How to Master the Art of Talking Fast

Now that you have discovered dictation blogging, you may be thinking that some people are just born fast talkers.

They just know how to speak at 200 or 250 words per minute.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Talking fast is not inborn, it is a skill. Some psychologists say that people who routinely talk quickly do so because they’re nervous.

Well, you’re not nervous, you want to intentionally learn how to talk faster because you want to create more content.

As I have written several times in this blog, why should you stick to typing out your blog posts, novels, articles, video scripts, and other forms of content when you’re trapped at 30 words per minute, all the way to 80 words per minute.

At most, you will be able to write 4800 words per hour. That may seem impressive, but if you factor in editing, you probably would be lucky to have a fraction of that, maybe 1500 words.

A lot of people who work for content companies barely manage 3000 words per day if you include research.

This is why learning how to talk faster is so so important.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re using a voice recorder, a dictaphone, podcasting mic, or a headset, the faster you speak, the more content you create.

The good news is, you don’t have to be born a fast talker, because like I’ve said, it is a skill.

And just like any skill, the more you repeat what you’re doing, the better you get.

Adopt the right daily rituals to learn how to talk fast

By simply going through daily practices, you will be able to speak much faster than your current rate. Keep in mind that you’re not trying to talk fast like an auctioneer, that’s not the point.

You want to speak fast enough so you can express your thoughts clearly.

Maybe you’re thinking at a rate of 1000 miles per hour but when you speak fast enough you will be able to at least get close to keeping pace with the speed of your thoughts.

The faster you think and the faster you talk, the more content you produce once your audio is transcribed.

The problem is, there is no one size fits all solution when it comes to daily fast-talking rituals. You’re not just spitting out words and into a microphone, you’re reading an outline, and thinking about the information that fills in the short sentences in that outline.

You have to think quickly and you have to speak fast enough to capture your thoughts so your 20 to 50 words in an outline get turned into a 3000 to a 5000-word article.

Sounds crazy? Sounds too good to be true?

I’ve done it. I’m doing it right now.

I’m dictating this blog post based on a few lines of text and if I’m able to pull this off, so can you.

My secret? I’ve adopted the rituals I’m sharing in this post for faster dictation.

I found out that different rituals work for different people, there is no one size fits all magic bullet solution and no ritual works for all people at all times and in all circumstances.

I’m just going to list down the rituals that worked for me.

Feel free to tweak them and make modifications so you can level up your thinking and speaking speed.

Both of these have to operate together so you can become a very fast and effective dictation speaker.

I don’t care if you are dictating blog posts, articles, novels. video scripts or any other type of content, adopt the right daily speaking rituals and you will be able to level up your speed.

Clear Your Mind

The first ritual that I adopted involves intentionally clearing my mind. I look forward to when I speak in front of a microphone. I make sure that my mind is clear enough, so it can focus on the outline I will be using during the dictation.

To make this happen, I do breathing exercises.

I breathe in slowly and deeply, then I breathe out. When I do this, between the intervals, I enjoy the silence and neither am I worrying about stuff that has yet to happen nor agonizing over things that happened in the past.

My mind is focused like a laser on the present moment.

This enables me to clear whatever emotional obstacles I have in what I’m about to do.

I let go of the fear of saying the wrong word at the wrong time.

I drop my apprehension about bad transcripts because I failed to mention something important.

By clearing my mind, I get a handle on the natural impatience I feel as I scroll through my outline.

All of that goes away and all I have is the present moment and it feels awesome.

Intentionally Clear Your Throat

A lot of people, right before they open their mouths for dictation, inadvertently clear their throat. You have to be intentional – repeatedly clear your throat.

When you do this, your mind aligns with your throat. It’s as if you’re sending a signal to your brain, “I’m about to talk now.”

Boost this link between mind and body by closing your eyes and breathing out.

At first, do this silently but after a few repetitions breathe out with a low hum.

Do this with your eyes closed and focused on the hum.

It’s as if your attention is lined up with what you are doing with your throat and vocal cords and this creates a powerful effect of being centered when you speak.

Do Some Stretching Before You Speak

You can stretch your neck, do some side stretching, or limber up. You can do whatever you normally do before a Zumba session.

Again, you’re trying to align or synch up your body, your mind, and your vocal cords.

All of these have to line up properly so you’re relaxed yet focused enough to dictate at a very high rate of speed with total mental clarity.

You’re just spitting out words for the sake of packing as much text into a transcription.

I’m telling you, if that is your objective you are wasting your time because that transcription is going to be 99% garbage.

You’re going to spend a tremendous amount of time editing that transcript.

It would feel like you are sifting through a mountain of coal just to retrieve tiny bits and pieces of diamonds, it’s not even worth it.

Your mind, your voice, and your body have to line up so you can say the right thoughts at the right time and at the right place to produce a solid gold transcript.

Do Unrecorded Dry Runs

When I first started dictation blogging, I used to hate it when I would unwittingly leave my mic off.

I would belt out horoscopes and even biographies of clients at 150 to 250 words per minute.

I’d look at my outline and see how far down I went. It felt really good and then I looked at my microphone and the red light was off.

That’s how much the sense of failure just overcomes me quickly followed by rage.

That’s how much I hated unrecorded dictations.

Well, it turned out that one of my most powerful daily dictaphone writing rituals is to do unrecorded dry runs.

Just turn off your mic or headset and do a freestyle.

There is no obligation and pressure.

You don’t have to lay out perfect, flawless, and fully-polished sentences, there is no need for that.

When you do unrecorded dry runs, you are clearing your mind of whatever emotional and mental blockages there may be that would slow you down and keep you from dictating clear, powerful, and effective texts.

What I would do is I would read a sentence on my outline and just do a freestyle.

I don’t care where my mind went as long as I’m fully developing the idea and the concept and I have a big picture view of where the outline wants me to go. I’m good.

I also make sure I follow a specific pattern.

I would work on truly fleshing out a clear picture, based on a few words of the outline.

Once I become familiar with the broad parameters of the themes, information, and possible topics in that outline, I start to speed up, explore many different possibilities, and then I mix things up.

I don’t care if I’m going to get it all perfect, because there is no destination. The point is to just get all the blockages out and just let the words and thoughts flow and smash into each other to create new combinations that would inspire me.

I just want to get the firm sense that I’m not a sloppy thinker and that I can see the big picture enough so I can dictate stuff that makes sense once it is transcribed.

As you see, when you’re doing unrecorded dry runs, you are wearing away any emotional objections you may have to what you’re doing.

Let’s face it, writing with your voice or through dictation is not how people normally produce articles, blog posts, and novels.

Most people would prefer using a keyboard or go old-school, pick up a pen, and write on a piece of paper.

I’m not knocking on those, but the more you focus on “what is normal”, the harder you make it on yourself.

So, there are these internal blockages that you just have to workaround.

But by doing unrecorded dry runs, with no emotional attachment or expectation, you blow these out of your system.

Get On The Slippery Slope

Logically speaking, when I do under unrecorded dry runs, I try to make sure I hit a point where I get on a slippery slope.

Usually, when people say the phrase “slippery slope” they are being critical.

This is an old logical fallacy where people assume that if certain conditions are present, then it would always lead to the worst-case scenario.

Most of the time, that doesn’t happen, but people do think this way.

The good news is, you’re using the slippery slope concept in dictaphone writing or writing with a voice recorder to produce clearer thoughts that can be transcribed into quality content.

In other words, you’re intentionally trying to get into a slippery slope because it’s a good thing in this context.

How does this work out? Well, you start with one thought and truly hammer it.

That’s right. You pursue the idea of a full logical conclusion.

You begin with who, what, where, when, how, and then after enough questions are thrown at it and the more you flesh it out, the “Why?” and “How come?” fall into place.

At that point, you finally nail it.

Your next mission is to remember where you began.

Go back to the same thought, and go down another route. This is how you become a more creative thinker.

A lot of people are under the impression that there’s only one way to think of certain topics or ideas.

That’s an illusion.

There’s always at least one other way to look at any kind of idea.

When you’ve fully hammered it using an alternative route, repeat it again and again and again. The great thing about this slippery slope daily dictation ritual is that it forces you to trust yourself.

By understanding that there are no right answers from the get-go, you free yourself from clamping up and feeling stuck. You’re so afraid that you will say the wrong things and the transcript will just be useless so slow down, the ideas dry up, and it’s such a pain to go through the outline.

