Uganda Days 37 & 38: On the Joys of Transcription


Yesterday had little in the way of excitement, which is why I opted out of giving it its own blog post. Work was business as usual, sitting in the boardroom, researching and editing and doing all those intern-y things I'm here to do. We did shake things up a bit for lunch instead of going to La Patisserie. Now that the election report launch was over, my supervisor was slightly less busy, enough to be able to go out for lunch again. So we snagged a ride with her to Café Roma, which we'd been to once before, way back in our first or second week.  Really good pizza. I tried to save half to bring home for dinner, but I was starving and ended up taking only two slices to go, which I then proceeded to eat an hour later at the office. We also stopped at a bakery and I got a croissant, which of course was also gone shortly after the pizza.

I also had to do a grocery run yesterday. Not for much, admittedly—you know, because I can't cook—but I'd already put it off as long as I could. I think this is still the biggest inconvenience of living where I do. There is no big supermarket (like there seems to be in every other neighbourhood) and the small one that we do have is a bit of a trek from my place. Not terrible, but the last thing I want to do at 6 in the evening after I walk home from work is turn around and hike over to the supermarket. But there was no avoiding it, so I did just that. I do make the most of it, mind you—I have to walk right by a certain café, so I inevitably pick up a little treat for the evening. By that point yesterday I was exhausted and I had a headache, so I took home some dinner as well, to save myself from having to make it.


Today was little more interesting at work. Someone from the APCOF was in town; this was the person who presented at that pre-trial detention launch Aliana went to on Monday. She was kind enough to stop by our office in the morning, and my supervisor and I interviewed her for our report (Aliana wasn't in today). Our first interview! To be honest, I didn't say much—I have literally no experience interviewing, so I let my supervisor take the lead on this one. I do have a better idea of how these things go now, though. Anyway, our interviewee had plenty to say and it was quite an interesting discussion.

The slightly less exciting part was the task of transcribing the interview, which was my job for the remainder of the day. And yes, it took that long, and I still need to spell-check and edit the whole thing tomorrow. It's astonishing how much can be said in the span of an hour. Or maybe she was just a fast talker. Whatever the reason, I ended up with 14 pages, single-spaced. And transcribing isn't just a matter of playing the recording and typing it up; I had to slow it down, and even then you can't do more than a line or two without having to stop the recording, either to catch up with it or to rewind it because you've missed something. Then there are the bits when the recording is muffled or unclear, or people talk over each other, and you have to listen to it a dozen times before you piece together what's being said (sometimes failing altogether).

It was a tedious process, but on the positive side, it did pass the time rather quickly. Usually the day just crawls by, but I was so engrossed in this process, and concentrating so hard, that the hours slipped past largely unnoticed.

And now I'm home. I've got to go and fill in three days' worth of reporting, since I've been forgetting about it all week. What fun!

That's it for me. Happy Wednesday!