Auto-Creating, Correcting and Coding Transcripts from Microsoft Teams or Zoom in CAQDAS Software (ATLAS.ti, NVivo or MAXQDA)

COVID-19 has had a HUGE impact on qualitative and mixed-methods research processes. A key change I’ve seen and heard about with the PhD candidates and research teams I support is a shift to interviewing via MS Teams or Zoom. And this has prompted more than one person to ponder: “surely if I can automatically create subtitles I must be able to use that for analysis – can’t I? Well yes – you now can 🙂

NOTES:

This page is text-heavy, there are then additional pages with sequences of video demos.

There will also be changes to the process and software – I’ll note these and work to keep the page up to date as there are exciting developments coming in this area.

Now – I really dislike those cookery blogs where this bit would continue for several pages about who those people were and what they said etc etc. when all you wanted was the recipe I’m now going to cut straight to the details- then come back to some of the context and next steps after that. 🙂

Video resources

Step-by-step for ATLAS.ti (with video demonstrations and example files)

Step-by-step for MAXQDA (with video demonstrations and example files)

Step-by-step for NVivo (with video demonstrations and example files)

Getting yourself free transcripts to correct and code in ATLAS.ti, NVivo or MAXQDA

This post takes you through the process of automatically creating a full written transcript for an audio or video file and importing it into CAQDAS software to correct and code.

The audio/video could start from Teams or Zoom – or you could have it from another audio or video recorder.

Prerequisites

The following are important prerequisites. You will need:

  1. A media file that is either:
    1. A recording within Microsoft Teams saved to Stream
      OR
    2. A media file you can convert and upload to Microsoft Stream*
      OR
    3. An audio or video recording through an institutionally licensed Zoom account (with subtitling enabled)
      OR
    4. A recording from another system that outputs a subtitle file (that you will then convert to VTT)
  2. Installed version of ATLAS.ti v9 or NVivo or MAXQDA
  3. Installation of the free VLC media player

Process

  1. Create a media file with subtitle file in VTT format
  2. Download the media file and the subtitle file
  3. Clean the subtitle file ready for import.
  4. Import the media file into your CAQDAS package (ATLAS.ti, NVivo, MAXQDA)
  5. Importing the cleaned subtitles as a synchronised transcript in your CAQDAS package
  6. Listen to the media file and read the synchronised transcript in order to begin analysis through
    • Correcting the transcript
    • Labeling speakers
    • Making notes (annotation)
    • Initial coding the transcript

Each step is documented below with descriptions and specific videos illustratrive videos.

I’m hearing exciting rumours that ATLAS.ti will very soon support other formats for subtitle files so steps 3 and 4 will be integrated.

Step One – Create a media file with subtitle file in VTT format

Depending where you start there are a few ways this will work – all have the same end point: a media file and a VTT transcript. There are other routes but these are the main ones.

1a A recording within Microsoft Teams saved to Stream and auto captioned.

Currently if you’re using MS Teams through an insitutional installation then when you record a meeting it is added to Stream.

This post from Microsoft takes you through the process of call recording in Teams – and also notes the changes coming in 2021 to Stream.

You will then need to access your institution’s Microsoft stream server and login and locate your video. There’s support about that from Microsoft here.

This post from Microsoft then takes you through the process of autocaptioning your recording(s)

Note: This is changing in 2021 with educational institutions delayed till July. It’s not entirely clear what will happen and sounds like there are some live discussions with Microsoft over required features. The current expectation is that when it moves over to teams recordings being added to OneDrive there will be a VTT file created and uploaded as well – a process that sounds similar to the one with Zoom calls outlined below but managed via your institutional OneDrive.

1b Upload a file to Microsoft Stream for auto-captioning.

Another option (at the moment at least – though probably only till July 2021 for HE institutions) is to upload a recording from another source to Stream for auto-captioning. To do this you need to upload a video file.

The good news is it’s easy to convert an audio file (or a video) to a stream-compatible video using the free VLC media player (many institutions will make this available on the network or via AppsAnywhere.)

