Audio quality is one of the key variables that affect a transcriptionist’s output and cost. Clean audio results in better quality and accurate transcripts, while poor audio quality can make the job of a transcriptionist extremely difficult, leading to longer production time and a higher cost. The good news is that you can improve your audio recordings by following a few simple steps:
1. Conduct a Trial Run
Practice using your device with a friend before your first interview. If possible, do a test run where you will be recording your audio. Speak a few sentences with the subjects, and then check the recording for overall audio quality, sound levels, and microphone positioning.
2. Limit Background Noises
Almost any kind of ambient noise is a quality killer so select a place that is as quiet as possible. Avoid restaurants, cafes, and outdoors, as even casual wind will distort the audio. This means turning off fans or buzzing tube lights, closing windows, and putting away ticking clocks.
3. Anticipate and Prevent Any Unnecessary Distractions
Even if you’re not using your smartphone to record audio, you should always set it to “Do Not Disturb” mode, or silence all incoming notifications altogether, to avoid any unexpected interruptions while you’re recording. You might even consider putting up a “Quiet please. Recording in process” sign on the door where you’re recording to eliminate possible disturbances.
4. Inform Your Participants in Advance
Clue your participant(s) about the audio recording session, and request them to speak one at a time. Gently remind them that even shuffling papers or chitchatting can mask the voice of whoever is speaking.
5. Very, Very Important! Select the Right Kind of Microphone
In there are only two people involved, invest in lapel mics. If it is a group recording session, make sure you have multiple mics or alternatively invest in an omnidirectional mic. The additional cost will pay for itself in lower transcription bills.
6. Avoid Snacks during the Interview
Serve all refreshments before or after your interview takes place. Not only can eating make a person speak less clearly, but snack wrappers, food, and chewing can be picked up easily in audio recordings and drown out the speaker. Do have a glass of water (not plastic bottles) available for everyone.
Ready to start recording better audio? As you can see it isn’t as hard to do as one might think.
Let us know in the comments if you have more tips. We would love to hear them! And if you already have an audio file that needs transcription, you can request a quote here.