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6 secrets no one tells you about recording audio for high quality transcripts

audio transcriptionTranscription is often a collaborative process. Now, what exactly do we mean by this?

Essentially, this means that the onus of producing high-quality transcripts lies with both the transcription provider and you, the client.

We all know that a seminal part of the transcription process is the audio quality itself. This means, at the end of the day, the audio quality is responsible for both the accuracy and turnaround time of high-quality transcripts.

So before you ask yourself “How do I get high-quality transcripts for my clips?” you need to first answer the following question:”How do I record high-quality audio for my transcripts?”

Don’t panic though: we’ve done the research for you. As transcription professionals who’ve worked with all kinds of audio files, we feel it’s imperative to share these 6 tips for recording audio clips for your transcription project.

How to record high-quality audio for your transcripts

Did you know that an hour of audio takes about 6-8 hours to be accurately transcribed? In fact, transcription time can increase if the audio quality is not up to the mark.

So, to make sure there are no hiccups the next time you submit your clip for transcription, let’s look at a few tips to record high-quality audio for your next transcription project.

Choose a proper recording environment

The recording environment may not always be under your control, especially if you’re recording a conversation outdoors, for example, in a restaurant. However, it’s imperative that you choose a stable recording environment to root out any issues with audio quality.

We’d like to stress on this point before we move on to the other tips because a stable recording environment goes a long way to contribute to the audio quality.

Essentially, background noise or sudden disruptions that distract speakers and muddle up the speech are some of the things that may hamper the audio quality. So, if you’re recording indoors, intimate people of the recording time frame and when recording outdoors, opt for a background noise free environment as much as possible.

Choose the right microphone

You may find yourself recording either one person or a group, and in such cases, choosing the right microphone is one of the most important factors for producing good quality audio clips. First, opt for an external microphone instead of an inbuilt one. Second, you need to make a concrete choice between unidirectional and omnidirectional microphones.

If your work demands one on one interviews (for example, witness testimonies), it may be better to opt for a unidirectional microphone that concentrates on audio input from a single direction. However, if your line of work requires you to routinely record lectures or business meetings, it may be worth investing in an omnidirectional microphone as these are fine-tuned to accurately capture audio input from multiple directions.

Keep a tab on the pace of speech

Poor audio feedback and background noise are not the only factors that can hamper the overall quality of an audio clip intended for transcription. To record high-quality audio clips for transcription, you also need to keep an eye out and mind the pace of speech.

Now, this is especially important if you’re recording multiple individuals or recording people who have a thick accent. This is because overlapping speech is hard to discern and the speaker may end up not being accurately identified in the transcript. Moreover, overlapping speech, especially when words are spoken quickly, can lead the transcriber to misinterpret what’s being said.

Similar problems can crop up when you’re interviewing and recording someone who has a thick accent and is speaking fast.

Record shorter clips

You may think this is redundant, but hear us out.

Recording shorter clips has a number of benefits. First, if one of the files become corrupt, you still have the rest of the audio with you. Moreover, if you need to re-record a certain portion for clarity or overall quality, it’s easier to pinpoint and go for a do-over.

Second, it’s more convenient to share files in parts with your transcription partner due to size limitations than sharing a single, large file in one go.

Third, fragmented clips significantly speed up the transcription process. Here’s how: multiple transcribers can work on each clip and the clips can then move on to the next stage of the transcription process, that is, proofreading and mandatory quality check.

Lastly, if the files are fragmented, you can also opt for batch deliveries so that you can initiate the review process and provide feedback to your professional transcription provider for the next clips.

Create trial recordings

Consider this: you record an entire testimony and then realize the audio is too faint to be transcribed.

Bummer right? You not only have to opt for a do-over but also figure out what went wrong in the first place. Creating trial recordings well in advance can help you root out such seminal issues that can crop up as bottlenecks and majorly disrupt your workflow.

Opt for a trial transcription  

Most professional transcription providers accept trial transcriptions to ensure that they’re a right fit for the client.

Now, a lot of thought needs to go into choosing a reliable transcription partner: you need to understand which traits make a professional transcription company stand out and ask the right questions to gauge whether they can deliver on your expectations.

And, when the conversation and the research is out of the way, what better way to determine whether they’re a right fit for you than opt for a trial transcription?

Opting for trials does two very important things:

  1. You can get acquainted with their transcription workflow while they get to know your requirements better; and
  2. In case things don’t work out, you can embark on your journey to find a more suitable transcription partner without having made significant investments and commitments.

Final Thoughts

Recording high-quality audio for transcription doesn’t have to be a chore, but it certainly needs a bit of tinkering before you can send it off to a transcription company. So, it’s important to choose the right environment and microphone and it’s definitely worth investing a bit of time to create a few test recordings beforehand. After all, a good source goes a long way to guarantee an accurate transcript.

Is your recording process similar to what we’ve suggested? Let us know if you have any other tips for recording high-quality audio clips for transcription in the comments.