One of the biggest problems in any transcription-providing service is the bad sound quality of an audio recording. Sometimes the quality is so bad that it becomes impossible to provide the client with a high-quality transcription. Fortunately, getting a decent audio recording is fairly easy, as long as you prepare in advance.
How to Ensure a Flawless Interview Recording
A good transcription recording should not contain any background noise, multiple individuals speaking over each other, or similar issues. Here are some essential transcription tips and tricks to help you create a recording that will provide an accurate interview transcription.
Check Your Surroundings
The area in which the interview is being conducted is critical. The best conditions would be indoors, where there is minimal outside noise, preferably in a private room with people that are only important for the interview.
Reduce the Background Noise
Making sure your surroundings don’t get in the way of your recording is one of the most important tips for transcribing interviews successfully. Pick a soundproof area for your recording if possible. Turn off or remove any fans, air conditioners, and other equipment. If you're in a bar or a cafe, get away from speakers and windows. If you can, close the doors and windows, and ask the participants to avoid side conversations during the recording.
Get a Digital Voice Recorder
If you are serious about the interview, you should rent or invest in a high-quality voice recorder so you can achieve the best possible audio quality. When picking a digital recorder, ensure the device's features meet your requirements. Check the specifications (storage capacity, supported formats, recording quality settings). If you can't get a recorder, an audio recorder app for your smartphone will do.
Proximity and Microphone Placement
If you're having a one-on-one interview with someone or recording multiple people simultaneously, make sure to place your recording device and extra microphones at an equal distance from all participants for the best sound quality. Make sure you don't move the equipment while recording.
Inform Your Participants
Tell the participants you'll be recording the conversation and ask them to speak one at a time, in a clear voice. Gently remind them that coughing, sneezing, and even shuffling paper can make a speaker's voice inaudible. Remind them to avoid chatting during the recording, so they don't overpower the main conversation.
Read the Instructions
Before conducting the interview, it is important to get to know your equipment. Your recorder might have multiple microphones, or your external microphone might work best at a certain angle. The recorders usually have certain settings that work best in specific situations, so make sure you read the user guides and prepare for each situation specifically because that might impact the quality of the recording and, ultimately, the quality of the transcription.
Prepare Your Questions
The best preparation for an interview is when you have all your questions laid out and ready. In some cases, when transcribing, the interviewer might sound as if they are thinking of the questions on the spot, resulting in pauses, stuttering, and other speech errors that make the transcribing work harder. Remember, preparation is key!
Run a Trial Recording
Once you're all set up, it's best to test your devices and their placement. Turn on your recorder and exchange a few sentences with the participants, then play it back to check the recording quality. This way, you'll be able to move your equipment and remove background noise sources you might have missed.
With all of the tips in mind, you should now be able to record a good quality interview that will be easy to transcribe and will save time both for you and the transcriber. The last thing you can do to ensure flawless results is to use a professional transcription service like GoTranscript!