VoType: Quality, thoughtful transcription

VoType Transcription Tips
and Best Practices

As with any endeavor, there are some "tricks of the trade" in transcripition that can make the process go more smoothly and quickly and save time, money, and aggravation. Here are some of the things I've learned and noticed over the years that can help the process along. (And if you have a tip or suggestion you'd like to share, send it along.

Avoid using proprietary file formats

If your digital recorder only records in proprietary formats, convert the files to standard formats like .mp3 or .wav before sending them to your transcriptionist. It will save time, money, and frustration.


Check the file size

Digital files can be very large. Check the file size (in bytes) before trying to transfer the file to your transcriptionist. Smaller files save time in upload and transfer and are easier to store and manage.


Repeat key phrases

When interviewing people who may be difficult to understand, think about incorporating key phrases of their answers in your questions or even repeating things that they have said to you in order to help clarify these responses.


Glossaries are golden

Any supplementary materials that you can send -- a conference agenda, a glossary, perhaps a description of the speakers if they are on video and unidentified will greatly help to create a more complete and accurate transcript for you.



When recording groups in audio only situations, please ask people to identify themselves before speaking.


Background noise hurts

Carefully consider your interview setting. Background noise can seriously affect the quality of your recording and your subsequent transcript. If you're recording in a noisy environment, use a lavalier or directional microphone to help limit the ambient noise.


Sound check.

Before recording, consider your environment. Are the microphones well positioned? What is the ambient noise level of the place where you've chosen to speak? These decisions can greatly affect the quality of your recording and the level of difficulty of the transcription.


Mic your subjects

When interviewing in an open setting, like a restaurant or outdoor patio, built in microphones record a lot of noise making your subjects difficult to hear and understand. Get a lavalier microphone and clip it to your subject to provide the best quality audio which will help produce a better quality transcript.


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