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File Format

Sound file format required - dss, ds2, wma, mp3, wav or amr. We can convert other file formats but please consult our interview department for further information. Email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 01366 348088.

Recording Equipment

Ensure that the equipment you intend to use for recording is suitable for the job, eg. a separate directional microphone may be necessary for external or multiple voice recording, telephone interviews will require specialist hardware, etc. A simple handheld recorder with a single internal microphone will NOT produce an accurate high-quality recording for multiple voice interviews/focus groups. For more information on the correct equipment consult our recommended Olympus supplier ( or Brian Hart on 0207 222 1531).

Helpful Hints

1. Try to avoid conducting an interview in a public place such as hotel lobby, coffee shop or school playground where background noise is intrusive.

2. Turn off all mobile phones.

3. Minimise external noise as much as possible - unidirectional mics will pick up everything.

4. Close windows where possible (if on a road there may be shouting in the street, sirens, etc).

5. Position all participants as close to the recorder/a microphone as possible.

6. Place the recorder/microphone on something soft (mousemat) to avoid vibration from the table.

7. Try not to flick through papers close to the recorder/microphone – this may cause distortion.

8. Avoid positioning near anything magnetic such as a television or PC.


1. Start the recorder and clearly state the date, time and subject of the interview.

2. Introduce yourself.

3. In order for participants to be identified by the typist, each person should introduce themselves at the start of the recording.

4. Do not talk over each other.

5. If somebody leaves the room, please note this on the recording.

6. If the recording is stopped for a tea or lunch break and continued later on another soundfile, please remember to remind the typist who is in the room (some parties may not rejoin).

7. If possible, provide additional list of any commonly used unusual names or spellings, as well as an agenda, slides, etc to OutSec at the commencement of the project/transcription.

Category of Transcription

Unless specifically requested to the contrary, all interviews will be transcribed as ‘intelligent verbatim’.

1. Intelligent Verbatim - A degree of discretion is applied by the typist. A common sense approach will eliminate words not relevant to the subject matter, duplication, ums, aahs, etc.  English is improved and punctuation added to ensure that the document ‘reads’ correctly.  This will be sufficient for most needs.

2. Verbatim - Everything is included in the transcript, including all the 'ums, aahs, ohs, and sorries'. No abbreviations or alterations are allowed.  This is the most expensive form of transcription.

3. Intelligent -The typist has full discretion to edit and proof the transcribed work. The completed document will contain a readable summary of the subject matter. This report may be used as the reference for another article or project.

IMPORTANT: The quality of the final transcript will only be as good as the recording equipment you use and the clarity of the recording produced.

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