Net Transcripts is the leading provider of confidential transcription and translation services for law enforcement and criminal justice agencies. While we pride ourselves on our 98.8% Accuracy Guarantee, high quality recordings that are clearly audible will always result in more accurate transcripts. With this in mind, our team has assembled the following list of tips and tricks for producing the best possible recordings for transcription.
An officer dictates his report.
Whether your recording takes place in an interrogation room or in the field, your device will be capturing audio through a microphone. For dictated reports with only one party speaking, best practice is to keep the microphone between six and twelve inches from your mouth in order to produce clear audio without distortion.
For interviews and other recordings with multiple parties involved, you might be tempted to move your device back and forth as each party speaks; however, this can create unintentional noise and variations in volume which can make participants difficult to understand. Instead, try to hold the recorder very steady throughout the interview or place it on a stable surface, preferably at an equidistant point from each person. Interview rooms are often equipped with built-in recording devices, but they may not always be situated in the best locations – often concealed in the walls or ceiling. Try and utilize a secondary recorder if possible, placing it as described above. These techniques will help keep input volumes consistent and will result in a more accurate transcription of your recording.
Throughout the course of an investigation, it is very common for law enforcement interviews to be conducted outdoors. Unfortunately, this often leads to unavoidable background noise which can hinder the clarity of your recordings. To minimize this effect, try to utilize natural barriers to block noise as much as possible. For example, if traffic noise is a concern, position your subject with their back toward the street, and keep your recording device directly in front of them so that their body blocks some of the noise from being picked up by the microphone.
Even in a controlled, indoor environment, extraneous noise can still impact the audibility of a recording. Be aware of your surroundings, including air conditioning units, blowing vents, refrigerators, radios and televisions. Try to avoid shuffling papers and dragging objects like chairs or tables, as the sound from these sources will make your recordings more difficult to understand clearly. Whenever possible, keep doors and windows closed, and try to limit access to your recording space in order to avoid interruptions.
Crosstalk & Rapid Speech
When multiple parties are speaking simultaneously, it can be difficult to discern what any one person is saying. Try to refrain from talking over your subjects, and if you can, restrict your interviews to one party at a time in order to cut down on crosstalk and unintelligible speech.
Dictated reports can be greatly improved if you speak clearly and annunciate. When you fly through your words, your tongue and lips can’t keep up with your mind, so you drop important vowels and consonants, causing your listeners to miss your meaning. Speak in a loud, clear voice, and take your time with each sentence rather than thinking about what’s coming next.
Be sure to check the battery in your recording device before you get started to prevent the loss of vital recordings. Test new devices and familiarize yourself with the controls before deploying them in the field. Your department’s IT staff can be a valuable resource for preventing potential issues before they occur.
If you’re looking for a recording solution that won’t break your budget, Net Transcripts offers a Dial-in Dictation Line as well as our Mobile App for iPhone and Android devices, both at no additional cost to our customers. Contact us today to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing with Net Transcripts.