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Recording Audio

Pacific Transcription transcribes most audio files and formats including digital audio, videos, CDs, DVDs, and cassette tapes.

Prior to recording your interviews we recommend that you have the most suitable device for your recording requirements.  For recording interviews and focus groups we recommend the latest-release Olympus digital audio recorder.  Our experienced products team is happy to provide advice on which digital recording device best suit your needs.

Our advice for recording interviews and focus groups

Prior to recording:

  1. Device Settings: Ensure the recorder is set to the highest quality setting.
  2. Audio Format: Most devices allow you to record in a variety of audio formats (such as .dss .ds2 .mp3). We advise setting the audio format to .wma if it is an available option.
    Suitable Location: Transcript quality can be greatly affected when interviews are recorded in a venue with background noise as speakers can be difficult to hear. We recommend conducting your interviews in a quiet space with minimal background noise.
  3. Phone interviews: We recommend using the speaker phone and recording the conversation externally rather than using a plug-in device (which can sometimes result in varied audio quality for different speakers). Ensure that the recording device is not too close or too far from the speaker phone.
  4. Recorder Battery: Ensure that your battery has been charged or changed before beginning recording. You could also plug the recorder in to a power outlet to ensure that the battery doesn’t run out during the interview.


When Recording:

  1. Positioning of the recorder: Ensure that the recording device is placed where it can capture the voices of both facilitator and interviewee(s). In a focus group scenario, ensure all speakers are equidistant from the recorder. Avoid moving the recorder around throughout the interview and be aware of ambient noises such as a loud air conditioner, as this can greatly inhibit transcription.

If speaker identification is required, it is best to request that each speaker mentions their name before speaking each time as it can be difficult to differentiate speakers from audio alone. If speaker identification is essential to your analysis, it is best to have someone write down a speaker log throughout the interview.

  1. Encourage participants to speak one at a time: When overspeaking, laughter, or side conversations take place it can obscure all other conversation. To ensure a comprehensive transcript, it is best to wait for all to be quiet to ask your next question.
  2. Avoid small ambient noises: Non-verbal noises such as rustling papers, or tapping fingers on tables can often obscure speech. Remind speakers to avoid these noises.
  3. Repeat key sentences: If you feel a sentence is particularly important to your analysis, it is a good idea to repeat this for clarity.