Tips For Clients

We want you to get the very best out of your transcripts and so here are some tips for making top recordings. It is important to be familiar and comfortable with the recording device you are using. We can advise you if you need help with this.

Things To Consider…

  • Always try and make sure that you are recording somewhere quiet. If that isn’t possible and you need to do the interview in a busy place like a café, then try and make sure that your table isn’t right next to the coffee machine. Sounds simple, but often, because you are focusing on the questions you want to ask your interviewee, things like, “Am I sitting near the coffee machine?” aren’t front of mind.
  • Even in a quiet office, is the air-conditioner drowning out conversation every time it comes on? Is the open window near a building site, or loud traffic? Again, because the focus is on the participant, it’s easy for our brain to filter these things out and it is only when you get a transcript full of time-stamps that you realise how much impact this has had on the audio.
  • Try not to talk over your interviewee and keep your listening responses to a minimum (we know it’s hard, we all do it) so that the transcriber can hear what is being said. If the person you are interviewing has a strong accent, then ask them to repeat themselves, or repeat back what they have said if it’s something important.
  • Don’t compress your audio recordings. The more compressed the audio, the more the audio becomes distorted in playback. So check that your recording device is set to record in MP3 and that compression has been turned off. In this day and age of fast uploads, there is no need to comprise your audio by trying to save on the file size.
  • If you are making a lengthy recording of several hours, try to remember to stop and start the recording device approximately every 60 minutes to create smaller audio recordings. This gives you, and whomever you are recording, the opportunity to stretch and have a rest break and means your transcript can be turned around faster, as multiple transcribers can work on the various parts of the recording simultaneously.

With Focus Groups…

Ask the speakers to identify themselves in the first round so that the transcriber has a chance to hear each speaker.

Ask that people speak one at a time and don’t interrupt or overtalk each other.

Have a clearly defined time for everyone to get refreshments and give them a chance to settle again before starting back with questions.

Think about where the microphone is. If possible, do a quick trial. Can everyone be heard? Is there background noise from an air-conditioner that you haven’t even noticed but is very clear on the audio?

Keep control of the focus group. If people start to become excited about the topic and start to interrupt, bring it back, repeat your instructions to speak clearly and one at a time.

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