A Survival Guide to Transcription and Low Quality Recordings

March 7, 2014 Samantha

We have plenty of guidance on our website when it comes to making good audio and video recordings. But what if it’s too late and you already have a stinker of a recording? Perhaps you didn’t do your research beforehand and have now got a very low quality audio file that needs to be transcribed or perhaps you have followed all instructions and purchased all the recommended equipment, but due to influences beyond your control, you have been left with a badly recorded, low quality audio recording. What now?

A survival Guide to transcribing low quality audio files

Sending low quality files can cause problems

Here at Transcription City, we have written many articles, blogs and pages about the perils of transcribing low quality recordings. It’s a sad fact that no matter how skilled and experienced your transcriptionist is, when a sound file is badly recorded, the standard of your subsequent transcript will never be as high as one produced from a clear audio or video recording. However, we do have a few tips to help improve a bad situation and so we have outlined them below.

Audio Clean Up Services

Audio or video recordings that have slight feedback or moderately bad sound quality, can be improved by an audio clean up (noticed I said ‘improved’). An audio clean up will not by any means create a good recording, but may help the typist to pick up a few extra words that were inaudible before the clean up was carried out.

Edited Transcription Services

Although you may not realise it, whenever you have a conversation or listen to speech, your wonderful brain will fill in gaps or dismiss any words that you didn’t hear to produce the basic outline of the dialogue. When you consider this, you can imagine that transcribing a file in a verbatim transcription style can be a challenge with a very clear file, so practically impossible to do accurately with a badly recorded audio or video file. With this in mind, one of the best and most accurate methods to get an account of what has been said is to request an edited transcript. In an edited transcription the typist can use his or her intuition to fill in the blanks, rather than to try to type verbatim, which will most likely mean that the final transcript makes very little sense. Edited transcripts are also very reader friendly.

Provide As Much Information about the Recording as Possible

Sharing all relevant information with your selected transcription company with regards to speakers names, company names, technical terms and useful resources, not only reduces the amount of research the typist has to do, but also helps them gain a better understanding of the dialogue and therefore aids listening and transcript accuracy. This is especially important with low quality video and audio recordings.

Consider Minutes or Note Taking Services

If your recording is very bad, sometimes is not practical or possible to try to transcribe what has been said in a sentence by sentence format. In this instance, the best option may be to get minutes or notes of what can be heard.

Here at Transcription City, we are able to transcribe a variety of audio and video files and will always do our best when it comes to low quality recordings. By following the advice above you will avoid a transcript that is littered with unclears and of very little use to anyone.

If you would like more information about the transcription services we offer or would like a quote on any of our virtual assistant or transcription services, please get in touch! We are always happy to help!

,

Samantha

Transcriptionist and Virtual Assistant.

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