However, when you practice the intentional act of getting on one slippery slope after another, that fear goes away. You learn to take confidence in your ability to make sense.

Also, one of the biggest payoffs of this warm-up technique is that it also prevents you from editing yourself.

This is the main reason why I switched to dictation blogging.

When I was writing by hand, I couldn’t get things done precisely because I wanted every single word and sentence to be perfect.

I would barely write a paragraph then I would go back to the beginning and scratch everything off because I had this fleeting idea that there’s a better way to write that paragraph.

I would go around in loops like a cat eating its tail.

It was sad and it wasted a lot of time.

But when I took up dictation writing, I learned how to be a more disciplined thinker because once I say something, it’s gone.

It’s going to be transcribed and I have to move on. This pushed me to stop editing myself.

If I’m going to edit myself through dictation, I would repeat the sentence with a slight variation at the end, but that’s pretty much it.

I don’t get stuck in a loop.

Watch Improv Comedy With Audience Participation

Improv comedy and writing through dictation have a lot in common. An improv comic doesn’t know in advance who is going to be in the audience.

Different audiences have different overall personalities and temperaments.

That’s why a comic who performs at a venue with let’s say, three shows a night is just spitting out the same material to three different crowds.

Each performance is precisely different because it is a reflection of each audience’s personality and mood.

This is why watching improv comics work with their audiences is so instructive for people who are learning how to “write with their voice”.

First, check out the banter.

Next. look at how the comic takes a suggestion from the crowd and runs with it.

At this point, I would pause the YouTube video and copy the same tangent of the comic but I will try to verbally flesh out the idea much faster.

I would then repeat it but differently and then I would repeat it and try to go in another direction.

I don’t care if I’m being funny because I’m not an improv comedian.

Instead, I’m a person who works with thoughts and how many different ways you can go with a single starting thought and how thorough the final picture created by your exploration will be.

It all has to be done quickly, with as many words as possible, and it has to make logical sense. I would then unpause after dictating for a few minutes to see what the comic would do next, click the pause button again, repeat the tangent, and try to go much faster.

Once the comedy video is over, I will then dictate the whole act but try to cover more territory and more topics.

Again, I’m not trying to be funny, instead, I’m trying to work using the same improvisational technique as the comic to explore as many different ideas as possible without spitting out gibberish.

Visualize Your Outline

Look at the outline that you’re working with. It may have a few sentences, a handful of words, or it can have complete paragraphs.

It doesn’t matter.

Adopt the daily routine of visualizing the outline.

Make it real in your mind’s eye and complete with vibrant colors, textures, faces, and places.

Once you reach that level of visualization which is fairly quick for most people, start with a big picture.

When you quickly read through your outline, what is the whole point of the topic?

For example, in this blog post, the whole point is to adopt a series of daily rituals that will help you think faster, clearer, and more effective as you do dictation blogging. What is the big picture?

It should jump out at you. If not, read the outline again and again until something pops off. Once you see the big picture, visualize it as best you can. Start with the who, what, where, when, and how.

Once you fill in enough details, start imagining or vision and visualizing the “Why?” and “How come?” When you do this you’ll quickly notice that there’s a large pattern, there’s a theme.

And this theme can be broken and applied to the different points of the outline. Visualize the theme and see how it repeats and works out when given new information.

But the theme remains the same.

I remember when I was dictating a book on buying and selling graphic art services.

The theme was, you would go to Fiverr to figure out who offers the best logos and small banners.

Then, you would find a buyer.

But, this is where the theme keeps repeating itself because there are buyers with healthcare websites.

So you repeat the theme and look for people with the logo skills for healthcare.

Also, some buyers are in the restaurant industry and the same theme plays out.

You go to Fiverr and look for people who have a portfolio related to a particular industry. You repeat this over and over.

The theme is the same – you buy low and sell high.

You look for people with superb graphic art skill sets who charge very little money and the profit is what’s left over when you pay your vendors.

You repeat the process again and again.

This is what happens when you visualize your outline because you zoom in on what remains the same and what is repeated over and over. Again, this can take the form of a paragraph on your outline or just a few words.

But, as long as you can nail the repeating process, you can then improvise and apply it to many different situations.

Thanks to this daily ritual, you can take an outline that started with 20 words and crank out 20,000 words.

If that sounds like a tall order? It isn’t, I’ve done it. Not just once, but many times. I’ve dictated over 200 books using this technique.

The Final Word On Daily Rituals

An ancient Greek philosopher once said, “We are what we repeatedly do.” You can become an expert dictation novelist, blogger, or writer by adopting a “one-time big-time attitude”.

It plays out this way, you realize that you have to write a lot of chapters tomorrow, you cram, whip out your microphone, and install an mp3 recorder or Dragon NaturallySpeaking and just start talking.

What you’re doing is you’re cramming and the stuff that you produced probably needs to be edited tightly for it to be any good.

9 times out of 10, more than 50% of what you’ve dictated has to be edited out due to low quality.

You don’t want to find yourself in that situation, that’s why you need to adopt the daily rituals that I’ve described above. You don’t have to religiously follow each ritual but I ask you to try them all out and stick to the ones that work for you.

Everybody’s different with our different preferences, I get that and I respect that. But start with what I described and stick to the ones that make sense to you.

How would you know? Well, when you adopt these rituals, they help you improve not only how many words you can speak in a certain period, but also the quality of the transcription of that dictation.

Stick to it, and you will eventually get to 20,000 or 50,000 words or wherever you want to go.

It all begins with a decision to start.

I wish you nothing but success.

How to write an amazing blog post fast

Write great blog posts faster

If you figure out how to write a blog post faster, you are one step away from taking your blog to a whole other level. This skill is the key to figuring out how to grow a blog fast.

I don’t care how many links you get, your blog is not going to grow as quickly as you’d like if you don’t have enough content.

Can you imagine pulling a lot of traffic from Google and social media but giving people the same set of content when they arrive at your blog?

They will quickly bounce out; whatever interest people have in what you’re doing is going to fade away.

The bottom line is simple: More content means more potential search engine traffic.

It also means greater opportunities for visitor engagement and developing a genuine community around your content.

The Manual Way of Blogging Is Not Going to Cut It

I started this blog because I was frustrated with how I used to create content. Just like you, I used to type out my stuff. I can only type at a maximum speed of 60 wpm.

This caps me out at 3,600 words per hour.

You might think that’s a lot but if you factor in self-editing, going around in circles, and second-guessing yourself, you’d be lucky to produce a fraction.

Sure, technically, most people would be able to crank out, maybe, 20,000 words per day if they push themselves.

That’s a whole lot of typing. But when you look at how you actually write, getting to that point is all but impossible.

This is why I dictate my blog posts. You can produce a lot more content because you only go through one take. Once you’ve said your point, you move on to the next outline item.

Compare this to how most people write: they write in loops!

They second guess themselves; they think that what they wrote is far from perfect so they keep repeating over and over, and before they know it, they’ve blown through a huge chunk of time.

Also, when you speak at a normal rate you are spitting out 100 to 200 words per minute.

That translates to 6,000 to 12,000 words per hour!

Typing can’t even compare.

You can quickly go from script to script to blast out blog post after blog post.

How to Write Blog Articles Fast Through Dictation

Here is my ten-step process for quick blog post writing using dictation.

Step #1. Split research work from writing

Too many bloggers research while they write.

They would lay down a couple of sentences then they check Google, come across some new info, and then go back to what they were writing.

It can go on and on forever.

It’s also easy to get distracted.

It’s not a shock that people who write this way write very slowly. If you want to figure out how to write a perfect blog in no time, split your research work from your writing task.

Step #2. Split outlining from writing

It’s very tempting to look at your research for your outline and just write it out. You think you’re saving time.

The problem is writing an article for a blog that is worth reading takes a lot more discipline.

You can’t just write straight from your outline because it may be poorly developed.

You might not have enough facts.

The key to fast writing is to do things the right way the first time around.

And you can’t do that when you’re just automatically writing based on your research scribbles you call an outline.

Remember: Pack As Much Useful Info Into Your Outline as Possible

When you are outlining, you’re not fleshing out your ideas.

Instead, you’re trying to get as many different bits and pieces of info and ideas and pack them into a small space.

