A good transcription starts with a good audio recording. Our transcriptionists are pros, but even they can’t work miracles with all audio. Many times there are recording factors in your control that will give you clearer audio and hence a better transcript.
1. Record in a quiet environment, free of ambient noise
- Avoid public places like coffee shops and the outdoors.
- Choose a location where you are unlikely to be disturbed.
- Close all doors and windows in your room.
- Dampen sound where possible. Carpeted rooms reduce echo and eliminate furniture scraping on the floor.
- Avoid or turn off noisy electronics such as clocks, “buzzing” fluorescent lights.
2. Pay attention to your microphone
- Place the microphone close to the speaker(s).
- Place the microphone away from sources of noise such as projector fans and computer keyboards.
- Use a good microphone to reduce static, “popping”, and background noise.
- Use the right style of microphone. Omni-directional mics record sound from all directions, while unidirectional mics record from only one direction.
- Use the right tool for the job. For example, try an app for recording phone calls instead of placing a tape recorder next to a speakerphone.
3. Pay attention to speech diction
- Speak slowly, clearly, and loudly.
- Enunciate your words. Try to avoid slurring, stuttering, and swallowing the ends of phrases.
- Ask speakers with strong non-US accents to especially slow down and enunciate
4. Manage groups effectively
- Clearly state names whenever possible to keep track of who is speaking.
- Speak one at a time.
- Avoid interrupting and talking over one another.
- Make sure you have enough mics to clearly pick up every speaker.
5. Test your setup
- Make a test recording and listen to it. The speech should sound clear.
- Experiment with recording equipment and environments, to find which work best for you.
If possible, we highly recommend providing speaker names and glossary terms at checkout as these are very helpful to our transcription team, especially with more challenging files.