How to record interviews ready for transcription


At TypeOut we provide transcription services. The majority of the work that we receive is interviews, so I thought (being an ex-sound engineer) I would post a couple of useful tips in order to record clear, high quality audio files.

  • Buy the best quality recording equipment that your budget allows. Although most recording devices are fairly similar these days and tend to pack more features the more you spend, it’s always worth finding out how the microphone performs by reading reviews.
  • Use a new set of batteries or charge the device fully before recording. This may sound obvious but gone are the days of tape machines grinding to a slow halt and the slower the tape moved so did the recording sound more like Darth Vader! Nowadays if the batteries are low, digital distortion occurs in the recording, making the interview unusable.
  • Tell the person you are interviewing that you are recording them. Awareness may help prevent interrupting each other and hopefully assist in making participants speak more clearly.
  • Ensure that you are in a quiet environment if possible. Background noise is a real pain for typists so avoid bars/cafes and generally noisy situations.
  • Try to be as close to the recording device as possible especially if you are in a noisy environment. Proximity to the microphone makes all of the difference!!
  • Place the recording device on a table half way between the interviewer and interviewee – most microphones on modern dictaphones are omni-directional therefore it does not matter which way the device is pointing too much.
  • The recording device should not be in a pocket or held – the microphone will pick up the sound of your clothes moving or the movement of your hands and muffle the sound of the recording.
  • Speak clearly taking into consideration that your work is going to be transcribed.
  • Ensure that only one person speaks at a time by trying not to talk over each other.
  • If you are aware that your accent may be difficult to understand speak more slowly than you normally would.

I hope you have found this information useful and we look forward to receiving crystal clear interviews from now on!!

Comments are closed.