You have to be disciplined in doing this and one of the best ways to pull this off is to use lists within lists.

This is the key to figuring out how to write an amazing blog post in a short period.

You have to remember that excellent blog posts have nothing to do with formatting or how many pictures you have.

It’s all about the info and the value you pack into a limited space.

Step #3. Use templates to structure your content

A lot of bloggers think that there’s only one way to outline their posts.

They ask themselves how to write a blog post and they think back to the typical posts that they normally read.

They think it’s the only way to go. That is wrong.

Different topics require different structures.

For instance, some topics read well when presented as a list while others come to life if you present them as a story.

Understand that if you want to figure out how to write a blog post worth reading, you have to start with the kind of information you want to get across and fit it into a structure that would make it easier for the reader to understand, appreciate, and engage with what you wrote.

Step #4. Manually edit and tighten your outline

Once you’ve done your research, say, you’ve given yourself 20 minutes to get as much info from your sources, the next step is to manually edit your outline.

This is where you cut out bits and pieces of information that may throw you off.

You want your outline to be tight enough so you can remain focused as you dictate.

Dictate Your Outlines and Edit Hard

One of the fastest ways to come up with many outlines in a short period is to dictate them.

But you’re not just cranking out these outlines because you just want to jack up your numbers.

You also have to tighten these outlines after you’ve gotten them transcribed.

Whether you’re using a transcription app, a specialized speech to text software, or you are working with manual transcribers, you have to sit down and manually edit your outlines.

They have to be very tight.

Step #5. Include prompts in your outline

Writing prompts are time-saving tools and they could also be life-savers.

It’s easy to feel that you’ve gotten way in over your head as you speak through your outline.

You might even get this feeling that you’re talking in loops and wasting a lot of time.

When you include prompts in your outline that are tightly related to that specific subtopic, your finished transcription is going to look so much smoother and will take less time to edit.

Include prompts and you have to do this manually because it’s only after you’ve read your outline several times as you edit it that these prompts will come to mind.

Step #6. Decide on a fixed start time

So many bloggers think that what they’re doing is a hobby.

No wonder they don’t start on time.

They think they can blog when they feel like it. I’m telling you if that’s how you blog, chances are most of your output is going to be mediocre.

There are no two ways about it, you have to look at blogging as a commitment.

Decide on a fixed start time and stick to it. It shouldn’t matter how you are feeling; maybe you woke up on the wrong side of the bed; maybe things haven’t fallen into place.

Well, if you’re going to be waiting for the perfect time to start blogging every single day it’s not going to happen as regularly as you think.

You’re going to find excuse after excuse not to start.

Your feelings shouldn’t matter. Just commit to a start time and do it.

Step #7. Read the end of your outline first

This is important. When you decide to start dictating at a certain time, read your outline for the final time several minutes before you start dictating.

You have to read your outline the right way though.

Start at the end which is usually your conclusion.

What are the big points that you’re trying to wrap up?

Look for these points and the middle. After you have a clear idea of what you’re going to say, you read the intro so you can see how you’re going to position the information.

Extremely Important: Visualize Your Outline

After you’ve quickly read your outline, visualize your outline.

Imagine yourself talking to a crowd or giving a slide presentation.

What should those slides look like? What kind of reaction should you get from the crowd as you talk about the main points?

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to visualization. Everybody imagines different concepts in their unique way.

What’s important is you visualize because this creates a sense of emotional urgency.

What you’re doing is not theoretical; you’re not just going through the motions or some sort of dull, lifeless checklist.

When you emotionally get into what you’re going to talk about, you feel a surge of genuine excitement.

This is one of the keys to figuring out how to write an amazing blog post.

Step #8. Pace yourself

Put minute marks next to each outline section.

This is the time range you give yourself to start and finish that section.

Let me tell you that this is hard to stick to the first few times you try dictation blogging.

But as you get used to your pace and how you visualize and talk about concepts and then move on to the next point, your time ranges become more accurate.

Step #9. Use a free stopwatch or other app and pin it to the top of your recorder or PC

If you have a PC or a tablet device, download a free stopwatch app.

Even if you are dictating your blog post into a digital voice recorder, keep an eye on the countdown in front of you.

You should also look at the time range that you’ve given yourself for each of the points in your outline. Again, don’t expect to do this perfectly the first few times.

But as you get used to this process, the more you will stick to the schedule and speak faster.

When you know that you only have a certain period to get a point across, you become more efficient.

You feel a lot of pressure to think clearly and get the info out efficiently.

Step #10. Focus on completing your ideas and thoughts

Even if you have a clock doing a countdown in front of you, always remember that the key to a great blog article or an amazing blog post is the quality of your output.

This is not a race.

You’re only using the stopwatch and the time ranges to push you away from the normal tendency of bloggers to repeat the same point or to drill down on an unnecessary or trivial point in their outline.

That’s all the counter and time ranges are for.

You have to focus on completing your ideas and thoughts because these are what give your blog posts value.

Use These Best Practices

When you’ve gone through the ten steps above, it seems rough at first. Don’t expect anything different because you haven’t done this before. Why would it seem smooth? Give yourself enough time and space to adjust.

The key is to keep practicing and repeating until you become comfortable with the whole process. It will help you a lot if you follow these best practices.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Don’t think that just because you are dictating your blog posts that you will now crank out 2,000-word blog posts in 20 minutes like clockwork.

You will eventually get there but it’s not going to happen the first few times you follow the ten steps above.

Also, don’t expect the end product to be spotless. You’re going to have to edit. Look forward to the editing process because that’s when you’ll find out what you did right and where your areas of improvement are.

Start On Time

I can’t emphasize this enough. Many bloggers look at dictation blogging as some sort of shortcut. It is not. It’s a different way of writing. Also called dictaphone writing, dictation blogging is all about focus.

But it’s hard to focus if you keep postponing when you start.

Make it a habit to start on time. Again, you shouldn’t expect things to flow smoothly or be perfect.

Just start on time and once you develop that habit, everything will fall into place because you will get the amount of practice you need to fully polish your dictations and increase your output volume and the quality of your work.

Practice Dictation Blogging or Dictaphone Writing Daily

Using a digital voice recorder geared towards voice writing, practice dictating into it around the house.

Set aside 20-minute blocks and just dictate whatever comes to mind.

When you do this, you are accomplishing two things.

First, this process of speaking into a microphone to “write content” won’t seem strange to you.

It will become second nature to you if you keep doing it. You’re not taking a big break from your daily routine.

This removes your emotional objections to dictation.

Believe it or not, this can help loosen up your tongue as you dictate because it wouldn’t intimidate you anymore.

It wouldn’t seem so strange to you.

Second, when you carry around a digital voice recorder you never run out of things to talk about.

If you are a blogger, you know that ideas for blog posts or new blog concepts hit you at all times in many different places.

Most of the time you don’t get a chance to write those things down. With a dictaphone in your hand, you can easily dictate five to ten-minute verbal memos about ideas that came to you throughout the day.

The more you do this, the more focus you are on speaking and you will see the increased quality in your transcripts as you practice.

Take Notes On What You Got Right and Your Areas for Improvement

When you go through your outline and compare it to your transcript, you can instantly see the things you got right as well as the spots where you dropped the ball.

That’s okay. The more you see your areas for improvement, the more you detect patterns.

And before you know it, you start proactively correcting them as you transcribe.

You can also put workarounds to avoid certain dictation problem patterns you have at the outline stage.

Set Your Goal to Zero-Edit Transcriptions

After you’ve gone through the ten steps above a few times, you should set a new goal.

If you’re like a typical blogger, your main goal is to write fast. You just want as much volume as you can so you can grow your blog quickly.

Once you get the hang of dictation blogging, you should focus on quality. This is the key to writing a perfect blog post.

It’s all about the quality of the info that you give people who visit your blog.

The way to do this, of course, is to set your goal to zero-edit transcriptions. Put simply, what you dictate into your podcasting microphone or digital voice recorder, or your computer’s built-in microphone will be the final version. You may be thinking that this is impossible.

I know it’s a tall order right now because you just got started.

But as you go through the ten steps above and you adopt the best practices I shared with you, you will get to the point where every single word is as you intended.

This is a crucial turning point and the good news is you will get there eventually.

The key is to practice.

The Final Word On How to Write Blog Posts Quickly Through Dictation

Writing blog posts that are worth reading is a product of a journey.

