How To Record Good Quality Audio To Ensure Accurate Transcripts

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How To Record Good Quality Audio To Ensure Accurate Transcripts

Many times while transcribing, it is terribly frustrating not being able to return a superb transcript due to the poor audio quality. When speech is unclear in a recording, an ‘inaudible’ notation tag will be inserted and there is nothing worse for a transcriptionist to return a transcript full of ‘inaudible’ notation tags.

In order to assist all customers in their audio and video recordings, the following list has been compiled to avoid certain common pitfalls.

1. Taking Care Of Any Background Noise

Yes, complete soundproofing is not possible. However as far as possible, try to keep any background noise to the minimum. This includes anything from a noisy air conditioner to a creaky chair. As all locations matter, ask yourself: is there a school or a playground just beside your recording room? Is there a lot of traffic? Airplanes? In short, one needs to observe and analyse the ‘noise’ environment before one begins.

2. Prepare Your Participants

One of the best ideas is to let one’s participants know what to expect.

Do ask them to:

  • Speak slowly but clearly;
  • Refrain from shuffling papers or talking among themselves. 

If someone starts coughing, sneezing or laughing, do ask the others to wait for it to pass. In addition, it is always a huge help when each participant is introduced at the beginning of each interview.

3. The Placement Of The Microphone

If your interview involves many people, place the microphone at equal distance between/from all of them. Moving it around is not recommended unless one is in a large hall or environment and need to bring it closer to a participant sitting far out.

4. Avoid Eating During Recording

One would think that this one would be a no-brainer, since the general rules of public speaking also apply to recording audio (and yet it still happens). Not only can chewing gum or eating make a person speak less clearly, but the noise from wrappers and packaging can be picked up by your recording device. If you’ve ever been on a conference call while someone on the other end was eating lunch or wadding up their trash, you’ll understand how distracting that can be.

5. Avoid "Crosstalk" Conversations

It’s human nature to start talking when we think of something to say, so “crosstalk” is likely to occur, especially in meetings. Background conversations and crosstalk can make it incredibly difficult for a transcriptionist to hear what the main speaker is saying. When conducting an interview or presenting at a conference, make sure everyone is aware that anything that is said will be captured on the recorder, this should help minimize people speaking over one another.

6. Do A Test Recording

Simply record a short clip of audio and play it back to yourself or your group. If you can’t understand what’s being said or can’t hear a certain speaker, a transcriptionist won’t be able to either. If there are issues, make adjustments to the placement of your recording device or ask certain people to speak up. Once you have the optimal recording setup, you can move forward with the full recording.

We trust that the above will render real crystal clear audio recordings, which in turn will render transcripts with no ‘inaudible’ notation tags. Last but not least, we have to give credit to Scribie and Rev in structuring the above list.

Have any questions or queries? Contact us via our ‘Contact Us‘ page, we’d love to hear from you!


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