We can tell you from experience: there’s nothing worse for good interview transcription than a bad interview recording. Scratchy audio. Lots of background noise. People talking over one another. Ultimately, these factors end up costing the client money AND time.

Like most transcription companies, Elite Office Solutions quotes interview transcription projects based on the quality of the recording itself. This is because a bad interview recording takes longer if our transcriptionists have to struggle to hear what’s being said.

It’s worth noting too that if recordings are extremely bad, there is more chance that a transcriptionist won’t be able to make out some words at all. Poor interview recording, then, leads to more blanks in your transcript. That might sound obvious, but often people don’t think about it beforehand!

That’s why it’s so important to get the highest quality interview recording possible. We encourage clients to contact us so we can help improve their audio. Better audio makes it faster for our transcriptionists leading to fewer blanks and lower interview transcription costs. It’s a win-win all around.

Generally speaking, there are things you can do to improve your interview recording and the whole interview transcription process. It comes down to two things:

  • Clarity
  • Quality

Here are seven tips for interview recordings that will improve both, and ultimately save you time and money in the long run.

Before the Recording Event

  1. Invest in Good Recording Equipment – A good digital recorder is better than relying on a cell phone. You can get decent digital recorders on Amazon for under $100. If you absolutely must use a cell phone, get a microphone to improve quality, especially in larger rooms. (Smartphone microphones are also available on Amazon.)
  2. Record at High Quality (HQ) – Most of today’s digital recordings have options to record at high or low quality. Interview recording at HQ takes more digital memory, but provides superior audio.
  3. Find a Good Recording Space and Reduce Background Noise – Carpeted rooms work best. Use interior rooms if possible, but if you must be in a room with a window, make sure it’s closed. Try to avoid fans, buzzing lights, and other background noise when possible. Close the door and post a sign on it so nobody walks in during recording.
  4. Test Your Equipment – If you haven’t used the equipment or space before, test it with normal conversation before the actual event. If you are recording a presentation, have someone speak where the speaker will be standing, and move the recorder around to find the best spot. Try out any features including quality, settings selection (large room group vs. small room one person, etc.), and noise cut, etc. Have extra batteries on hand as well!

During and After the Recording Event

  1. Get Names – If you are in a group situation such as a focus group, go around the room and ask all participants to give their full names so that the transcriptionist can match names with voices. If spelling is important in the final text, ask them to spell their names as well.
  2. Get People to Speak One at a Time – Ask groups not to speak over one another during the interview recording. Make sure you (or your moderator) keep tight control, and circle back if important points were talked over. Also, ask all participants to switch off their phones.
  3. Choose the Right Transcription Company – The best transcription companies are the ones that provide the best value: accurate transcripts at a great price. Low-cost options may seem like a good deal, but often your audio files are sent overseas where English may not be their first language. This leads to spelling errors, misinterpretations (such as “St. Croy” instead of “St. Croix”), and outright blanks in your transcription. That means more editing for you – and perhaps even going back to the recording yourself. How much have you really saved on your interview transcription if you need to edit and fill in blanks all day?

A Final Word About Interview Recording

Your approach to interview recording will change depending on the event:

That’s why testing your equipment in Step 4 is so important. It allows you to optimize the environment and your equipment for the best quality audio.

Contact Elite before your next interview recording. We will give you advice based on your specific situation that will save you money on your interview transcription and result in better transcripts.