What is difficult audio file?


An audio file with characteristics that can make it harder for the transcribers to render exactly the content it carries is called a difficult audio file. The characteristics may include background noise, static on recordings, voice overlapping, faint audio recording, nonnative accents, very fast speech, etc. This also means that it will take double or more effort and time from the transcribers to render them.


How to handle a transcription project with difficult audio files?


  • Enhance the sound quality

First and foremost, make sure you are using a good quality headset or headphone as it gives you better sound of what’s being said from the audio and helps to enhance the quality of the transcript.


Next, try to change the speed of the recording like slow it down or speed it up to see if you can hear the words and catch the ideas better. However, as crazy as this might seem, slowing down the audio might in fact make it harder for you to hear the speaker as it may sound like they are slurring.


You can also rely on software to clear up the background noise. Express Scribe is the software that is often recommended for those who work as transciptionist. You may need to click on the background noise reduction option more than once but it does help.


  • Inaudible words – don’t guess

For the words that are brokenly pronounced or inaudible due to the poor recording, try to understand what is said based on the context but just don’t guess. Instead, mention (inaudible) or (several inaudible words) or sometimes (unintelligible) when you can hear the sound but can’t make them out.


  • Inform your client

If you try one way or another but still can’t understand the recording, just inform your client of the problem and make sure they understand that the quality of the audio have direct impacts on the quality of the transcript. Let them know you can attempt to improve the sound and try your best to transcribe but it will take more time and cost more and the final transcript may have a lot of gaps.


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