International Corpus of English
home home

VOICE Transcription Conventions [2.1]

Transcription conventions in a project like VOICE are of particular importance and need to reconcile three main requirements: 1) they need to capture the reality of spoken interactions as precisely as possible, 2) they need to be replicable, i.e. the scheme must be usable without further explanation by other researchers, 3) they need to make sure that the resulting transcriptions are computer-readable. As with any other transcription conventions, the reconciliation of these different requirements calls for compromise and some aspects of spoken interaction, for example, many of its non-vocal paralinguistic features, necessarily fall outside its scope.

The VOICE transcription conventions, which are the result of our extensive experience in applying these criteria to a wide range of ELF data, are of two kinds: mark-up and spelling. The VOICE mark-up conventions are specifically designed to reflect what seem to be the most significant features of ELF interactions. For instance, the nature of our data prompted us to devise a fairly detailed set of descriptors for pronunciation variations and coinages, for code-switching, for onomatopoeic sounds and for laughter, not only as such but as a prosodic feature of speech.
The VOICE spelling conventions are designed to render the diversity of ELF speech in a standardized way.

These transcription conventions are, of course, subject to revision as our research proceeds. They are made available here with a view to facilitating the understanding of VOICE transcripts. However, other ELF researchers are invited to make use of the conventions for their own research.

The recommended citation for the VOICE Transcription Conventions is:

VOICE Project. 2007. VOICE Transcription Conventions [2.1]. (date of last access).
Alternatively, you may refer to the mark-up and spelling conventions separately:
VOICE Project. 2007. "Mark-up conventions". VOICE Transcription Conventions [2.1]. (date of last access).
VOICE Project. 2007. "Spelling conventions". VOICE Transcription Conventions [2.1]. (date of last access).

Feedback and suggestions are always welcome, and we would be glad to hear of any ELF researchers who are using the VOICE transcription conventions for their own research, and to learn whether you are finding them useful. Please do take a moment to contact us.