Digital Dictation and Transcription Primer – What You Need To Know


Time management is always vital in any profession. Keeping track of and beating deadlines is what keeps a professional busy. For you to keep up with the trade, you need to have the right tools and the latest technology to get your work done in the most time efficient manner.

Professionals such as lawyers and doctors who often use dictation and recordings at work find it more convenient if they can find all the needed information at a glance thus the importance of transcription services. It allows them to save time when organizing their thoughts while drafting documents. It also helps reduce lengthy meetings into few pages of text transcripts. Text transcripts can be very essential for busy professionals since it provides an easy-to-search record of a meeting’s contents which can also be easily shared with the appropriate audience.

Listed below are a few tips and reminders that you can follow when you create a digital dictation or recording to be used for transcription.

Making the Recording

Using a high quality digital voice recorder will help enhance your recording. A wide variety of models are available in the market but choose the one that has all the features you need such as connectivity options, recording formats, quality of recordings, and memory so that you can record your interviews without constantly running out of space.

Aside from the device you will use, you also need to make sure that you conduct the recording in a silent environment. Minimizing the background noise is always important if you want a clear dictation. This will also help in producing an accurate transcription later on.



When buying a digital voice recorder, you will usually be seeing a price range of $30 to $500 in the market. This range covers basic voice recorders up to the high end voice recorders which has the ability to produce recordings with “near studio-quality”. Keep in mind that you don’t actually need to buy the expensive ones if you will just be doing simple recording for interviews or podcasts. Check the features of the voice recorder that you plan to buy to see if it fits your needs.

Recording Format

The most known voice recording formats are MP3, WAV, AAC, WMA and DSS. These are the audio formats accepted by most online transcription service providers.

Getting the right recording format is important since the transcriber needs the right player for him to be able to listen to it. You need to make sure the format produced by your recorder matches the preferred format of the professional transcription services you will be using. It will be best to ask the transcriber what audio format they accept before doing the recording.

Headphone/Mic jacks

If you plan to record outdoors or in busy places like malls, airport or in a gymnasium full of people, one thing that you should consider will be the availability of external microphone. Make sure that the recorder has headphone or mic jacks for the external microphone to help you create a clear recording despite the background noise.

Other Features

The size of the recorder also matters. During interviews you need to consider the things you should be bringing. If you’re carrying a lot of gadgets plus other documents, getting a less bulky recorder will help you a lot. You also need to make sure that the recorder has a longer battery life that requires minimal charging. Transfer cables plus a protective casing might also come in handy.

Audio Transcription – Tips for Journalists

Audio transcription

Journalists have a responsibility of delivering comprehensive articles or whatever end product assigned to them. There are so many steps to go through to accomplish perfection in the end. With so many things to do in the interview set up, scheduling, and audio transcription stages—let alone conducting the interview—time is hardly ever sufficient.

Of course, every journalist knows that one of the most time-consuming and cumbersome tasks in journalism is audio transcription. If you’re spending hours transcribing even a short audio or view interview, it can adversely interfere with the timely completion of a project. The following tips will make the eventual audio transcription process a little easier so you can spend less time with your keyboard, and more with… say, your loved ones (or yourself).

Not that hours and hours of typing isn’t soothing (ie: sleep-inducing). We’re just guessing you’d rather spend your evening listening to music instead of transcribing.

Just a hunch.

Tip #1: Prepare adequately for the interview

Successful journalists conduct adequate background research on the interview subject matter (even if the subject is the interviewee him or herself). Spend time developing a list of relevant questions to ask the interviewee. This way, you will be in a better position to focus on the responses. Preparing for the interview also means checking the sound and quality of recording before the interview.

Audio recording storage almost full

Pictured: ‘Too many Corgis.’

It is highly advisable that you invest in a decent, inexpensive audio recorder to avoid the dreaded “Storage almost full” issue. Nothing makes an interviewer seem less professional than needing to delete your album of corgi photos to keep the interview moving.

Don’t let it happen to you. Keep things clean and organized by recording your interviews on a dedicated digital audio recorder. You’ll thank yourself when you get to the audio transcription stage.

Tascam digital audio recorderShould you decide to use your smartphone as a recorder, try to install a reliable app that makes it easy for you to record interviews.

