Gone are the days when clients were compelled to hand in CDs of recorded material for transcribing or send multiple audio tapes by post. These days, transcription agencies like EQ Transcrition make sending any files that you want transcribed a breeze – all you have to do is visit the website, upload your digital audio file directly and hey presto, your transcription is ready within a few hours.

Which brings us to the next question- which format should a digital audio file be recorded in? Although all file types have their own plus and minuses, what every client should be more concerned about is the quality of the audio file and the size of the file itself. Unless an audio file has been compressed properly, it could impact the sound quality of the file or erase some data and secondly, it could also take ages to upload on to the website server as well. Sound quality usually doesn’t matter if the digital audio file contains material that has been dictated by a single speaker as most speakers tend to hold the microphone closely while dictating. However, if the recording is of a focus group where the speakers are seated in different places and speak in varying tempos and pitches, higher sound quality is required or else the transcriptionist will find it difficult to decipher what has been said.

If you are confused about whether your transcriptionist will be able to open the files that you send, it is best to discuss this before making the actual recording. In case your recorder does not allow you to record audio data in your transcriptionist’s preferred file format, don’t worry as there is plenty of good software available online which can convert digital audio files from one form to the other. Let’s take a look at two commonly used digital audio file types :

  • Waveform Audio: These kind of audio files are distinguished by the .wav extension and are quite popular with many PC users. These files are usually very large and could take a long time to upload as well. However, the sound quality of .wav files is quite good.
  • MPEG-1 Audio Layer 3: These files carry the .mp3 extension and are used quite frequently. It is not unusual to find music tracks usually recorded in the .mp3 format. These files are ideally the best for transcription purposes as they upload quite fast as well. In case your dictation recorder only allows you to record data in a wav file format, simply download an audio file converter and compress it to an mp3 format which can then be sent for transcribing.

In the next article, we take a look at other digital audio file formats which can also be used for transcription purposes.