If you need to record an interview with someone, then the likelihood is that you will need it transcribed. This may seem like a simple enough proposition, but there's more to it than simply setting up the recording and handing the sound files over to a transcriptionist. If you've ever received a typed transcript and been less than pleased with the quality, then the fault may not lie with your transcriptionist at all, but with your interview recording equipment, or even how you set it up.
Even if you only have the most basic recording set-up, there are many steps you can take to make sure you get the best out of it, and that your poor typist isn't tearing their hair out in frustration. These seven should be an essential starting point to avoid frustrations:
Don't sit too close to the equipment, but by the same token don't sit too far away - too close will cause distortion, and too far away will pick up ambient sounds in addition to speech.
Make a quick test recording and play it back - could you transcribe it? If not, adjust the microphone placement, and start again.
If you are recording on the move, make sure that your recording equipment is fully charged, or that you have back up batteries with you.
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If you are using a smartphone or tablet to record, consider using a compatible microphone to improve the recording quality.
Make sure you're recording not only in a format that is standard in playback terms, but that you don't compress the file - skimping on file size for the sake of recording time may make it less clear to listen back to.
Aside from location and equipment, observe good interview etiquette - try not to mumble, use filler words, drift off in the middle of sentences, or speak over each other.
Post-interview, make full use of any additional clean up software that may have come with your transcription package. Even the clearest speakers and the best equipment won't leave you with a perfect recording.