and speech transcription:
The speakers are booked, the venue organised and delegates invited. What else? If the lectures or speeches are to be reproduced as text afterwards, then they'll need to be transcribed. This article offers specific technical advice on what you should take into consideration when organising the recording of lectures or speeches and, in particular, highlights any relevant transcription issues.
If keynote speakers or lecturers are giving their time to deliver presentations, the least they will expect is that the organiser should arrange a recording that is clear enough to be transcribed, either for eventual publication in conference proceedings or as supporting coursework for students. So it's essential to take into account the technical aspects involved in making a clear recording. It's no good finding out afterwards that an ad hoc recording is inaudible, unclear or full of background noise. This can make the difference between an accurate transcript or one riddled with queries. Even when booking a professional venue and using their in-house recording facilities, there are still technical issues to consider which it would be sensible to discuss with the venue in advance. Advice on how to facilitate a lecture or speech recording is dealt with in another article.
the quality of the venue's recording equipment. Check with their
past clients to ensure they've been happy with the clarity of the recording
the venue has produced. If the venue is hiring an external audio visual
company to do the recording, check if they've recorded similar events
and talk to their past clients.
2. Go digital. Check the venue is using recording equipment that's fit for purpose, i.e. digital equipment. Digital recorders produce an excellent sound quality which in turn will cut down on transcription time, minimise the number of inaudibles and reduce costs.
Ensure the venue has a sufficient number of microphones available. There
should be a standard lectern microphone, plus at least one microphone
on any 'top table' if there is to be a panel of speakers. If there are
more than three or four speakers on the panel, you'll need more than
one microphone on the table. Has the venue made adequate arrangements
for a roving microphone to pick up any audience participation? If speakers
are likely to be using PowerPoint presentations or slides and may therefore
be wandering around the stage, a microphone only on the lectern will
not be sufficient. Each speaker should have an individual microphone,
either a lapel or tie-clip mic. If the latter are used, you'll need
to brief the speakers to be aware that these also pick up the sound
of rustling clothing, or any sotto voce comments they might not want
others to hear!
an uncompressed digital recorder setting - most digital recorders
offer recording settings ranging from SHQ (stereo high quality) down
to LP (long play). SHQ produces the largest digital file size but the
best sound quality. HQ is a good compromise but LP produces the poorest
quality. Don't compromise on quality just to save memory space on the
recording. Check the venue have set up the recorder to use the highest
uncompressed quality level possible. This will produce larger digital
file sizes, but any issues over the file size and the length of time
it takes to transmit the digital files are trivial compared to the production
of a good quality recording.
on a suitable digital audio level and file type - 8,000kHz is a
suitable level only for dictation and 44,100kHz is the highest end of
the range and produces exceptional recordings, and this is what should
be used for recording speeches. Wav files produce the clearest quality
sound but the largest file size. WMA and MP3 files are a good compromise,
producing clear recordings but with a more manageable file size.
rehearsal. When the venue tests their recording equipment, try and
listen to that through headphones, but ask them to do a realistic test.
Someone standing very close to the microphone shouting 'testing, testing'
at the top of their voices is not a realistic representation of a lecturer's
delivery! So try and encourage the venue to replicate the circumstances
of the speech. What you hear on that test recording will be a fair indication
of what the transcriber will hear on the final version. If it's too
faint, ask them to move the microphones or ensure that additional microphones
are made available. Once you can hear the voices clearly, the transcriber
probably can too.
7. Test the sound levels. Check that the venue will be able to adjust any sound recording levels during the speeches. Most digital recorders will set the recording level automatically, but you'll need to be sure there's some kind of manual override available in order to capture any speakers with quiet voices, or if a sudden background noise interferes.
use voice activation. It shouldn't be an issue if the venue records
events regularly, but it might be worthwhile checking that their equipment
or microphones are not equipped with a voice activation feature. If
the speaker is too far away from the microphone or speaks softly, this
may not be picked up by the equipment. We've found that some recorders
are not very sensitive and will sometimes switch off in mid-sentence
if the sound level goes below the minimum pick up threshold, especially
with quietly spoken speakers. There is also a slight time delay between
someone speaking and the recorder starting up again, so the beginnings
of sentences are often chopped off.
briefing. There are a few 'housekeeping' issues which all the speakers
should be made aware of before the event. Ask them to turn off their
mobile phones. Text messages or voice mails emit a radio frequency inaudible
to the human ear but which can be picked up by any recording equipment.
The subsequent buzzing noise will drown out whatever is being said.
Turning mobile phones to 'silent' or 'vibrate' is not enough - they
need to be turned off. You'll also need to ask the audience to do the
same with their phones, especially anyone in the front row near the
10. Minimise noise - if it's sufficiently loud, any background noise, such as air conditioning or laptops, is often more intrusive on recordings than we realise at the time, and voices can easily be swamped. Ensure that the windows are closed to reduce the impact of any noise from outside. Be aware that any crockery on the top table may be too near the microphones and that any 'clattering' will drown out any voices. A similar effect can occur if people shuffle papers or write near the microphone. They may seem like insignificant noises but our ears are selective and can tune out such sounds. Microphones are rarely so selective and will just give prominence to the nearest and loudest noise.
specialise in digital transcription services including
MP3 digital transcription, WAV digital transcription,
WMA digital transcription among many other digital
audio file formats. We also provide standard audio
cassette tape transcription covering micro cassette
or micro tape transcription, plus mini tape or
mini cassette transcription which is also known as audio
transcription or audio typing services. This can be extended to include
minidisc or minidisk transcription services. Extensive
experience in conference transcription services
allows us to offer transcription of conference proceedings
including keynote speaker and plenary
session transcription, lecture transcription,
seminar and symposia transcribing, Q&A
session transcription and transcription of breakout
sessions, roadshows, roundtable discussions and workshops. Interview
transcription services form a core part of our service and include one-to-one
interview transcription, as well as multiple
participant interview transcription. We are pleased to offer discounted
transcription services for charities, students
and universities for their research
interviews, particularly qualitative analysis
transcription compatible with Nvivo and Atlas Ti. Support for oral
history interview transcription projects can include both digital
transcription services and audio tape transcription.
A niche specialty is our podcast transcription services
which also covers webcast transcription. Transcription
services for authors, writers and journalists can
include anything from digital dictation for article
transcription and manuscript typing through to
research interview transcription. Also offered is focus
group transcription, forum transcribing, market
research and vox pop interview transcription as well corporate
or group meeting transcription services. Word processing services and
digital dictation for correspondence is also included.
Teleconferences and telephone
interviews can be transcribed from digital and
analogue formats. Analogue video
tape transcriptions are offered along with digital
video transcription services. Different transcription styles are available
including Intelligent Verbatim Transcription,
Complete Verbatim Transcription, Edited
Transcription and customised transcription styles for Oral
History projects and Focus Groups.
We are pleased to offer free Advice Pages: Equipment FAQs Overview Transcription Times and free Guidelines for: Conferences Dictation Digital Audio / Minidiscs Focus Groups / Forums Interviews Lectures / Speeches / Presentations Market Research Vox Pops Oral History Interview Projects Podcasts Audio Tapes Teleconferences / Telephone Interviews Digital DVD / Video Tapes Webcasts Workshops Our Home Page provides an overview of the wide range of transcription services we provide.
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