Avoid Higher Transcription Fees: 5 Steps for Quality Audio

42275285_sTranscribing an interview with a lot of background noise or someone who mumbles is not easy. As a transcription service, we’re happy to do it, but it’s going to cost a little more.

Save our time and your money by recording it right. Even if you’re not having a meeting transcribed, quality audio will make later listeners much happier and more likely to pay attention to the content, not the annoying buzz in the background.

Here are five steps to make your recording as clear as possible:

1. Start with decent recording equipment.

○ These days you can use a smartphone to record audio. That’s fine if just one person is speaking and he/she is speaking close to the phone. If you’re recording a meeting of more than one person, use a computer.

○ Use a microphone. A unidirectional microphone is best; it records audio from just one direction. A lavalier microphone is small and can be clipped to your shirt, which works very well. Ideally, each participant will have a microphone, but in a pinch, you can pass the microphone back and forth. If you have a circle of people you may be able to use a multi-directional microphone placed in the center of the table — assuming it doesn’t pick up too much background noise.

2. Choose a good location. Choose a private conference room or office to avoid other voices. Hang “do not disturb” signs on the door to avoid interruption.

3. Reduce noise. Background noise makes it much harder for a transcriber or listener to understand what people are saying. Unplug machines, turn off fans, and place the microphone away from your humming computer. If you are in a larger room, you may hear a slight echo. Consider hanging materials on the walls or bringing in extra furniture to dampen sound.

4. Speak clearly. Remind participants that this is being recorded and ask everyone to speak up. If your event is long, you might have someone make a sign ahead of time that says “Louder.” He or she can hold up the sign as needed to remind people. It also helps if speakers precede their comments with their name, at least the first few times.

5. Backup your audio file. Your audio really does no good if it disappears. Be sure to make a copy somewhere.

With a little forethought and preparation, you can make your recordings much clearer, saving you money!