So you’d find your audio or video file and follow guidance here to convert it to a video.

Then you’d upload the video to Stream – detailed here.

(Note: if you need to convert or downsample any videos in step 4 you’ll need to follow the same process)

1c A media file and VTT file from Zoom

Zoom can create captions/transcripts as VTT files – see further details here.

NOTE: you will need to have a Business, Education, or Enterprise license with cloud recording enabled and account owner or admin privileges or to request those from the account admin.

Start your meeting and record to the cloud in the usual way using Zoom (e.g. start the meeting, discuss ethics etc. then start recording when you say you are, record the consent semgnet and any questiosn before starting, edn that recording and start a second on for the content etc.)

When you;ve finsihed the session and the reocrding is processed you’ll receive an email with a link so you can download the video or audio and (in due course) the transcript.

The transcription can take a little while initially you’ll see this – then it will show the transcript to download (so an excuse for one of those slider image compare things 🙂 ):

Once the transcript is completed you can download that file as a VTT. You;re then set for step 2.

1d A recording from another system

There are many other systems that create subtitle files from recordings – for example eStream or Panopto are widely used in higher education and research institutions. There are also a few hacks to download subtitles from YouTube.

If your system creates a different format of subtitle (e.g. SRT) then you ca use an online converter such as Subtitle Tools convert to VTT . Some CAQDAS sofrtware looks set to support direct SRT import soon – watch this space!

What you need is a media file and a VTT file with auto-generated captions that have the corre4ct timestamps.

Step Two – Download the media file and the subtitle file

This bit is subject to change so for now here are links to other resources plus video demonstrations:

1a and 1b – Downloading media and transcript from Stream

First you need to update the video details to set the language to English so a transcript is generated.

See step by step from Microsoft here which details how to update video details and language to generate a subtitle file.

Second you need to download the video and then transcript – see screenshots here.

Both of these are from the … menu:

First download the video, second click to Update video details. On the update screen that then displays you’ll see 3 panes i.e. DetailsPermissions and Options. From the Options pane on the right, you can download the captions file, as shown below:

1c From Zoom

This was covered above, you also get an email when the transcript it done from Zoom. Then download the video/audio and then the transcript. Make sure you take some care with file names and which transcript file is for which video/audio.

Step Three – Clean the subtitle file ready for import using an online tool

Increasing range of options here: either the software will do it (ATLAS.ti now imports VTT or SRT direct on mac and PC, MAXQDA are reportedly looking into this). Or use the online tool my colleague at Lancaster Tim Ellis developed.

Background: Tim created a simple VTT cleanup tool to help support moving transcripts from MS Stream to eStream for teaching and accessibility purchases. He then did some great additional development based on my looking at the requirement across CAQDAS packages for transcript sequencing. The updated page is a VTT cleaner that leaves in the initial timestamp in a form and then the text of the transcript in a text file that can be imported into ATLAS.ti, NVivo or MaxQDA. And he’s put it online for anyone to use, and the code on GitHub if you need to run it locally.

So you can go for option 1 – use his tool online (no data is saved – it is just a converter). Or, if you must do this on your own computer or network for ethics compliance reasons, you can download the code and styles from github, put them on your computer and clean your own transcripts (option 2). And if you’ve got ideas on how to improve it (e.g. removing notes?) then you can do that via GitHub.

Option 1 – Clean the VTT file into CAQDAS ready format online

Go to https://www.lancaster.ac.uk/staff/ellist/vtttocaqdas.html

Upload your VTT file, Click convert, download the text file.

Option 2 – create your own copy of the converter (e.g. if required by REC)

Go to the GitHub page at https://github.com/TimEllis/vttprocessor

Grab the html file and the css file.

Save them to your computer (or a network location) in the same folder.

Double click the vtttocadas.html file to open in a browser.

Use it to convert the files as above.

NOTES:

Yes notes indeed. Note that any NOTES / comments created in the VTT file won’t be cleaned up with thsi script. so you might want to do a quick search for NOTES and remove any lines. These can include notes about confidence of transcription or

Step Four – Import the media file into your CAQDAS package

This varies a little between packages.

