Perspectives on transcription in criminal justice

Organised by Aston University, Birmingham 

Transcription is almost always an institutional practice (Park & Bucholtz 2009). Across a range of institutional settings, ‘practitioners’ are eliciting and capturing spoken talk from ‘clients’ (Sarangi 1998), transcribing that talk, and later repurposing the transcripts in place of the original interaction. The transcription provides a written record of the spoken interaction, to be used by another party at a later date, in another setting or context.

Our point of departure is that written records, and hence transcripts, are certainly necessary. However, we acknowledge that no transcript of spoken interaction can be exact. Over the three sessions we highlight how the transcripts are only ever a representation of the spoken talk and never direct copies, and they inevitably result in a loss of detail. While these ideas are well established in branches of linguistics that deal with transcription, they are not always clearly understood within the law. This has implications for the administration of justice, as our speakers will demonstrate in relation to transcription of police interviews, and of indistinct forensic recordings. In organizing this event we invite and encourage further linguistic input into this area of professional practice.

To find out about the speakers and topics that will be discussed during this event please go to the Eventbrite page for more details.