Community Transcription Guide

How to transcribe

  1. Email to volunteer to transcribe an episode. We’ll assign you an episode, then email you back with links to the MP3 and raw transcript (OTR).
  2. Download the MP3 file and the OTR file and import them into to do the transcription. We recommend exporting occasionally as you go, just in case your web browser crashes or you accidentally close the page. Note that oTranscribe doesn’t work very well with Firefox, so we recommend using another browser such as Chrome.
  3. Once you’re done, export the transcript in OTR format and email it to We’ll add the transcript to the website and we can celebrate having made another great episode available to everyone.

When you’re doing the transcription, please follow the below style guide to make sure our transcripts are consistent and high quality.

Style guide

Speaker labels

The software we use to generate OTR files should automatically handle labeling speakers, but in case it does not or makes an error, here are the guidelines:

  1. Use the full name (if available) on first reference.
  2. Use the speaker’s first name for the remainder of the transcription.
  3. If the speaker’s title is known, include the title with each label. Use with the last name (Dr. Mathews).


Kim Crayton: Hello everyone, and welcome to today’s episode of the #CauseAScene Podcast. My guest today is Dr. Yassmin Abdel-Magied, and their pronouns are she/her. Would you please introduce yourself to the audience?

Dr. Yassmin Abdel-Magied: Hi! My name is Yassmin Abdel-Magied, and I’m an incredible badass who did all sorts of cool stuff.

Kim: Yes, yes you did! I’d like to start by asking you the questions we always ask: why is it important to cause a scene, and how are you causing a scene?

Dr. Abdel-Magied: It’s important to cause a scene because…

Spelling and grammar

Use the rules of US English spelling and grammar when not otherwise directed by this style guide. has a set of free online US English usage rules that we should try to follow.


  • folks ⇒ folx
  • Latina / Latino ⇒ Latinx
  • anti racist / anti-racist ⇒ antiracist


  • “Black” should always be capitalized when it refers to a group of people or a culture; for example:
    • “Statistically, Black women are four times more likely to die in childbirth than white women.”
    • “Many famous white musicians have appropriated Black music.”
  • Conversely, “white” should never be capitalized unless it occurs at the beginning of a sentence or in the title of a book, article, movie, etc.
  • “brown” and “people of color” should be capitalized according to the normal rules; for example:
    • “Police brutality disproportionately affects Black and brown people.”
    • “People of colour are often marginalised in technical organizations.”
  • The name of the podcast and the community should be written #CauseAScene to make it easier to read. The website should be written as
  • The words “god”, “lord”, etc. should not be capitalized in common idiomatic expressions. It should be capitalized when used in a specific religious context; for example:
    • “Oh god!” / “Oh my god!” / “Oh my lord!”
    • “Oh no, goddamnit, no!”
    • “The word of God does effectively say that we should prioritize the most vulnerable.”

Punctuation and formatting

  • The punctuation at the end of quotations goes inside the quotation marks. For example:
    • And then I was like, “Come on! You have to do better than that!”
    • She said, “Well, I’m sorry,” but I didn’t let her off the hook that easily.
    • When I’m talking to clients and I tell them, “You have to have a strategy in place. You can’t just be like, ‘Oh, we know what we’re doing.’ No! Intention without strategy is chaos!”
  • Use bold text for emphasis instead of italic text. Italics can sometimes be not as clear in web browsers. (See Penn State’s accessibility guide.)
  • Use quotation marks for book titles, movie titles, song titles, etc instead of italics. For example:
    • “Gone with the Wind” was temporarily removed from HBO’s streaming service.
  • In book club episodes, use bold italic text for passages from the book.
  • Use em-dash for asides. You can type an em-dash on a Mac by typing Option + Shift + dash (minus), on Windows by holding down Alt and typing 0151, and on Linux by typing Ctrl + Shift + U, then 2014, then Enter. 😅 This article gives more details: How to type a long dash on a PC or Mac. For example:
    • I’ve been in engineering for over 20 years—let’s just say that—and I think that the ability that we have with social media…


  • Abbreviations and acronyms should not contain dashes or periods; for example:
    • US, not U.S.
    • PhD, not Ph.D.
  • “OK”, not “Okay” or “okay”

Additional context and corrections

  • For nonverbal things like laughter, sighs, falsetto, low voice, slow pace, and so on, add a note in square brackets; for example:
    • Kim: And they always do that! [Laughs]
    • Guest: It’s just like you said, it’s a trap. [Both laugh] Every time!
    • Guest: And he’s like, [low voice] “Oooh, I just don’t see why you’re so aggressive.”
    • Kim: Shit! [irritated sigh] They wanna make it about you, but it ain’t!
  • If Kim or a guest makes a mistake that they don’t correct themselves and the correct meaning isn’t obvious from context, add the correction in square brackets; for example:
    • Kim: On page 16, [correction: page 116] it says:
  • When a person is mentioned by first name or a pronoun (for example, “he”, “she”, “they”, and so on) alone and it’s not obvious who is being talked about, add what is necessary to clarify in square brackets; for example:
    • “And as Kristen [Seversky] tweeted the other day…”
    • “I mean, 45 [Donald Trump] is out there sayin’ all sortsa shit…”
    • “When they [the CEO] said that, I couldn’t fucking believe it!”


