well, before or after speech.

Conversation analysts and discourse analysts employ the Jefferson system key of transcription notation. This is because in conversation analysis the transcripts are designed not only to capture what was said, but also how it is said and to be understood to mean something in discursive psychology. Therefore the transcripts provide a detailed version of the complex nature of interaction and can show overlapping speech of participants interrupting each other, emphasis on certain words, to show pitch, pause, pace and punch. This system can be used to show repetition, hesitation, deviation, emphasis, and other reasons for preparing for a lecture or speech or for research purposes.


If you would like to have a Jefferson transcript for your recording, simply add a note to our transcriptionist while uploading your digital audio file on our website.

Click here to view the list of symbols we use for Conversation Analysis using Jefferson’s Transcription notations.