Audio Transcription 101: How to Deal with Difficult Audio Files?

Posted by Anne Quach on August 10, 2021.

Audio transcription is not as simple as listening and writing down what transcribers hear. Transcribers face many challenges in the listening process, especially when handling difficult audio files with loud background noise, heavy dialects, low sound quality, etc.

In today’s post, we will find out what difficult audio files are and some tips to help you deal with them.

1. When is an audio transcription project considered difficult?

An audio transcription 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 the transcription process will take double or more effort and time to render them.

2. How to handle an audio transcription project with challenging audio files?

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

Next, try to change the speed of the audio 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 that is slurring.

You can also rely on software to clear up the background noise of the source audio files. Express Scribe is the software that is often recommended for those who work as transcriptionists. 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 brokenly pronounced or inaudible words due to the poor recording, try to guess the sentences 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 has a direct impact 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.

With years of experience in video and audio transcription and a pool of native linguists, GTE Media brings you quick and high-quality transcription services. Contact us for a free quote!



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