Always use quality recording equipment for your dictations, interviews and focus groups
If you are a busy, overworked student then it makes perfect sense to use a transcription service to help with any dictations, interviews or focus groups that you have recorded for your dissertation. However, one of the main things that you should think about before making any kind of recording is whether the equipment that you are using is going to adequately pick up everything that needs to be heard. Choosing the wrong equipment can mean the difference between a low costing, perfectly accurate transcript or an expensive transcript with large chunks missing. Many people will make a recording without considering that for it to be transcribed accurately, it needs to have a sound quality that is relatively good so that the speaker or speakers can be heard clearly. Although many transcription services will have various gadgets and software that can improve the sound quality of audio files, they do not have some kind of sci- fi tech machine a la Mission Impossible , that can make a fuzzy audio file sound as clear as a bell. Try to remember that your recording will probably sound clearer to you than to your transcriptionist, as you were there when it was recorded, so if you are having trouble understanding what was said then even the most diligent, experienced transcriptionist also will.
Here are some things to consider when purchasing your recording equipment.
Dictaphones, iPhones and iPads should be used for dictation and one to one interviews only. If you are conducting a one to one interview, then you should ensure that the speakers are sitting close to the recorder and speaking clearly. Interviews where the speakers are sitting too far from the recorder will not produce good audio. You should also avoid recording interviews in coffee shops or restaurants, especially if they are busy or there is music playing, as the audio produced will be of a low quality.
Microphones should always be used for group interviews and focus groups. If you use a Dictaphone to record an interview with more than two speakers, then the audio will be extremely poor and you will not be able to hear the speakers properly. You must use quality recording equipment for focus groups and group interviews if you want to receive an accurate transcript. The rule is that you should try to make sure there is at least one microphone between two people (three at most) if you want a good quality audio file.
So don’t scrimp on recording equipment if you want good quality audio transcripts, it’s a false economy.
Transcription Services are always going to be of a better standard if you submit good quality audio files.