You have to commit to this journey that takes place on two levels.

On one level, you need to boost your blog output every day, every week, or every month. At the other level, you have to make sure you’re producing amazing blog posts. For a lot of people, this is all but impossible because they believe you have to choose one over the other.

Thanks to dictation blogging, you can do both.

Dictaphone writing enables you to write whenever inspiration hits you. You also get the opportunity to push your imagination and creativity to a whole other level.

I’ve shared with you the ten steps to effective dictaphone writing that will truly help you write one amazing blog post after another.

How to master dictaphone writing

dictaphone writing

Don’t let the word “dictaphone” throw you off. You might be thinking that this is some sort of device from the 1920s or 1950s.

I don’t blame you for being under the impression that this type of gadget is something from the distant past.

Actually, dictaphones are quite common. They also go by the name ‘digital voice recorders’, ‘voice recorders’, or ‘portable audio recorders’.

They’re light, you can take them from point A to point B without any problems, they also have a very small footprint so you can store them away very conveniently. They don’t take up much space.

A lot of bloggers, writers, and novelists are making things harder on themselves because they believe that they have to be in front of a laptop or, worse yet, desktop computer for them to do their best work.

What if I told you that dictaphone writing can actually help you overcome writer’s block?

In fact, this method of writing novels, short stories, articles, blog posts, and whatever else can help you record as many of your ideas as possible.

Being a writer, you already know that the main challenge you face is not writing. In many cases, the words just fall into place. You just have to have a clear idea of what to write about.

This is where dictaphone writing comes in.

When you use a digital voice recorder to write, you get to capture your ideas. These may be half-baked, fuzzy, or not all that good, but you capture them anyway. When you cut out the rough edges, it may well turn out that these rough ideas can lead to more polished and higher quality ones.

If I’ve gotten you excited in this form of writing, here’s the quick rundown.

What is dictaphone writing?

This form of writing uses a digital voice recorder to write. Instead of using your hand to tap on a keyboard or handle a pen as you write, you speak into a voice recorder, or a small microphone, or even a podcasting microphone.

The next step is to transfer the files. You can either get it transcribed or you can feed it into a speech to text software. Once you get the transcription back, you edit it and you publish.

Why dictate your blog posts, articles, novels, or short stories?

As a blogger, short story writer, article author, or novelist, ideas flow through your mind all the time. You might get excited about an idea and you can’t wait till you get home so you can explore it further.

What happens when you walk through the door? That’s right. You forgot about it already.

When you dictate, you stop storing ideas mentally. You don’t have to risk losing them later. You can just whip out your voice recorder and record quick memos to yourself.

Sure, many of these ideas don’t really lead anywhere, but there are sure to be some diamonds in that pile of coal.

Why risk losing those gems?

Next, when you dictate, you build mental sharpness. You learn how to improvise-a critical life skill. You also learn how to critique your thoughts and express them in their sharpest and most developed form.

Learning how to think quickly on your feet doesn’t just pay off when it comes to writing, you also become a better public speaker and you’re able to level up your one to one conversation skills.

Another reason why you should dictate your content is you polish your self-editing skills. There is no shortage of gifted writers. We all know this. The problem is very few get published and of those, very few become successful.

One of the main reasons for this is the fact that a lot of otherwise highly skilled and promising writers are just stuck in a loop. They’re constantly second guessing themselves, so their manuscript never sees the light of day.

Every time they see their manuscript, they have to start from scratch and it’s an endless process. When you dictate your output, you learn how to get close to the final form of your idea when you speak it out. This is a very valuable skill.

You don’t end up stuck in a loop. You learn how to keep moving forward.

If you write fiction, dictating your character sketches is nothing short of amazing.

You can lose yourself in character development.

You can explore all the character conflicts and personality quirks of your characters.

Once this material is transcribed, you can then cut, mold, and shape the final profile of the character. This saves a tremendous amount of time.

Similarly, if you’re mapping out the plotline for your next short story or novel, it’s so much easier when you’re talking.

You’re not under any pressure, you can explore any nuances in the overall story that you have in mind. It’s as if you’re exploring a movie and it’s an amazing experience because you might not just come up with one plot outline, but several.

Famous writers who dictated their books

Don’t take my word for it. There are lots of famous writers throughout history who dictated their books.

Let’s start with one of the most consequential writers throughout history, the apostle Paul. He spent many years in prison and because of this, a lot of his epistles to the new churches throughout Asia minor as well as other parts of the Greco-Roman world were recorded by a secretary.

He didn’t write the epistles himself. He dictated them.

Another writer who dictated his material is Henry James. He was very famous in the late 1800s. His main claim to fame is the novel “The Bostonian”. Henry James left a big footprint on the intellectual scene of New England.

Turning to more recent times, the author of one of the most controversial books, The Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown, actually dictates parts of his books.

Finally, if you are a big fan of literature, John Milton, the literary giant behind the classic Paradise Lost, dictated his material.

He had to. He was blind.

Don’t ever think that if you choose to “write” with your voice that you’re doing something weird or unusual. You’re definitely going to be in great company.

The pros of using a voice recorder to write

The big advantage of dictaphone writing is once you say it, you get to move on.

There are no second takes, you don’t have to agonize about what you just said, you don’t have to worry about things being perfect. You just say it and you move on.

This is very liberating because you can process a lot more materials in a shorter period of time than if you were just writing and rewriting the same paragraph over and over.

Another thing I love about dictaphone writing is I can write whenever and wherever inspiration hits me.

I don’t even have to use a voice recorder.

I can just whip out my mobile phone, tap on the voice recorder app, and I’m good to go.

I can’t even begin to tell you how many times inspiration hits me when I’m waiting in line at the bank or doing something that is basically wasting time.

Why not turn that “dead time” into something more productive?

Another great benefit of this type of writing is you’re not stuck with one device.

Ideally, you should use a voice recorder. But there are many different devices that you can use depending on where you are.

If you find yourself in front of your laptop at home, you can use a podcasting microphone.

If you’re at work, you can use other recording devices available like a headset.

As long as your recording software remains the same, you don’t have to worry about platform compatibility or transcription issues later on.

Finally, and this is probably my personal favorite, when you write using a dictaphone, your output can actually be transcribed and turned into more than one draft.

This happens to me all the time. I would sit down, thinking I’m just going to dictate a blog post, but it turns out that after the transcription comes back, there’s enough material there for not only several blog posts, but a short book or even a video script or some other goodies.

You can’t get this with traditional writing. You spend a tremendous amount of time focusing on what you want to say and good luck getting more than one draft from the time you invest writing.

The downsides of using a voice recorder

The downside of writing with a dictaphone can be boiled down to a series of annoyances. It’s a question of personal style and preference. Still, these are negatives.

First, you have to transfer the files.

If you’re very busy, you might forget that a device has several dictations on it.

You might have a few gems in there. Sadly, you’ve forgotten them and you just wasted all that time and effort.

Another hassle with this method is you have to have a clear file labeling system. Even if you remember to transfer your files, if they look very similar to each other and you don’t know which is which, you’re back to square one.

It’s very tempting to clear a lot of clutter on your laptop or desktop computer. You have to have some sort of labeling system so you know which recording contains which items.

Next, as exciting as speech to text software can be, it is still clunky. You have to guide it when it comes to punctuation and sentence structure.

In fact, depending on the auto transcription software you use, the transcript can come out very rough.

The first few times I’ve gone that route, I’ve actually had to take the audio and send it to a manual transcriber.

That’s how messed up the automated transcript was.

The downside to manual transcription is you’re using manual labor, which can be expensive.

Thankfully, there are cheaper options, but whenever you ask another human being to transcribe your dictation, it’s going to cost money. Compare that with just feeding your audio through an auto transcription software.

When it comes to dollars and cents, there is no comparison.

The problem is the quality.

Finally, and this can be a deal killer for a few writers, when you write with your voice, you get to write quickly.

After all, most people speak at a rate of 100 to 200 words per minute. That’s a lot of content once you get your audio transcribed.

The problem is you’re going to have to edit that transcript and depending on your speaking habits and how organized you are, going through all those edits can be painfully slow.

Mastering the basics of dictaphone writing

If you need to get to the bottom of effective writing using a dictaphone, follow these tips. The more of these tips you include in your daily dictation routine, the better you will become at this type of writing.

