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How to record audio for transcription

Michael Gallagher
Michael Gallagher
Posted in Zoom Apr 13 · 16 Apr, 2018
How to record audio for transcription

Audio transcription is highly dependent on audio quality. The top contributors to poor audio quality files include noisy backgrounds, low volume, and overlapping speech. 

Most transcription services charge their clients higher rates for poor-quality audio recordings. Luckily, this article will help you learn how to record audio for transcription and make every dollar count.

8 Helpful Tips for Great Audio Transcription Recording

High-quality audio is one of the best ways to ensure the transcriptionist will work quickly and accurately. The section below highlights eight tips to help you learn how to improve audio quality of a recording.  

1. Invest in High-Quality Audio-Recording Equipment

We recommend investing in a good-quality microphone or recorder if you often need transcription services for your audio files. The reason behind this is straightforward: a premium recording device is guaranteed to give you better audio quality. 

Other external factors that will influence your choice of equipment are the location of the interviews and the position of the interviewee. If you plan to conduct the interview outdoors, then your priority should be on noise cancellation and elimination of background noise. If your guests will be seated on opposite ends of a table, a bidirectional or omnidirectional microphone is your best bet! 

2. Limit Background Noise

When preparing for the interview, it’s essential to consider the environment it will take place. Prioritizing this can be the difference between a lengthy transcription and a short, straightforward one, especially if you’ll be using your phone.

If the interview or discussion is in a public place, choose one without background music and preferably an area with fewer people around to minimize interruptions and distractions.

On the other hand, you can create a controlled environment for the interview by choosing an enclosed area like your office or home. For this option, you can unplug all machines that aren’t in use during the time of recording, e.g., computers, printers, and scanners. You also can turn off air conditioners and ventilators and close windows and doors.

Typing and notification sounds can also interfere with the audio recording. Place the microphone away if you need your computer for the recording session. Although it may be hard to hear in person, you’ll be surprised at how much noise a computer fan makes, especially when the machine is in use.

3. Place the Microphone in the Right Position

When preparing for an interview or recording session, it’s imperative to have your questions and leading points ready. But one thing that could ruin your research and preparation is the microphone placement. 

Placing the microphone closer to the interviewee will guarantee that you catch every word or response they give. It’s also equally important not to interrupt your guests as they speak. This will help eliminate crosstalk, which is difficult to transcribe and can lead to many crucial details left unheard, thus not transcribed.

4. Conduct a Trial Run

There’s a good reason why performers around the world have rehearsal sessions before getting on stage. Testing your equipment before the recording session can help you catch and prevent avoidable technical issues. Doing this can also help to determine the quality of the sound and find the best spot for placing the microphone or device.

If you’re handling new equipment, rehearsals will allow you to understand how each device works. You can practice starting, stopping, and orientating the device easily, so the recording session runs smoothly. You should also know how to transfer files from the device after recording so you don’t lose or distort them.

5. Get a Digital Voice Recorder

Digital voice recorders have become indispensable tools for many businesses today, and there are different options in the market to suit your needs. Some of their variations include the storage medium, microphone type compatibility, and, of course, the audio quality. But the most crucial is ensuring the recording device gives you clear sound quality.

Once the recording session is over, you can transfer the digital file to another electronic device, play it back on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, create copies, and share them with the team.


6. Inform All Participants in Advance

Setting an agenda and sharing it with the participants is essential in ensuring your interview is successful. Even though the interviewee is an expert in their field, they will provide you with a more detailed collection of information if they prepare in advance. This will also likely reduce common speech fillers like ‘um’ and ‘er,’ stammers, and hesitations, creating a smooth-flowing recording session.

7. Speak Clearly

While you can always set the volume high on your recording device, it’s equally essential to be audible. Ask your questions clearly so the interviewee can also respond accurately. Speak reasonably audibly so your guests can hear you without asking you to repeat. If you have to strain to listen to your guest’s response, so will the transcriptionist. 

8. Outsource Your Digital Audio Transcription

As you did with the rehearsal session, it is also helpful to test the quality of your audio files. The best approach is to record a short audio file and share it with your transcription service provider. Ask them for detailed feedback on how to improve; your skills will improve dramatically by the time the session begins.

Once you have your recording, make an order with a professional transcription service, and you’ll get a high-quality transcript back quickly. It’s fast, cost-efficient, and saves precious time you can use to focus on more important things!