If the audio recording app has a free version, consider purchasing the full app to avoid any unpleasant “Game of Explosions: Play Now for Free” video ads popping up during a dramatic part of the interview, or that “maximum audio file length reached: purchase full version now for $99.99 to unlock” business.

In addition to recording apps, there are some apps for audio transcription available with varying reviews. In general, if you’re a busy journalist (or one who just wants more free time), we obviously recommend offloading that whole process to a reputable audio transcription service.

Tip #2: Don’t Interview Someone at Starbucks

A professional recording studio with egg crate acoustic foam tiles on the wall is, without a doubt, the best place for recording an interview. Unfortunately, the majority of journalists don’t have a silent place to do audio transcription, let alone an audio workshop in their basement.

There is an alternative, though: a fairly quiet room.

In general, rooms where other people are likely to walk in and public places should be avoided. We’ve all heard podcasts that were recorded in less-than-optimal locations—usually in order to get a quick interview with a celebrity. And we all know how “enjoyable” it is to sit and try to make out what is being said over a lot of hiss and background noise, let alone rewinding and re-listening to it dozens of times.

To avoid any audio transcription nightmares later on, turn off any gadgets that might cause noise such as air conditioners, television or radio, fans and even noisy computers before you begin the interview. The interview location should be as quiet as possible. This alone will go a long way in getting a better quality audio recording. Clearer, better quality recordings, in turn, will make audio transcription much more efficient, whether you are transcribing yourself or handing it off to an audio transcription service like iScribed.

Tip #3: Avoid “Perpendicular Cross-Talk”

While it’s easy enough to stop others nearby from talking over your interviewee—well, easy enough to ask them to stop—it can be more difficult to keep yourself in check. Many a journalist has accidentally discovered their tendency to cut off interviewees while transcribing the interview later, when it’s too late.

If this sounds like you at all, prudence demands that you make a conscious effort to wait for the respondent to finish answering the questions you have asked. By all means, do not interrupt while they are responding, even to drive a point home. You won’t come across well to the interviewee (or your audience) and it won’t help the interview. By allowing the interviewee to express him or herself freely, you’ll have a much easier time with audio transcription later on.

Tip #4: Edit Out the 20 Minutes of Audio From When You Left the Recorder on By Accident

If you’re technically inclined, you may want to consider taking advantage of the available technologies for editing the video/audio file. When the interview is over, use some basic audio editing software to pare your interview audio down to its essential parts. There is a good amount of this software on the market, and respected freeware options such as Audacity abound.

Some of these audio apps are easy to use, and you may find them very useful in getting your files prepared for audio transcription. If you are outsourcing your transcribing to an audio transcription service, sending shorter files will usually lower the cost of transcribing them.

Speaking of transcribing, here is our most recommended tip (which may not surprise you):

Tip #5: Get a Transcription Service to Handle the Transcribing Nightmare For You

Now that we’ve focused on getting solid gold audio recordings (and keeping our corgi photos on our smartphone where they belong) we can in good conscience hand them off to an online audio transcription service. If your time equals money, you’ll be astonished at how much (of both) you can save by uploading your audio files to a transcription service.


Don’t throw away your entire weekend transcribing interviews. You, too, can be just like the journalist pictured above with iScribed’s fast, easy, affordable audio transcription services. Upload your audio files here to get started, or try a free 5 minute demo transcription.

(We provide video transcription services as well. Need subtitles or captions? Click here.)

Have More Productive Meetings at Work with Audio Transcription

Audio transcription for more productive business meetings

It’s widely known today that Americans are some of the hardest workers in the world, or at least some of the longest-working workers in the world. (And the UK isn’t far behind.) You don’t have to be a coal miner, The President, an Alaskan crab fisherman, or an audio transcription professional—the amount of work the average employee spends in work-related activities today may surprise you.

Some sources claim that American office workers attend, on average, about 60 business meetings per month.

(I’m not a mathematician, but I’m pretty sure that’s 720 business meetings a year. Seven hundred and twenty.)

With how poorly organized most business meetings are, that equates to a whole lot of wasted time. In fact, according to HubSpot, it all adds up to at least 31 completely wasted hours per month.

And what about the time that isn’t wasted? Well, as anyone who has ever been in a meeting before knows—and we’re guessing you have—once you exit the door of that conference room, much of what was discussed during the meeting tends to fly right out the window.

While the Western world’s obsession with having unproductive meetings is unlikely to change overnight, there are ways we can improve the value of meetings. What is the #1 way to have better quality meetings? You guessed it—the answer is audio transcription.

