Recordings should be as clear and as noise free as possible for accuracy and completeness.
Use Quality Equipment
Using a good recorder will reduce your transcription cost by providing clear, easy to hear audio files. Placing the recorder on a rubber pad minimizes the desktop vibration and noise.
Use External Microphones to Increase Volume & Quality
Built in microphones on most digital recorders work well but some do limit volume levels and quality while increasing background noise. To improve quality, use an omnidirectional microphone centrally located between the speakers. Or use a Clip-On microphone whenever possible for each individual participant in a discussion.
Generally Set Audio Volumes to High Placing Microphones as Close to the Sound Source as Possible
Setting the audio levels on your recording devices to high allows the transcriptionist the option to turn his/her volume up to an appropriate listening level. The best rule of thumb however is to pretest each participant, and adjust their proximity to the microphones so that all are picked up clearly and at the same level.
Turn Off Voice Activation Features
Voice activation features shut off the recording when the sound level goes below a certain threshold, often shutting speakers off in the middle of a sentence. Always make sure this feature is off.
Convenient recording to a file directly to your computer. VOIP typically is not as clear as recording in person but it is usually clear enough to transcribe.
Ask Your Subjects To Speak Up
Many people feel self-conscious about being recorded. However, if your participants speak so softly that we cannot hear what is being said, it becomes hard if not impossible to transcribe. Don't Be Afraid To Ask the participants at the beginning of the session to please speak loudly, clearly, and to speak one at a time. Always - Test all participants prior to being recorded for loudness, clarity, and proximity to microphones.
Find a Quiet Place When Recording
Recordings in a noisy environment make it very difficult, if not impossible to transcribe. Classrooms, restaurants, cars, etc., are just some examples of places that will record poorly. It will help to:
- Close any windows or doors.
- Remove food, plates, glasses, candy with wrappers, or anything that can add distortion or unnecessary background noise.
Sound Technician for Large Meetings
A sound technician is often available at the conference center, university, or hotel where you might be intending to record a meeting. This can be very helpful for multi-person recording sessions.
Provide Uncommon Information
You can enhance the accuracy of your transcripts by providing lists of important names, places and technical words for reference.