Always work with an outline

This is self-explanatory and it is also non-negotiable. Your outline will keep you disciplined and focus your mind on the message you’re trying to get out.

Be alone or be in a crowd of strangers

Usually when people want to concentrate, they automatically think about being alone. This works for most people.

I, on the other hand, work better when I am surrounded by a crowd of strangers.

Since I don’t know these people and I don’t have any plans of impressing them or trying to prove something, the commotion around me actually forces me to focus on what I have in front of me.

It’s as if I develop tunnel vision and I become more productive.

Now, if I am just alone, sometimes I get distracted and then I end up playing a quick few hands of Facebook poker and fiddling around with my email. It can be a productivity nightmare.

The key here is to focus on what works for you. Most people prefer to work alone, others prefer to be motivated by a crowd of strangers.

Pretend you’re giving a talk

One of the worst things that you could do to yourself when you are dictating blog posts, novels, short stories, and other materials is to pretend you are writing.

Talk about killing productivity.

You’re putting unnecessary pressure on yourself.

When you imagine yourself pretending to give an informative talk, a lot of that pressure is lifted.

Now, you’re free to explore. You can then focus on points in your outline that you’re interested in and the content just writes itself.

You have to remember that for the most part, what’s holding you back is not your intellectual capacity.

What’s preventing you from getting into a state of flow is your emotional reading of what you’re doing. You become self-conscious and before you know it, things become harder than they need to be.

Just pretend you’re giving a talk. An alternative to this is talk like you’re talking to a friend. You’re not trying to prove something.

You’re not trying to showcase how smart you are. You’re just glad that you’re the friend and you just want to share and get stuff across.

If you’re able to stay at that level, the words basically flow, your thoughts crystalize into well formed words, you’re able to say them at an even pace, and before you know it, the piece, whatever it is, is finished.

Visualize each outline talking point and focus on the most obvious

Let me clue you in on a secret. When you speak to a voice recorder, the more “abstract” the ideas you’re talking about seem to you, the slower the words will come.

You can’t quite put your finger on it because you have already imagined it to be more complicated or sensitive.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Just visualize each outline point and talk about the things that jump out at you.

Trust your thoughts to flow

Many writers suffer from an inferiority complex. They think that they’re not all that interesting or they’re slow.

Whatever the case may be, they have a low view of themselves and this gets in the way of their thoughts.

They second guess themselves or the thoughts never really fully develop and crystalize. When they start verbalizing these thoughts, they second guess themselves as to which better way to express themselves.

That’s why they clam up.

Just let your thoughts flow.

Let’s put it this way, assume there is no absolute right answer.

The moment you do this, a lot of the weight is lifted from your shoulders and now, you are free to express yourself because at this point, you’re not going to break the system because there is no absolute rock solid answer.

You can attack the outline point from the side, the top, the basement, it’s your call.

The key is to understand that regardless of how you approach it, it eventually will lead to the same place. So trust yourself.

Fully develop each strand of thought as you read your outline

This might seem complicated, but it isn’t. If you know how to visualize and you know how to ask basic questions, each strand of thought takes care of itself.

If you know how to ask who, what, when, where, how, things start to fall into place.

That’s how you think through each outline item so that when you verbalize it, it is fully fleshed out.

It’s no longer half-baked, incomplete, or obviously defective. At the very least, it makes sense. Commit to moving on once each thought has fully developed.

The problem with the previous step is that a lot of writers, especially those that don’t trust themselves that much, keep piling on thought after thought.

At the back of their minds, they’re thinking “Maybe I missed a detail. Maybe I’m not drilling deep enough.”

As a result, they’re basically stuck on neutral. They are spitting out a lot of words and a lot of this text does add value, but pretty soon, you reach a point of diminishing returns.

When you commit to moving on once you feel or sense that a thought is fully developed, you get yourself out of that pit.

Kind of like a car stuck in mud, when you put that piece of wood under the tire, you can move forward. The same goes with commiting to a sense of completion.

It doesn’t have to be perfect. As long as you feel that it’s complete enough, you move on.

Write short prompts for your outlines

If you’re just starting out dictating your novel or book, one of the most effective ways you can avoid getting stuck in your outline is to write short prompts. This can be the beginning of a sentence or fragments of a conclusion.

Whatever the case may be, they give you some sort of emotional certainty that your outline is not impossible and you can make it through. If anything, the more you get used to your prompts, the less intimidating your outlines become.

Don’t rush to wind up

While you do have to commit to move on once you feel you’ve fully developed your thoughts, don’t put yourself under pressure to wrap things up either.

You’re not running a race. You’re not trying to impress anybody. You’re not trying to showcase how smart you are.

At this point, nobody can see that. Focus on how complete your thoughts are and trust yourself enough to wrap things up.

Never edit yourself as you talk

This is one of the most important skills any voice recorder writer will ever master. You have to make sure that you do all editing at the thought level. In other words, once the thought crystalizes in your mind, pick it apart at that point.

Mix and match. Slice and dice. Do what you have to.

But once you convert that crystal thought into a set of words, trust yourself with that phrase.

Unless it’s obviously wrong, you shouldn’t self-edit.

I know, this isn’t always possible. But the more you practice editing at the thought level, the less hassles you will feel when you verbalize the phrase, fragment, or paragraph.

Otherwise, if you edit yourself at that level, you will get stuck in a loop. You’re going to constantly say the same sentence with a few words different at the end.

It’s as if you’re chasing your tail and you can’t get past a certain part of your outline.

Wait for a feeling or a sense of completion before moving on to the next point

This is where you have to trust yourself. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to build this level of trust unless you practice.

We’re back to the old chicken or egg dilemma.

You have to get started. At first, it can be rough. You feel like giving up because it feels like it’s more trouble than it’s worth.

But as you gain mastery of the concepts in your mind and the words that best express them and how you can string them together into a coherent and powerful statement, you start trusting yourself.

Pretty soon, your sense of feeling or completion becomes more pronounced.

Please understand that this is more of a hunch or a gut feeling than some measurable milestone. Still, anybody can master this. They just have to put in the time and practice.

Three daily exercises that will level up your dictation writing quality

It doesn’t matter if you want to dictate novels, blog posts, articles, short stories, novellas, or any other type of work. By using these 3 daily drills, you can get to where you need to go sooner rather than later.

Dictate your dreams

Most people have dreams. Unless you’re an extreme insomniac, you probably remember your dreams from time to time.

There’s no need to write these down using pen and paper.

Just dictate through a headset mic, recorder or a podcasting microphone.

Just put on your reporters hat and focus first on who, what, where, when, and how. Once you get the basics down, you can then slice and dice your memory of the dream to make its vivid impact come to life.

Again, you’re not trying to prove anything here.

You don’t have an objective.

You’re just trying to familiarize yourself with the process of organizing your thoughts as they appear and stringing them together into a logical form that you can express effectively.

Dictate using Reddit writing prompt subreddits

Regardless of what genre of writing you’re into, there are subreddits that have amazing collections of writing prompts.

These are phrases or fragments of paragraphs that are supposed to get your creative juices flowing.

The key to this is to not cherry pick them.

Personally, I would just go down the list. I don’t care if it’s science fiction, suspense, or if it’s a thriller.

I just read the prompt a few times and then I start speaking out onto my microphone how I see the prompt progress from scene to scene.

It’s important to assume that these prompts are not complicated, difficult, or written by some sort of literary genius.

If you think along those lines, you’re going to end up sabotaging yourself.

You’re not doing yourself any big favors by imposing all this unnecessary difficulty on what you’re doing.

Just assume that they’re written by random members and that you can dictate off the top of your head. Always remember, there are no right or wrong answers when it comes to prompts.

The only thing you are aiming for is removing all the limits to your personal creativity and letting all your firepower out onto this small paragraph.

Fully flesh it out.

Watch improv comedy

This is my personal favorite when it comes to leveling up my dictation skills. When you watch a master comic do improv, you basically get exposed to all the skill sets you need to become an effective dictaphone writer. No joke.

When you watch an improv comic, you’d notice that they would pay attention to the atmosphere of the crowd. Every crowd is different. So they would sit back and absorb the vibe.

Then they would get started, and this part is probably the only part that is rehearsed or somehow “canned”.

