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How to properly record the material for transcription

Using the forementioned programs is a piece of cake. After installing the program all you have to do is choose the file which you want to convert and click ‘Convert’. It usually takes a little while, a bit longer with larger files. The converted files will automatically be saved in the same folder as the source file. The files will be perfect for sending and storing.
We encourage you to use those programs, for they will not only help you save uploading time, but you will also receive your transcription faster.

We realize how important for our clients is to receive an accurate transcription. Often the document we create will be the basis for future reaserch or publications. We therefore try hard to make the best of even the most inaudible parts of the recording. We know that the file we get from our clients is sometimes the only possible way of recording a research or an interview, therefore we would like our clients to be assured that the file they own is 100% comprehensible.

To ensure good quality of the recorded lecture or training we recommend using external microphones. Sometimes we are asked to transcribe a movie that had been recorded with a camara standing at the end of the room. In such cases the recorded sound bounces back and gets distorted, because of all the outside noises, for example if the recording device stands next to an open window. To avoid such unpleasant complications you can get a camera with a jack for an external microphone. Fortunatelly, it is not too expensive, you can find such cameras that will cost 1000 PLN. Be careful though, there are cameras that cost 5000 PLN and do not have the mic jack.

When you already equip yourself with such a camera, it is worth buying a microphone for the person who you wish to record. The best microphone to put on a person is the so-called ‘lapel microphone’, which is one that you can attach to a tie or a shirt. It’s not noticeable, it allows the person to move freely and to use gestures, at the same time its proximity to the speaker’s mouth allows it to record what is being said without any disturbances. It is best to get a set of two wireless microphones: one for the speaker and one for the audience to ask questions.

Lapel microphone with a clip to attach (Source: www.akg.com)

If you don’t own any recording equipment and you wish to record in a more private environment, for example while dictating a book, or conducting a small training, which you do not plan to video record, you can even use your mobile phone. We do not recommend it, though, as the microphones in mobiles have small range. We can compensate for that by making sure the background noises are reduced. The best option would be to choose a Smartphone into which you are able to upload various applications. Luckily, those phones are not rarity anymore. The popular iPhone with Android system or even older versions of Nokia can be turned into dictaphones. If you own one of those you know that they allow you to record sound without the need to download any additional software. It is not enough to record good quality sound, though.

It is worth getting a program which sets the default file quality to 16bit/44.1 kHz. That quality is equivalent to the quality of sound on CDs and you can be sure that the file will not be overcompressed and will be free from noises. To be clear: nothing can replace a good old dictaphone.

If you’re using a phone with the Android system, I can recommend using Tape-a-Talk Voice Recorder and HI-Q Mp3 Voice Recorder applications available in Google Play. Those are not for free, but you can test them for free and see which one better satisfies your requirenments.

If you’re using an iPhone, I recommend Smart Recorder Pro or Mega Recorder. Both are available in App Store.

You have to remember that your phone has limited memory capacity. If you plan on recording longer material, it may result in receiving a message announcing the lack of free space on your phone.

It is worth rememebering the golden rule: the closer to the speaker you place the mincrophone, the better sound quality you’ll get, which also impacts the quality of the transcript. It is also worth investing in equipment that is strictly dedicated to recording sound. It can be more expensive than getting a multi-functional device, but this single-time purchase will soon be greatly compensated with the lack of unpleasant surprises while you record.

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