In order to make long passages easier to read, break it up into paragraphs.

  • A paragraph should be no longer than roughly four sentences, or an inch (2.5 centimetres) high on your screen
  • Try to break paragraphs where there’s a natural break or change of subject


The automated transcription processor that we use automatically adds timestamps every time the speaker changes, or roughly every 45 seconds for audio with just one speaker. These timestamps can often be inserted in awkward places, or appear too often or not often enough, depending on the length of spoken passages or sentences. Adjust the timestamps according to these guidelines:

  • We want a timestamp to appear roughly every three paragraphs for audio with a single speaker, or about 3 inches (7.5 centimetres) for audio with multiple speakers
  • For audio with multiple speakers, try to put timestamps at a speaker change; for example:

    so that’s what happened.
    Kim: That goes back to what we were talking about with always the hero or victim, never the villain.
  • For audio when one speaker has a long passage, you can add a timestamp in the middle of a passage (but always at the start of a paragraph) if necessary

Other notes

  • Make sure to preserve the voice and personality of Kim and her guests. Transcribe what they actually say; don’t change things like “gonna” to “going to”.
  • Do however remove filler words such as “like”, “um”, “ah”; as well as repeated words or phases, unless they are there for effect. For example:
    • “Um, I think the cost of, ah, the cost of not… not acting is a, you know, perpet… I mean, perpetuation of the violent status quo.”

      should be transcribed as:

      “I think the cost of not acting is a perpetuation of the violent status quo.”

  • When in doubt, transcribe exactly!
  • Do not censor Kim or a guest. If they say “fuck”, write “fuck”; if they use the word “nigga”, transcribe exactly what they said. Note that the automated transcription service that we use does censor some words, so make sure to undo that when editing transcripts.
  • If Kim or a guest make an error that they don’t correct themselves, make a correction in the transcript like the following:
    • “I’m gonna continue down on page 222, and I highlighted [correction page 223]”
  •  In the book club episodes, when Kim reads a passage from a book, copy the passage directly from the book, eliding any parts that Kim does, and adding any remarks she might add; for example:
    • Continuing on:

      The history of racist ideas is the history of powerful policymakers erecting racist policies out of self interest, then producing racist ideas to defend and rationalize the inequitable effects of their policies, while everyday people consume those racist ideas, which in turn sparks ignorance and hate. […] Educational and moral suasion is not only a failed strategy…

      And I highlighted this next:

      …it is a suicidal strategy.

      And I wrote in the margin: “Fuck civility: the expectation that I must appeal to the moral nature of others while I’m being harmed.”

  • Don’t transcribe the introduction and music at the beginning of the episode, which lasts just under 30 seconds. Transcription should start at the 00:30 mark.
  • Don’t transcribe the show announcements because they will change. For example, this is an announcement that will change:
    • “Thanks for listening to this special episode of the #CauseAScene Podcast. I would like once again to give thanks to the author of “How to be an Antiracist”, Professor Ibram X. Kendi. Learn more about his work at his website at”

Podcasts without transcripts

Episode / link Transcript file
How to Survive the Robots: Professional Development 2.0: A Business Strategy
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 16
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 15
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 14
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 13
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 12
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 11
How to Be An Antiracist Ep. 8
C J Silverio
Kojo Idrissa
Lian Li
Jared Arms
Simone Haas
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 7
Pariss Athena
Emily Gorcenski
Danielle Smith
Julia Silge
Vincent J Intondi
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 6
Jayne Groll
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 5
Bari A. Williams
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 4
John Biewen
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 3
Troy Connor
Rebecca Conley
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 2
Hannah L. Drake
Tech Is Not Neutral Ep. 1
Kate O’Neill
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
David Lo Pun
Alice Isabelle
Tori Williams Douglass
Sacha Judd
Liz Fong-Jones
Cindy Gallop
Rachel Barnhart
Elisabeth Epps
Virginia Eubanks
Kit Stubbs, Ph.D.
Valerie Phoenix & Kristen Seversky
Valerie Sharp & Kristen Seversky
Marisa Catalina Casey
Tamara Temple
Leah & José
Sharyn Holmes
If you’re silent about your pain, they will kill you and say that you enjoyed it
Mel Stanfill
Sage Sharp
Juliana Gomez
Amanda Johnson
Karen Fleshman, Esq
John Edward Lawson
Tech’s Attack On Black Women Part 2
Tech’s Attack On Black Women Part 1
Greg Greenlee
Dan Hassan
Coraline Ada Ehmke
Lindsey Dragun
Garrett Dimon
Emily Kaminsky
Tanya DePass
Anil Dash
Saira Rao
#causeascene Conference San Francisco
Ruby Hamad
Marcus Merrell
Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Chelsea Higgs Wise
Leonardo Graterol
Nina Baliga