Everything else flows from the energy that they receive and bounce back to the audience.
This is how you can tell whether an improv speaker or comedian is any good because the more the crowd laughs or asks questions, the more they change.

It’s like an intricate dance between the signals being sent out by the comic and the crowd. It’s like a conversation.

When you understand this dynamic, you can then start developing the same relationship with your thoughts because they’re not there to dominate you or they’re not so elusive that you can’t catch them.

Instead, you develop a healthier relationship with how your thoughts flow and how you can channel, shape, and mold them into words that pack a lot of meaning.

The Final Word On Dictaphone Writing

Don’t expect to master the art of writing with a dictaphone overnight. It takes practice.

The good news is by being prepared and having the right mindset, a lot of the emotional intimidation goes away.

Again, I hate to repeat myself, but the number one obstacle to your success as a dictation writer or blogger is not intellectual-it is emotional!

If you’re reading this, you already have what it takes to be a successful blogger, novelist, writer, or pundit. What’s holding you back is emotional.

There’s nothing to fear.

Just dive in and enjoy the ride.

Need the right gear to take your writing output and quality much higher? Check out my review of the best digital voice recorders for writing.

How to save files from a voice recorder to your computer

The first thing you need to do is use the DEVICE USB cable to connect to a PC via the USB port—double-tap to choose when a menu is visible, stating OPEN. Then, emphasize the data recorded via LONG PRESS and drag until it is all highlighted. You then DUPLICATE ALL recorded data saved in the device to the PC.

You can BACKUP original audio data recorded in the unit to a database drive network. Also, avoid employing Special Characters in renaming data. Remove the data saved for your recordings’ privacy protection, if any, and always secure a DUPLICATE copy of the original data when editing audio to retrace if needed.

Windows users:

For Windows users, you can utilize a specific USB cable provided for the device to link into a Windows PC via its USB port. On the PC screen, a notification will pop-up saying that it recognizes the new device. You can then remove the new device connected by tapping its symbol as seen below on your PC screen.

MAC users:
For MAC users, you can drive in a USB cable of a voice recorder to connect to your MAC PC. A successful connection will be recognized and will appear at FINDER/UTILITIES/APPLICATION. You can then remove new connected devices found in the FINDER icon below or by dragging to TRASH.

File Transfer instructions for the 20 Most Popular Digital Voice Recorder Models
(NOTE: Not in any particular order)

1. Sony PCM-D100 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony PCM-D100 voice recorder files to your computer

First, you link the device or Linear PCM USB cord into a personal computer via a USB port until it’s successfully identified. Duplicate the data from the Linear PCM device/external disk to transport into a personal computer. The indicator access light mode must be OFF while transporting files. You can then remove the Linear PCM device USB cable from its USB channel on the personal computer.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from a Sony PCM-D100 voice recorder to your computer

You have to attach the device or Linear PCM USB cord into a PC via a USB port and wait until it is recognized successfully. Duplicate the voice recording files from Linear PCM device/external disk to transport into a PC. Linear PCM can amass a maximum of 400 folders, with 199 RECORDS each folder. Lastly, drive out the Linear PCM device USB cable from its USB port on the personal computer.

NOTE: The ‘CONNECTING’ notification stays visible on its Linear PCM device while linked to a personal computer.

How to duplicate data into another folder

Choose the data to be replicated then, under menu OPTIONS, choose COPY/MOVE data and press the enter button. Choose from the arrow DOWN/UP then TAP the play button. The PC monitor states PLEASE WAIT while duplicating data into its binder destination.

2. Evistr L157 transfer to computer

How to transfer Evistr L157 voice recorder files to your computer

Attach the USB cord of the Evistr L157 device into the personal computer via its port of USB in which it must identify its successful device attachment. Locate the Evistr L157 hard drive into the personal computer. Then, duplicate the data saved in its device folder directly into a PC and then safely remove its USB cord attached to the personal computer.

NOTE: Once the device has been attached to a personal computer, avoid pressing any buttons.

3. Zoom H1n transfer to computer

How to transfer Zoom H1n voice recorder files to your computer

Zoom H1n device USB cord may be attached to a PC through the USB port. Tap the arrow DOWN/UP keys visible on the device monitor. Choose the Card reader and tap Enter. Pilot data from the device’s external memory to transport into the personal computer. Duplicate data that is to be transported to the personal computer. From the device monitor, press exit. When finished, detach its USB cord safely from the personal computer.

4. Olympus WS-852 transfer to computer

How to transfer Olympus WS-852 voice recorder files to your computer

The Olympus WS-852 USB cord is associated with a PC through its USB connector, immediately detected. It will come into view as DRIVE and into the PC emerges its device folder. Launch either FOLDER_A to FOLDER_E under device folder data that are to be transported into the personal computer. Duplicate data saved in the device onto the personal computer. Then, eject the device USB cord securely into the PC.

5. Zoom H4n Pro transfer to computer

How to transfer Zoom H4n Pro voice recorder files to your computer

Switch OFF Zoom H4n Pro voice recorder and link its cord into a PC. Switch ON when its USB cord is attached until it is recognized. The OPTION will appear, and then you can choose the USB. Select STORAGE under its USB folder, then press CONNECT. Click OPEN so you can scrutinize the data.
You can then double-tap so you can initiate FOLDER_01 under a STEREO folder. Duplicate data that is about to be transported into the personal computer. EJECT its device safely subsequently after transferring data into the PC.

6. Olympus WS-853 transfer to computer

How to transfer Olympus WS-853 voice recorder files to your computer

Link the Olympus WS-853 device into your personal computer via a USB Cable. The USB cord of the recorder will instinctively come into view as an external device. The device folder will show up on your PC monitor. You can then open either FOLDER_A or FOLDER_E under device folder data that should be transported into the PC. Duplicate data saved in the device into the personal computer. Finally, EJECT Olympus WS-853 into the PC safely.

7. Tascam DR-05X transfer to computer

How to transfer Tascam DR-05X voice recorder files to your computer

Connect its USB connector into the PC USB access entry and choose the DR-05X drive. Folders and data from MUSIC or UTILITY will then come into view. You can now select a folder where data is stored and choose data that are to be transported. Tap its BACK button and detach its device into a PC. The device drive now is safely removed from your PC.

What other things can I do if a voice recorder is associated with a PC?

Create a SUBFOLDER under MUSIC up to TWO subfolders only. Rename subfolders that will come into view on the unit monitor.

NOTE: The PROPER procedures must be followed for removing or ejecting the device safely.
UNMOUNT device then TAP the return key and then click to disconnect and return to the MAIN screen.

8. Zoom H2n transfer to computer

How to transfer Zoom H2n voice recorder files to your computer

Attach the Zoom H2n USB cord into a personal computer via a USB access entry. Tap the OPTIONS key going back to the MAIN options. Then, choose under the USB option the SD CARD READER, then tap its PLAY button. The device’s external disk will come into view on a personal computer screen. You can then locate data from either the STEREO or FOLDER01. DUPLICATE data that ought to be transported. Finally, eject the Zoom H2n device safely.

9. Tascam DR-40X transfer to computer

How to transfer Tascam DR-40X voice recorder files to your computer

Link the Tascam DR40X USB cord into the USB access entry of the personal computer, then choose its DR-40X drive. Folders UTILITY or MUSIC will then appear. Next, choose the FOLDER where data is collected and is about to be transported. Select DATA stored to transport. You can now duplicate the data contained in Tascam DR-40X to a PC. Tap its BACK key on your device and unmount it. Lastly, safely remove Tascam DR-40X into PC once transmitted.

When a voice recorder is attached to a PC, what other things can I do?

Navigate or create a SUBFOLDER under its MUSIC folder. Create until TWO subfolders only. Rename subfolders that will come into view in its UNIT monitor.

NOTE: The PROPER steps must be followed in removing or ejecting the device safely. UNMOUNT device then TAP the return key. Click to disconnect, then return to its MAIN screen.

10. Sony ICD-SX2000 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony ICD-SX2000 voice recorder files to your computer

Connect the Sony ICD-SX2000 USB cord into the personal computer USB channel. The latter must identify its IC device USB cord for successful attachment. The device monitor reads CONNECTING while attached on a personal computer. Duplicate data that is to be transferred in an IC device SD Card into the PC. Remove its IC device or external drive safely into a PC if the signal display did not light up.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from Sony ICD-SX2000 voice recorder to your computer

Associate your IC voice recorder USB cord into the personal computer USB channel in which it must be identified for successful attachment. Note that the device monitor reads CONNECTING while attached on a personal computer. Duplicate the folder covering VOICE RECORDING data saved in its IC device and SD Memory disk into the PC. IC devices will collect data until 5,000 folders as it duplicates 199 data per folder. Lastly, DISCONNECT OR EJECT the IC device from your workstation.