ATLAS.ti 9 Windows

There is information on page 11 of the manual and details here about windows supported media formats used by ATLAS.ti

Details of adding documents to a project is in online quick tour documentation here and in the manual on page 24. Details about working with transcripts is on page 10.

ATLAS.ti 9 Mac

Adding documents to ATLAS.ti for Mac is in the online quick tour here

There is further information in the online manual for ATLAS.ti Mac about transcript formats on page 48, about adding media files on page 51. There is also extensive information about working with transcripts on pages 52-54.

NVivo Windows

NVivo Release 1 for windows transcript import is documented at https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/win/Content/files/audio-and-videos.htm

(Unchanged process but slight interface changes from v12 instructions available here )

Note that it is likely you’ll need to install a codec pack for any video files.

NVivo Mac

NVivo Release 1 for Mac audio and media importing is is documented here https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/mac/Content/files/audio-and-videos.htm

(Unchanged process but slight interface changes compared with the NVivo 12 notes on audio and video files here)

It’s usually pretty straightforward – if the media will play in Quicktime it will play in NVivo.

MAXQDA (Win and Mac)

Documented at https://www.maxqda.com/help-mx20/import/inserting-audio-and-video-files-in-a-maxqda-project

Step Five – Import the cleaned subtitles as a synchronised transcript

ATLAS.ti 9 Windows

There is relatively sparse information in the manual on page 10 working with transcripts is on page 10 and currently nothing about editing/updating a transcript to correct it within ATLAS.ti which is a key new opportunity in version 9. So here’s a video instead (and I’ll share the VTT file too so you can practice!)

ATLAS.ti 9 Mac

There is further information in the online manual for ATLAS.ti Mac about transcript formats on page 48, about adding media files on page 51. There is also extensive information about working with transcripts on pages 52-54 – again there is at present no information on editing the transcript and correcting it – so here’s a video:

NVivo Windows

NVivo Release 1 for windows transcript import is documented at https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/win/Content/files/import-audio-video-transcripts.htm

(Unchanged process but slight interface changes from v12 instructions available here )

NVivo Mac

NVivo Release 1 for Mac transcript import is documented here https://help-nv.qsrinternational.com/20/mac/Content/files/import-audio-video-transcripts.htm

MAXQDA (Win and Mac)

Documented at https://www.maxqda.com/help-mx20/import/transcripts-with-timestamps

Step Six – Listen to the media and correct the transcript (and begin initial analysis steps)

So this is where it all pays off!

This process allows you to now use the powerful tools within the CAQDAS package to playback the audio / video (including slowing playback speed,adjusting volume and setting reqwind intervals when you press play/pause + keyboard shortcuts for the play/pause functions) whilst you read the transcript and make corrections. But not only corrections! You can also annotate the transcript and even start coding at this stage.

The blog bit – background, next steps, context

Various additional links and notes:

How and when Stream will be changing https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/stream/streamnew/new-stream

Bits about zoom needing transcripts switched on and how to do this (ie.e. send this link to your institutional zoom administrator see https://support.zoom.us/hc/en-us/articles/115004794983-Using-audio-transcription-for-cloud-recordings- )

A cool free online tool for converting other transcript formats (e.g. from EStream, Panopto or other systems) https://subtitletools.com/

And finally for more information on the VTT format see this excellent page.

Thanks and acknowledgements

This hasn’t happened alone. SO huge thanks to Tim Ellis especially for his work on the VTT cleaner and sharing it via GitHub.

Also to Friedrich Markgraf for some excellent, encouraging and very helpful conversations via Twitter.

And to Amir Michalovich for his enthusiasm and sharing some excel tricks and of course Christina Silver for her draft reading, promoting and general enthusiasm, encouragement and suggestions. And also to Sandra Flynn

3 thoughts on “Auto-Creating, Correcting and Coding Transcripts from Microsoft Teams or Zoom in CAQDAS Software (ATLAS.ti, NVivo or MAXQDA)

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