Get it on Record: Make Audio Transcription Work for You

One word: Accountability. Having a record of exactly what was said (and who is in charge of what) during a meeting has obvious value, but there is another huge benefit to having an audio transcription policy: When attendees know that they’re being recorded, they are more likely to stay on track. In addition, knowing that what they are saying is on record may encourage them to contribute more value to the meeting.

So you’ve decided to record the audio of your meetings. Where do you start? Check out this article for tips on recording business meetings like a pro. (Also see our earlier post about conference call recording and transcription.)

Now, Actually Have the Meeting’s Audio Transcribed

As many savvy managers already know, you can get a lot more out of the time you spend in meetings already know by having them transcribed. Of course, tying up employees by relegating them to hours of tedious audio transcription isn’t necessarily an optimal way to make the company more productive. Fortunately, it is reasonably inexpensive to outsource audio transcription to an online transcription service like iScribed.

In addition to the above tips, Forbes gives these seven tips for having more effective meetings.

  1. Have Clear Objectives
  2. Consider Who is in Attendance
  3. Stick to the Schedule
  4. Don’t Let One Person Monopolize the Conversation
  5. Start on Time, End on Time
  6. Ban Technology
  7. Follow Up with Attendees

Of course, Tip #6—banning technology—might be one to take with a grain of salt if you’re intent on improving productivity by transcribing your meetings. Unless you’re keen on hiring a real-time (superhuman) audio transcription professional or using a wax cylinder to keep records of your meetings, make an exception for a digital recorder (placed properly, of course).

Outside of that small caveat, of course, let your attendees know that their iPhone marimbas and the dreaded Samsung whistles will not be tolerated. If only it was possible to extend this policy beyond the conference room doors (like, say, to your favorite coffee shop).

What are your tips for making meetings more effective? Tweet at us @iscribed and let us know!

Ready to let iScribed handle all your transcribing needs? It’s easy. Click here to get started with your transcription order and get a free up-to-5 minute audio transcription demo to try out the accuracy, affordability, and unbeatable quality of our audio transcription services for yourself!

The Perks of Hiring an Online Audio Transcription Service

Hiring an Online Audio Transcription Service Perks - iScribed.comAs with any technological revolution that leads to new types of services which make life easier, “online audio transcription services” are becoming increasingly popular. For many of today’s attorneys, paralegals, journalists, speakers, businesspeople, video professionals, and even physicians, an online audio transcription service may not quite be a “lifesaver”—but it is certainly a time-saver and a career-saver.

Of course, if you’re browsing the website for iScribed’s transcribing services, the question you are probably asking yourself at the moment is “Why should I consider an online audio transcription service to create transcripts of my files rather than doing it myself?”

Well, the answer is clear. Sourcing out your boring, menial audio transcription work to iScribed saves time, energy, and money. iScribed hires only the best US and UK-based transcriptionists, so you are assured of the quality of the product you’ll receive before even using the service. (If that’s not good enough for you, check out iScribed’s recent audio transcription reviews). iScribed’s experienced staff provides affordable, accurate transcription—every time.

As anyone who has ever transcribed audio or video knows, performing transcription with any degree of efficiency requires a tremendous amount of hours spent… well… transcribing.

If you’re worried about how long it will take, fret not. With iScribed, you will receive your transcription faster than most services at much lower price. This dual advantage is probably one of the best perks of using iScribed as your preferred online audio transcription service.

Financially, it makes far greater sense to use an online audio transcription service rather than hiring a full-time transcriptionist or tying up an existing staff member who isn’t a professional transcriptionist with a time-consuming task. With iScribed, you pay for transcription only when you need it. Further, you pay for the amount that is transcribed, not for the amount of time it takes the person transcribing. If you’re business-minded (or just money-minded) this works out to a far better deal for you. Another often-overlooked advantage of using for on-demand audio transcription services is that you will not have to invest in any equipment, software, or subscriptions needed to help with transcribing.

You don’t have to be in any particular profession or industry to appreciate having less work and more time at your disposal. If you are a business owner, entrepreneur, or just a busy professional of any sort, you will have ample time to devote to more pressing (and even enjoyable) tasks. Ready to see if an online audio transcription service can benefit your workflow? Visit to get started and try a FREE 5-minute demo transcription.

--> -->