Steps for data duplication into another folder:

First, choose the data to be duplicated. Under menu OPTIONS, select COPY/MOVE data, then TAP the Enter button. To pick, tap its arrow DOWN/UP then, press the enter key. A personal computer monitor will state PLEASE WAIT while duplicating data into its folder destination.

NOTE: Signal display must not light up to remove the external drive safely. Employ a USB cable provided for the IC device to assume that its IC device has malfunctioned directly into the personal computer USB channel.

11. Zoom H5 transfer to computer

How to transfer Zoom H5 voice recorder files to your computer

PRESS the Zoom H5 device power button on, then click arrow UP or DOWN in choosing the USB. Select its external memory reader under USB, then link the Zoom H5 device into the personal computer employing its USB cord. Duplicate the data or folders that are to be transported from the Zoom External Memory into a personal computer. Finally, remove the USB cord safely from the personal computer, then press its device switch button.

REMINDER: The above steps must be adhered to before ejecting the USB cord to prevent damage to data or folders saved.

12. Sony ICD-PX333 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony ICD-PX333 voice recorder files to your computer

Link the IC device USB cord into its USB channel in the personal computer and wait until it is identified as a successful attachment. The Sony ICD-PX333 monitor reads CONNECTING if attached to a personal computer. You can then duplicate data or folders that are to be transported from the IC device/External Memory drive to a PC. Lastly, EJECT the IC device safely from the PC USB channel if the warning light did not turn on.

Steps in renaming folders

Connect the IC device USB cable into its USB channel on the personal computer. The same will identify successful connections on its IC device USB cord. Then, choose stored data under the HOME option and TAP the enter key. Click the arrow UP or DOWN in choosing FOLDERS, and then tap the enter key. You can then select BUILT-IN-MEMORY or EXTERNAL DISK located in its folders’ window and tap the arrow UP or DOWN in choosing folders that you want to rename.

Choose CHANGE FOLDER NAME that is visible under OPTION. Press the arrow UP or DOWN in choosing the FOLDER NAME, and then click the enter key. After renaming the data or folder, PLEASE WAIT will be visible in the IC monitor until successfully renamed.

NOTE: Employ the USB cable provided for an IC device to assume that the device has malfunctioned when directly attached to a personal computer USB channel.

13. Sony ICD-UX533F transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony ICD-UX533F voice recorder files to your computer

Attach the USB cord in the IC device onto the personal computer USB channel and determine if the IC device USB cord is recognized. Note that the device monitor exhibits CONNECTING when attached to a personal computer. Duplicate the data or folders saved in an IC device/External Memory drive to a PC. The signal display must not light up to remove its external drive safely.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from Sony ICD-UX533F voice recorder to your computer

Attach the USB cord to its IC device on a personal computer USB channel. It must determine its IC device USB cable. The device monitor will read CONNECTING when attached on a personal computer. Duplicate the data or binder comprising VOICE RECORDING files saved in an IC device/external memory drive on a PC. IC devices store up to 400 folders and are capable of replicating until 199 data per folder.
For a unit’s safe removal from the PC, a warning sign must not show up.

14. Roland R-05 transfer to computer

How to transfer Roland R-05 voice recorder files to your computer

First off, you must press the switch button on your personal computer. SLOT IN the external memory disk into the Roland R-05 device. Tap the start button, and OPTION will come into view on the device monitor. Tap any of the [MENU] [FINDER] several times to access its central monitor. Then, link the USB cord of Roland R-05 on a personal computer.

Navigate the FOLDER to determine which data are saved and are for transference. Next, choose data to be duplicated in the device on a PC. After replicating or transporting data on a PC, safely eject its USB cord.

What things must you do while a USB cord in a voice recorder is attached to a PC?

Firstly, you must prevent moving the USB cord copper parts. See to it that its external memory disk is firmly set in the slot. Otherwise, it appears as NO DISK INSERTED. Ensure that OPTIONS wasn’t confirmed, or you avoid playing back the taping because its disk drive would be unidentified. Lastly, you can eject safely the USB cord connecting Roland R-05 into the PC, then DRIVE out or repeat the method from step 3.

15. Sony PCM-D10 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony PCM-D10 voice recorder files to your computer

Attach the Linear PCM USB FORM-C cord into the personal computer USB channel using the USB FORM-C cable. Do this to recognize its Linear PCM device for successful attachment. Duplicate the data or folder that needs to be transported from the Linear PCM or External SD drive to a personal computer. After the transfer is completed, you can eject the device USB FORM-C cord from the personal computer USB FORM-C channel.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from Sony PCM-D10 voice recorder to your computer

Link the Linear PCM USB FORM-C cord into the PC USB channel employing a USB FORM-C cable. It must detect its Linear PCM device for successful attachment. You can then duplicate the data or folder containing VOICE RECORDINGS data saved in its REC_FILE folder or MUSIC folder. Linear PCM is capable of collecting 5000 folders, and it can duplicate up to 199 data per folder. When you’re done, you can eject the USB FORM-C cable provided for Linear PCM devices from its PC USB FORM-C channel.
REMINDER: Linear PCM monitor exhibits the label CONNECTING while attached on a personal computer.

What constraints are there for the Linear PCM voice recorder?

Data stored must be at a maximum allocated period only. Also, the data from voice recordings are not played and presented in any order. Data stored will be spontaneously separated. Encoded letters will again come into view in uppercase, and an illegible symbol in its folder/artist/data is stored. The obtainable period of a recording will shorten once data are separated.

16. Sony ICD-SX712 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony ICD-SX712 voice recorder files to your computer

Put in the IC device USB connector on a PC USB channel and wait until it recognizes its IC device USB cord to link. The Sony ICD-SX712 voice recorder window reads as CONNECTING while attached to a PC. As it does, you can now duplicate folders or data in its external disk drive or IC device to a PC to transmit. After the transfer, you can now disconnect its IC device or USB Mass disk safely from the personal computer USB channel once the light mode is OFF.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from Sony ICD-SX712 voice recorder to your computer

Insert the IC device USB connector on a personal computer USB channel once recognized to connect. The Sony ICD-SX712 device window reads as CONNECTING while attached to a personal computer. You can then duplicate the data or folder comprising VOICE RECORDINGS data saved in its IC recorder/SD Memory disk on a PC. Detach the IC device or external drive safely from the personal computer once the signal light turns off. The previously saved voice recording is now moved to your PC.

From its IC device BUILT-IN-MEMORY organizer

Data is saved spontaneously in VOICE under its IC device. Under its VOICE folder are FOLDER_01, FOLDER_02, FOLDER_03, FOLDER_04, FOLDER_05, respectively. Folders to be transmitted to a PC are also organized accordingly under its MUSIC folder or PODCASTS.

From an External hard disk of Sony ICD-SX712 organizer

Data is collected immediately in its PRIVATE folder. You can OPEN the Sony folder under its PRIVATE folder, and the VOICE folder will be visible under its SONY folder having FOLDER_A, FOLDER_B, FOLDER_C, FOLDER_D, FOLDER_E, labels respectively. Folders to be transported to a personal computer are also organized accordingly under its MUSIC folder or PODCASTS.

NOTE: It would show as UNKNOWN if the data saved has no NAME or ARTIST name.

17. Sony ICD-PX470 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony ICD-PX470 voice recorder files to your computer
The first thing to do is attach the IC device USB connector to a personal computer USB channel. Then the same must recognize its IC device USB cord to join. The device screen reads as CONNECTING when it is still attached to a personal computer. You can then start duplicating the data or binders that ought to be transported in the IC device or external memory disk on a personal computer.
Once the light mode is OFF, you can safely remove the IC voice recorder or its USB Mass disk.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from Sony ICD-PX470 voice recorder to your computer

Initially, you connect the IC device USB cable to a personal computer USB channel wherein the latter must recognize the USB cord’s IC device to join. The device pane will read CONNECTING when attached to a PC. You can then duplicate the data or binder comprising voice recordings data saved in its REC_FILE or MUSIC folder. IC devices are capable of collecting 5000 folders, and they can copy 199 data in one folder. When the light mode is OFF, detach the Sony ICD-PX470 voice recorder from the personal computer USB channel.

