Mary Ruth Clarke



Overqualified transcriptionist with over 20 years experience with flying fingers (90+ words per minute)

fingers typing
Areas of Expertise
  • Focus groups/one-on-ones (recorded or on site)
  • Verbatim with time code for Audio/Visual editing
  • Lectures
  • Meetings (recorded or on site)
Types of Transcripts
  • Verbatim: Every word, every "um" and "ah"
  • Near-Verbatim: More readable, lacking the superfluous, getting the good stuff
  • Multiple Speakers with name identification (DVD required)
  • Time coded
Additional Offerings
  • Concise summaries of qualitative interviews/groups
  • In-depth reports (ghost-written to your specifications)
  • Collaborative writing
  • Proofreading, editing
Formats and Technology
  • Digital: CD, DVD, internet downloads
  • All Standard: .WAV, MP3, .VOX, Olympus DSS formats and more
  • Tapes: Standard, Micro, VHS
  • I use a 120-watt amp with a 10-band Teac graphic equalizer to enhance hearing.
  • Near Verbatim: $100/hour of recorded interview/session
  • Verbatim: $150/hour of recorded interview/session
  • Add ons to price: Bad recordings which require numerous playbacks that get me grumpy
Turn Around Time
  • Two 2-hour focus groups per day. (Up to 4 hours of recording per day)
  • I'll feed the transcripts to you as I finish them
  • First come first serve basis, so book early!
Confidentiality Policy
  • I'd be happy to sign any confidentiality agreement
  • I'm a one-person operation, no one else hears the interviews or sees the transcripts. Except the cats

Happy to give references upon request

Recording Tips & Tricks

Over the years, I've heard – and not heard – quite a lot. Allow me to share some tips and tricks for terrific transcripts.

The recordings provided by facilities are often of poor quality (and sometimes they forget to turn the recorder on!) I've been encouraging my moderators to take matters into their own hands and bring one of the new digital voice recorders, such as the Olympus DS-40 or Edirol R-09, which have excellent recording capabilities. Place it in the center of the table, perhaps more towards the respondents and less towards yourself, because I never have trouble hearing you moderators!

Moderators who kindly and repeatedly remind respondents not to all talk at once get the Mary Ruth Clarke MVP Award. It really, really does make a difference.

Attention Ethnographers: The recorder is an equal opportunity documenter and doesn't know that dishwashers, television sets, and panting dogs are background noise. It records all sound equally.

If you use the Voice Activation feature on a recorder, i.e., the recorder stops every time a voice stops speaking and starts up again when it begins, it is most likely that the interview will be lost. Don't touch that VA button!

If a respondent is a soft talker, repeating what he/she said is a great way to not lose their opinion. (And sometimes they get the hint and talk louder!)

Background and Experience

I have been freelancing in the worlds of qualitative research and strategic ideation for 22 years. The majority of my career has been servicing independent and in-house moderators and facilitators. I have ghost-written reports and ethnographic summaries. I am a playwright/actor and have taught acting/improv workshops to QRCA moderators, operated as a contrarian-respondent plant in a series of focus groups for a political party, named a theme park, a restaurant, a new electronic device, and my own screenplay: Meet The Parents.

I will be happy to supply references upon request.