Quality transcripts begin high quality audio recordings. Below you will find suggestions that will improve the quality of your recordings thus improve the quality of your transcript.
1. Invest in a quality microphone/recording device.
• A good mic will give you good quality audio. Be sure to purchase a recording device with an omnidirectional microphone which records sound from all directions in lieu of a unidirectional microphone.
• When recording a presentation, another option is to give the speaker a lapel microphone.
2. Properly set up/test the recording device.
• Test your chosen recording device prior to use. Talk at a normal level while moving around the meeting space at varying distances from the microphone in order to help you understand the capabilities of the microphone in use.
• Set up your recording device to an appropriate bit rate and sample rate. To keep file sizes at a minimum while ensuring good quality voice recording, we recommend 64kbps bit rate and 22,050 sample rate for MP3 recordings.
3. Maintain a consistent environment with no background noise.
• Record your presentation/interview in a quiet place. You want to get rid of any noise you have control over. Ask people around you to be quiet.
• Background noise will likely interfere with the recording. Close windows to avoid street noises.
• Place your microphone/recording device away from your computer and/or office machines, fans or air conditioning units. You might not realize it, but your computer makes a lot of fan noise keeping the PC cooled.
• Do not record your interview in a restaurant. Restaurants are not quiet enough. Cars, other people, coughs or paper shuffling will be louder than you and/or your subject, even in a small group.
4. Hold the recorder or microphone as close to the speaker as possible.
• For presentations, business meetings, focus groups, etc., record directly off the microphone.
• If you have an audio visual technician, have them make a recording of your presentation.
• For interviews, place the recorder closer to the person you are interviewing than to the interviewer.
• For focus group discussion or a roundtable business meeting, use an omnidirectional microphone.
• Ask speakers to speak into the microphone, wait their turn, not talking over one another and enunciate loud and clear. Speaking for a recording requires considerably more attention than everyday conversation.
5. Speaker identification
• Ask all participants to announce and spell their names at the beginning of the recording so that speakers can be properly identified in the transcribed report.
• For groups of more than two people, it can be very difficult to identify speakers correctly. If you want the transcriptionist to match a name with a voice, the speaker must identify themselves each time they speak. A speaker identification log submitted with the recording would also be helpful.
• If your presentation contains industry-specific terminology and/or acronyms, please provide a terminology list whenever possible in order to improve the accuracy of the transcript.