Select a recorder that is suitable for transcription and ensure the audio file can be transferred from the recorder to a PC.
Ensure the settings on the recorder are correct, including the volume level and play mode. For transcription standard, short play mode (SP) is required.
Practice test prior to recording for the first time. Play back the test file to ensure good audibility of each voice and no distortion.
Check the volume level on the recorder and test for good audibility, but not too loud as this may cause distortion. Check the interviewee(s) can be heard clearly. If the person mumbles or has a soft voice you need to ask them to speak up or move recorder closer.
Record in a quiet environment. Check there is no background noise. Interviews recorded in a cafe, shopping centre or public place may have background noise, which prevent accurate transcription and may add to the cost. Background noises can be as simple as birds, coffee machines, barking dogs, music, machinery, hammering and other people talking.
Focus groups, meetings and presentations are the most difficult to record properly, as there are usually three or more participants. Please take time to ensure you have adequate microphones for the size of the group. Ensure each participant states their name at the beginning of the recording, so they can be identified. For even better identification ask each participant to state their name each time they are speaking. Always test first to make sure people can be heard. Note that rustling papers, clinking water jugs and coffee cups, air conditioners and mobile phones ringing can cause the discussion to become inaudible.