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Although the vast majority of recordings today are made on digital recorders owing to the high quality they provide, we recognise that some clients still use analogue, especially dictaphones with mini tapes. We are happy to continue to provide a mini-tape transcription service for as long as our clients need it, and the equipment is still manufactured.

Mini tapes are produced largely for Phillips dictation and transcription machines. We would not recommend they be used for anything other than dictation unless you're able to plug in an external microphone. The internal microphones in dictaphones are too weak to provide a good quality recording of more than one voice, as they're designed to be held up to the mouth. Placed on a table between speakers or against a noisy background, it becomes almost impossible to capture a good quality recording. It's certainly not advisable to use mini-tapes for recording interviews or meetings with multiple participants - the increased cost in transcription time would probably pay for a decent digital recorder!

We know that some clients do record one-to-one interviews with dictaphones. We'd recommend that the only chance of making a clear recording is to ensure that you record in a quiet environment with an external microphone, if your dictaphone can accommodate one. We hope our Guidelines and Equipment pages will answer any specific queries you may have about setting up your recordings. We're also happy to provide transcription services for standard audio tapes and micro cassettes. Please note that tape quality can be very variable and we would advise using a reputable make of tape. All 'physical' tapes are also prone to breakages, especially when reused many times, which is what tends to happen with dictation.

Transcription times are dealt with in more detail elsewhere but, briefly, if you provide a clear quality recording, it will take between 4 to 6 hours to transcribe ONE hour of recording. This assumes the recording to be either dictation or a one-to-one interview.

The following factors influence the time taken to transcribe any recording, and therefore the cost:

  • The quality of the recording
  • Whether an external microphone is used
  • The clarity and number of voices
  • Whether you require speakers to be identified
  • The speed at which they are talking
  • Whether they speak in coherent sentences
  • The level of background noise
  • The degree of regional accents
  • The amount of industry specific or technical terminology involved

Mini Tape Transcription Services

Price Per Audio Minute
Dictation transcription services
Interview transcription services (one-to-one or one-to-two participants)
See this page for more details of Transcription Times. All prices are in £ Sterling and VAT is NOT applicable. Discounts are available for universities, students and charities but this applies only to digital recordings.

We would be happy to advise if you're considering switching to a digital system - please see our comparison of digital and analogue recordings.

Free Digital Recording - we convert all minidiscs, audio tapes, micro cassettes and mini tapes to digital audio files for ease of transcription. This is only possible with a clear quality recording. As part of our service, we offer clients the digital version of their recording free of charge, sent to them via a secure file transfer service, provided the client has Broadband.

This not only means we have transcribed from the digital recording, thus reducing the strain of stopping and starting the tape, but it means that clients can prolong the life of their recordings, and safeguard against tape breakages in the future by saving a digital recording to their PC. It also means that we can provide time markers on the transcript which you can then relocate very easily on the digital recording, in order to clarify any inaudible sections. This is not possible on an analogue recording as each tape recorder will have a different method of 'counting' and, therefore, any time markers will be inaccurate.

However, this will only work IF your original tape is of good quality. If your recording is nothing but hiss or background noise, then a second generation recording of that, even on digital, will only magnify the distortions and there's no point trying. We will advise you whether we believe your recording is clear enough for us to do this. Digital recordings are deleted from our system a week after the transcripts are completed, unless deletion is requested earlier - thus safeguarding our clients' confidentiality.

ALL RECORDINGS are listened to a second time, Internet research is carried out where necessary, and all transcripts are proofread by the Director, Irene Boston, before being sent to clients. There is no extra charge for this service. Not all transcription companies do this, some don't even proofread, so make sure you ask the right questions before choosing a service.

Our default transcript style is Intelligent Verbatim as that is the most cost effective method of transcription. Please read our definitions of Complete Verbatim, Intelligent Verbatim and Edited Transcript to choose which format is most suitable for your needs. We have a standard page layout for all transcripts but we are happy to work in your house style if you wish. As with all our transcriptions, we provide a Transcript Code for each document to signify areas which are inaudible or unclear.

We hope this provides you with a thorough overview of our mini tape transcription services. Please email or contact us on 01485 543746 for further information and turnaround times based on our current schedule, or browse our Overview or FAQ pages. We invite you to read our Testimonial page to gain an idea of the quality of our service.

Audio tape clean up and restoration
- If your analogue recordings have deteriorated over time and are no longer clearly audible and would benefit from being cleaned up before being transcribed, we recommend you contact the Oxford Duplication Centre. Past clients have found their service to be invaluable, reasonably priced, helpful and professional.

They are specialists within the fields of Film Video Audio Scan, with a specialist service in audio cassette transfers. Utilising our Pro-Tools set up, they can convert practically any format of audio tape, micro cassette, audio reel to reel, vinyl and much more to digital audio files. Their services are highly recommended in Oxfordshire and the UK and hold 5 star testimonials.

Please contact 01865 457000 or email
Oxford Duplication Centre 29 Banbury Road Kidlington Oxfordshire OX5 1AQ

Our MINI TAPE TRANSCRIPTION SERVICES include dictation, interviews, oral history transcriptions and telephone interviews for a variety of clients including authors and journalists. Analogue mini-tape transcription services are also referred to as mini cassette transcription and transcribing mini-cassettes. We can also provide standard analogue audio transcription for audio tapes and audio cassettes, as well as micro tape or micro cassette transcription services.

We are pleased to offer free Advice Pages: Equipment FAQs Overview Transcription Times and free Guidelines for facilitating and recording: 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. 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

Copyright © Irene Boston 1998-2008 IB Transcription Services - All Rights Reserved All contents of this website are protected under copyright law.  No part of this website may be reproduced in any form, electronic or otherwise without written permission from IBTS.  Any copyright breach will be reported to the relevant authorities.

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