Conversation analysis uses a transcription system that not only records all the words accurately, including errors and hesitations, but also pauses and overlaps in conversations such as when two people are talking at once. The transcription convention has evolved over the years but
from its inception in the work of Harvey Sacks in the 1960s, this development has mainly been the work of Gail Jefferson, whose sensitivity and precision in the rendering of interactional details seems to be unmatched by anyone in the field. (Have, undated)
Transcriptions of recordings are a convenient form to represent the recorded material in written form. They have two advantages: first they force the researcher to attend to details of the interaction that would escape the ordinary listener. Second, transcripts provide the researcher with a quick access to a wide range of interactional episodes, which can be inspected for comparative purposes (Have, undated). However, they are not a substitute for the recording (Psathas & Anderson, 1990).