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Recording for Transcription - Top Ten Tips

This article provides ten tips for getting the best quality recording for audio transcription. These tips aim to ensure that you get the best quality results, which will lead to a good quality transcript, and potentially a more affordable transcription service: the better the recording quality, the less time it will take to transcribe.

1. Digital recordings are better quality than tape recordings – I’m not aware of any exceptions to this rule!

2. If you are dictating a Dictaphone style microphone (inside the recorder) is fine, but otherwise an external microphone is better, although modern machines are becoming better.

3. Whether dictation, interview or group do make sure that if at all possible you are in a quiet environment

4. Beware of air conditioning! The ‘hum’ from air conditioning units can be picked up on recordings and seriously reduce the quality of your recording – thus increasing background noise an increasing time taken to transcribe.

5. With analogue recorders in particular, if using an external microphone place it as far away as possible from the recorder as it can pick up on the machine’s fan and drastically reduce the recording quality

6. In interviews if you’re worried the microphone might not pick up both interviewer and interviewees, always put it closer to the interviewee. You will be able to fill in your own voice later if it’s inaudible on the recording!

7. When recording over the telephone don’t just hold the microphone up to the earpiece and hope that will do. It really, really won’t! There are cheaply and easily available telephone recording devices that do a very good job!

8. If recording more than two or three voices e.g. a focus group, do have more than one external microphone. With just one you are likely to fail to pick up some of the voices clearly.

9. If making a digital recording do make sure you use a recorder that has a facility for transferring files to a PC. Some, called ‘note takers’, do not have the facility. You will have to send the entire machine to your transcriptionistFeature Articles, which obviously has a number of disadvantages!

10. Check your recorder is recording before proceeding with the recording!

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Penguin Transcription is part of Penguin Office Services,, and offers an affordable transcription service by tailoring each quote to the exact requirements of the client. The more information the client can provide us with, and the better the quality of the recording for transcription, the more affordable the transcription service will be. Why not visit our site,, and fill in an enquiry form to receive a quote for your transcription requirements.

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