Interview transcription made easy: guidance & tips

14.05.2018
interview transcriptions

Nowadays, interview recordings are transcribed for very different purposes. They are used to support the theories of bachelor or master theses, are written down for social media, or are used as subtitles. If the quality of the recording is good, this makes subsequently transcribing the dialogue much easier and thus noticeably lowers the costs, whereas a poor quality recording requires considerably more effort to transcribe, which of course costs more time and money.

The most important recording criteria for fast, cheap interview transcription

A few basic requirements create the ideal conditions for the subsequent transcription of an interview. In addition to the environment, the technology used also plays a role, because not all recording devices provide the necessary quality for rapid processing.

Tip 1: The quality of the recording

Interview recordings that are conducted in busy rooms often include a lot of background noise. This makes it harder to understand the questions and answers spoken and the recording needs to be played back multiple times to transcribe it. A quiet environment with no disruptive noises is therefore ideal for recording question and answer sessions that are intended to be transcribed later by a professional. Electrical and electronic devices such as refrigerators, computers, or overhead projectors only produce quiet sounds, but they can still be heard on the recording as a disruptive buzzing noise and rooms that are too large are not ideal for recording due to the echo effect.

Tip 2: The technical test

In addition to conventional dictation devices, there is also now the option of recording with a smartphone. However, not all models produce a good voice quality. A quick test in advance will clearly show whether the quality is sufficient for subsequent interview transcription. It is also important that the device has enough free storage capacity.

Tip 3: Interviews by phone or video chat

Interviews are frequently conducted by telephone or via internet connections such as Skype. Quality also plays a big role here. Both interlocutors should be in a quiet environment. If the conversation and the recording take place on a mobile phone, it is important to make sure in advance that the device allows you to make a phone call and record at the same time, as well as ensuring that the quality is good enough.

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