Grading guidelines: Transcription mini project

Transcription mini projects have three sub-parts, as follows: (1) Annotation and reflection submission, (2) proposal of mini research question, and (3) flash presentation of findings.

Annotation and reflection submission

You will be asked to submit new annotations on your converation clips four times during this course. Each time you submit annotations, you should also submit a short paragraph reflecting on your experience. Each of the four submissions are worth up to three points.


All annotation will be completed in ELAN. For each of the four submissions, the actual annotations you create will make up 2.5 of the 3 possible points for the assignment. Points will be assigned as follows:

Assignment 1: Diarization

As we will cover in class, diarization is the process of finding stretches of talk and assigning them to different talkers.

Full points for diarization will be given when:

  1. All hearable/observable talk is demarcated and assigned to a talker
  2. Utterance boundaries are placed with high precision at talk boundaries
  3. Utterances do not include pauses longer than 300 msec

Assignment 2: Transcription (first pass)

Transcription is the process of orthographically annotating what is said.

Full points for first-pass transcription will be given when:

  1. All interpretable talk is transcribed orthographically
  2. All non-interpretable talk is indicated with ‘xxx’

Assignment 3: Transcription (second pass)

Second-pass transcription is meant for making corrections and additions to the original transcription, and will also involve the addition of several types of paralinguistic information.

Full points for second-pass transcription will be given when:

  1. Non-standard language is appropriately marked using minCHAT conventions (e.g., <this one> [=! whispers], <prolly> [: probably])
  2. Non-linguistic communicative cues are diarized and annotated (e.g., &=laughs)
  3. Errors in spelling and transcription formatting are corrected

Assignment 4: Student’s choice

In the fourth annotation round, students will add information of their choice, in support of a mini research question they have proposed.

Full points for this annotation round will be given when:

  1. The new annotations are comprehensively added to the conversation clips
  2. The student provides instructions for annotation that are clear enough for Dr. Casillas to replicate some of the annotations independently.

NOTE: She will test this second criterion by reading your instructions and doing some annotation before she looks at your annotations, so be sure the instructions are very clear.


Each time you submit new annotations, you should add a paragraph with your reflections about the annotation process. This should be very short, ~200–300 words (max 500), answering the prompts below, as appropriate. In each of the four submissions, the reflection will make up 0.5 of the 3 possible points.

There are no correct answers here; the full 0.5 point will be given for responses to the questions that provide at least one specific link between something learned in class and something the student experienced during annotation.

Assignment 1: Diarization

In what ways did the organization of turns in your clips align with the ideas we have covered so far? In what ways did it deviate from expectations?

Assignment 2: Transcription (first pass)

What does transcription miss about interaction? What would you add to basic orthographic transcription to enrich your data? (Be practical.)

Assignment 3: Transcription (second pass)

What did you neglect to notice when you first transcribed the clips? What do you think you would discover if you made a further correctional pass?

Assignment 4: Student’s choice

How did your added annotations end up satisfying/not satisfying your research question? What’s still missing?

Proposal of mini research question

Before adding the annotation of their choice to the conversation clips (i.e., Assignment 4), students should first give a brief description of what they want to add and why. This proposal for additional annotation should be 300–500 words.

Full credit for the proposal (2 points) will be given when:

  1. The proposal is 300–500 words
  2. The new annotations proposed are clearly defined
  3. A specific research question is asked
  4. It is clear how the new annotations can help answer the specific research question
  5. At least one forseeable issue or question relating to the proposed analysis is raised

Flash presentation of findings

Students will present the findings of their additional annotation analysis (i.e., Assignment 4) to their fellow classmates.

Full credit (1 point) for the presentation will be given when all of the following criteria are met:

  1. The presentation is between 2 and 3 minutes long (maximum!!)
  2. Why and how the annotations were added is clearly explained, with reference to class material as appropriate
  3. The findings are clearly presented, with reference to class material as appropriate
  4. At least one weakness and one strength or one follow-up of the mini study are pointed out

Presenting all this information in 2–3 minutes will be challenging; procrastination is not advised! ;)

Late annotation assignments?

Late annotations and reflections can be submitted within a week of the original due date with a 0.5 point penalty. Late submission of the proposal and flash presentation must be negotiated with Dr. Casillas.