How to Transcribe Poor Quality Recordings into Accurate Transcripts

by | Published on Aug 17, 2021 | Audio Transcription

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Accurate Transcripts

Transcription is widely used by many industries today. Courts, businesses, academic institutions etc. make recordings of their meetings, discussions, lectures and interviews and get them transcribed with the help of reliable digital transcription agencies. Accurate transcripts of any discussion help the organization to make informed decisions. However, if the audio quality of the recording is not good then, transcription becomes difficult.

Importance of Good Audio Quality for Transcription

Transcription is not an easy task and it takes excellent listening skills, good typing speed, and the ability to understand different dialects and accents to ensure accurate transcription. Even if the audio is clear, the transcriptionist still has to listen to the audio several times to understand each and every word. If the audio quality is poor, it will take more time to transcribe it. They will have to rewind the audio file multiple times to identify what the speakers are saying. If there are many speakers, then the audio quality becomes even more significant as it can be very difficult to distinguish the voices and understand every word that is spoken. The transcriptionist would require a longer time to convert such recordings into text format. Good quality audio recordings are easier to transcribe and you can also benefit from higher quality transcripts.

How Poor Audio Quality Affects Transcription

Poor quality audio recording may have

  • Unnecessary Background Sounds
  • Muffled Voices
  • Lagged Conversations
  • Overlapping Conversations
  • Different Volume Levels
  • Inaudible Parts

Any recording with substandard quality audio can make the transcription process very hard and transcriptionists might struggle to hear what is being said and transcribe it accurately. This could even lead to difficulty in creating a good-quality transcription as critical parts of the recordings could be missed out in those inaudible voices. It is always best to do the recording in a quiet place to ensure clear audio. However, people often end up putting the microphone at the wrong place, which leads to inaudible voices.

How to Improve the Quality of Audio Recording

  • Use Top Quality Earphones or Headset: Headphones that have good audio quality along with noise canceling feature are ideal for transcribing any audio file. A good headphone enables the transcriptionist to hear the sounds more clearly and it becomes much easier to transcribe the audio accurately.
  • Use Software to Clean the Audio: There are many clean-up software or apps available today that work like a sound recorder and help to remove any background noises.
  • Slowing Down or Speeding up the Recording: Changing the audio speed helps the transcriptionist to better understand what the speakers are saying. Altering the speed of the recording often enhances the clarity of the recording.
  • Utilize a Sound Editor to Enhance Audio: Sound editors help to delete the background noises completely and distinguish the sounds more clearly.

How to Handle Inaudible Words

Sometimes transcriptionists receive audio recordings that have a few words or sentences that are hard to comprehend, but experienced transcriptionists can understand the context of that particular part of the recording. But it is not advisable to guess the missing words and include those in the transcript. If you are unable to understand the audio at all, you can just mention [inaudible] or [unintelligible] in the transcript to indicate that the specific part of the recording wasn’t clear to transcribe. Use symbols like ‘-’ or ‘….’ or write “inaudible words” to indicate unclear sounds.

Timestamping the transcript is an excellent idea that makes it much easier for anyone to figure out different parts of the recording. You can put that part of the recording and timestamp in brackets to show a portion of the inaudible recording.

It can be very challenging to transcribe a poor audio recording. It will be prone to many errors and can also be a very time-consuming job. A practical alternative is to outsource the audio transcription requirements to a digital transcription agency. These services ensure accurate transcription of all recordings in any format, depending upon the client’s requirement. They also ensure quick turnaround time and are cost-effective too.

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