RECORDING and TRANSCRIPTION SUGGESTIONS

  1. Personal Historian/Interviewer:  Recording Quality:
    • Quiet environment
      • Keep in mind that background noise such as rustling papers and/or music/radio interfere with sound quality. 
      • The interviewer should refrain from speaking over the interviewee even with minor terms of understanding like “aha” and “ohhh” terms.
    • Limited number of interviewees
      • Put a microphone on all interviewees and try to discourage them from talking over one another.
      • With multiple interviewees, state who is speaking whenever possible as it can be difficult to differentiate voices.
      • Have all interviewees sit close to a microphone
    • Use multiple recording devices if possible
    • Avoid cell-phone interviews 
    • Avoid restaurant interviews
    • Discuss Zoom recording considerations if needed
  2. Personal Historian/Interviewer: Recording Content:
    • State time, date, name of interviewer and interviewee(s), name of project
    • Ask for permission to record
    • Ask interviewee(s) to identify verbally 
    • Clarify answers of interviewees as needed
    • Ask interviewee(s) for spellings of all significant names/places
  3. Personal Historian/Interviewer: Information to Transcriber:
    • Name of project
    • Contract
    • Document file name
    • Correctly-spelled vocabulary list
    • Transcription Document Format:
      • Word processor program 
      • Font type/font size
      • Single, double, 1.5 or custom spacing between lines
      • Special formatting requests
      • Editing requests-Use of extraneous or repetitious words and extent of editing expected
  4. Considerations for the Transcriber:
    • Transcribing software and foot pedal
    • Word-processor program
    • Basis of charges (transcription time or length of recording)
    • Indication of unintelligible content in transcript
    • Errors and Omissions Insurance

by Joan Hamilton and Judi Kloper

About Judi Kloper

A transplanted New Englander, Judi has lived in Oregon for more than 47 years, except for the three years she lived and traveled abroad in India, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua just a few years ago. For years Judi taught kids with learning disabilities and later became an adoption specialist placing children with special needs from India with families in the USA. Over the last 15 years, she has been volunteering for a few nonprofits editing their newsletters and magazines, as well as transcribing, typing, and editing for personal historians and writers in the Pacific Northwest. Judi has settled in Portland after raising her five kids in Corvallis. She is an avid traveler and normally can be found in India or somewhere in Asia for several months every year, except for this past “Covid” year! 

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