Information on saved data before transporting to a personal computer

Data saved in the folder REC_FILE will come into view under Recorded files. On the other hand, the MUSIC folder falls under Music. See to it that it is visible in its REC_FILE folder or MUSIC folder upon transporting data. Renamed data would aid in recognizing folders so they are quick to locate. The IC device can identify eight stages from transported AUDIO folders. However, IC devices are incapable of identifying either folder or data collected in some folder organizer stages.

18. Sony ICD-PX440 transfer to computer

How to transfer Sony ICD-PX440 voice recorder files to your computer

First, link the Sony ICD-PX440 device USB connector to your computer USB channel until it recognizes its IC device USB connection. Its device window reads as CONNECTING when attached to a personal computer. You can then transport data or folders from the IC device or external memory disk to a personal computer. The signal light must be off before you can safely remove the external memory disk drive or its IC device.

What are the limitations of IC Devices?

Voice recordings are neither played nor presented in the right order. Illegible symbols also will come into view as binder/artist. Moreover, stored data will have a maximum allocated time, and data stored will be separated spontaneously. Encoded letters should also be in uppercase.

19. Sony ICD-UX560F file transfer

How to transfer Sony ICD-UX560F voice recorder files to your computer

Attach the IC device USB cord to your computer USB channel and wait until recognized for successful attachment on its IC device cord. The device pane reads as CONNECTING when it is still attached to a PC. If all goes well, you may now transport and duplicate data or folders in its IC device or an external memory disk to your PC. The warning light must be off to eject the IC cord and external memory disk drive safely.

How to transfer VOICE RECORDING files from Sony ICD-UX560F voice recorder to your computer?

Connect the IC device USB cord to your computer USB channel and wait until there is a successful attachment to the IC voice recorder connector. You can then duplicate and transport the data covering VOICE RECORDINGS saved in its REC_FILE folder or MUSIC binder. IC devices are capable of storing 5000 folders then they can copy until 199 data into one folder. Take note that the indicator light must be off to detach the external Memory disk drive or IC voice recorder from your personal computer safely.

Information on data stored before transporting to a personal computer:

Data collected appears in the Recorded files under its REC_FILE folder. On the other hand, a MUSIC folder saves under MUSIC. Upon transporting data, see to it that it is visible in its REC_FILE folder or MUSIC binder. Through renaming, recognizing folders will be easier, and files are quicker to find. The IC device can identify eight stages from transported AUDIO folders. However, IC devices are incapable of identifying either folder or data collected in some folder organizer stages.
Note that in the Sony ICD-UX560F organization, the folders or data in its BUILT-IN-MEMORY are under REC_FILE that has FOLDER_01 or RADIO_01.

20. Olympus VN21PC transfer to computer

How to transfer Olympus VN721PC voice recorder files to your computer

Transporting data via device INTERNAL storage

Attach the device via USB cord to a personal computer USB channel and it will immediately be detected then come into view as DISK-DRIVE. IC devices have five folders that will show up in the PC monitors as FOLDER_A, FOLDER_B, FOLDER_C, FOLDER_D, and FOLDER_E, respectively. Duplicate data saved in either of the folders in its IC device internal storage will be transported to the PC.

Renaming data beforehand in duplicating or transferring is okay by selecting under OPTIONS, RENAME. Eject the USB cable safely from the personal computer USB channel. Press its SWITCH button OFF in the IC voice recorder.

Transporting data via IC device MICRO external disk

Link the device via the USB cord on a personal computer USB channel and, it will immediately be recognized then will come into view to be a REMOVABLE drive. Then, navigate into RECORDER under REMOVABLE drive. IC devices have five folders that come into sight in the PC monitors as FOLDER_A, FOLDER_B, FOLDER_C, FOLDER_D, and FOLDER_E, respectively.

Choose the IC device folder to replicate
Renaming files beforehand in duplicating or transferring is okay by choosing under OPTIONS, then RENAME. Remove the USB cord safely from a PC, then click its SWITCH button OFF in the IC voice recorder.

REMINDER: Check the LED device indicator light before removing the Olympus VN21PC USB cord from the personal computer because it exposes your data to damage.

30 Most Common Manual Transcription Mistakes

30 most common transcription mistakes

If you’re dictating your blog posts, novels, books, articles, and any other type of written content, you have to turn your audio into text. As I’ve covered in other posts in this blog, you have several options available to you.

In this post, I’d like to focus on dictation bloggers and writers who want to hire manual transcribers. Generally speaking, this is called intelligent verbatim transcription.

You’re not asking them to completely rework or reorganize your output. You’re not asking them to make stylistic or editorial substantive changes. Instead, you just want them to weed out your “uhh” and “ahh” and obvious grammatical mistakes.

You also want them to be intelligent enough to figure out when you’re editing yourself or simply reiterating a passage that you just dictated. Make no mistake, if you are looking for the highest quality transcription, without tripping yourself up in terms of dictation speed, intelligent verbatim transcription is the way to go.

This is my personal preference. I understand that other writers would rather dictate into their mobile phone straight into a speech to text transcription app. I covered that in another post as well. I even listed out the top 20 voice recorder apps that you could use.

You could then plug those apps into automated transcription. Here’s a little bit of warning though. As somebody who has tried digital transcription, I can safely say that that method of turning speech to text has a long way to go. It definitely needs work.

I’m dictating this blog post right now and my transcriber is intelligent enough to know what the natural breaks in the dictation is. My transcriber can also detect any emphasis that I may be placing on certain words.

This goes a long way in setting up effective sentence construction. Also, I don’t have to worry about pausing and saying “exclamation mark” and “period” at the end of every sentence because my transcriber knows when to naturally put punctuation.

In fact, by just listening to my tone of voice, they would know the difference between a period, a question mark, or, in rare cases, an exclamation point. Not so with automated transcription technology.

They do have their place, but if you are dictating a 700 to 900 page epic novel like I did, intelligent verbatim transcription is the way to go. With that out of the way, here are the top 30 most common manual transcription mistakes transcribers make.

Whether you are hiring a transcriber to do intelligent verbatim transcription or some other type of speech to text work, pay close attention to how they handle these mistakes.

If you see them committing the same errors over and over, you might want to ask their project manager to tighten up the quality. But if the issues continue, you might want to switch to another service.

The 30 most common manual transcription mistakes

Mistake #1: Inaccurate transcription

Let’s face it, the English language is very tricky. At first blush, when you say these words very quickly, they seem to be the same. You have to read the context to get the right spelling. I can say “seem” and then “seam”.

Since you’re reading this, you know these are 2 totally different words applied to completely different contexts. But when you’re listening to speech audio, they sound the same. The same goes with having “seen” something and arriving at a “scene”.

If you’re reading these sentences, the correct spelling jumps out at you. But if you’re just listening to it and you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to mistake “seen” with “scene”. I wish these were the only 2 words that sound very similar in English. But there are tons of them.

This is why it’s really important to look at your transcript, no matter how quickly, once you get it back from your transcriber.

Mistake #2: Bad basic grammar

As much as possible, you should outsource your transcription work to people who have a good command of the English language. By doing so, you can rest assured that they at least have a working knowledge of proper capitalization, spelling, and punctuation.

Sadly, even an experienced transcriber can still screw this up. Again, you have to go through an extra quality control step. Maybe you should tell them to plug their work into online tools like Grammarly or some other free online grammar checker.

When it comes to misspelling, this is a very easy problem to spot. But punctuation can be quite tricky especially if the person is a complete newbie. Capitalization rules are also pretty straightforward, but again, people do make mistakes especially if they’re rushing through a transcription.

One simple trick that I use is to plug in the transcribed text into Google Docs. Google Docs uses artificial intelligence to detect errors. When you see a blue underline under a text and it’s not hyperlinked, there’s something wrong with that text.

Click on it and you will see Google Doc’s recommended grammatical correction. Sadly, not all its recommendations are 100% accurate. There is such a thing as a false positive grammar detection error with Google Docs.

This is where you use your basic English skills to see if the recommendation makes sense or not. When it comes to misspellings, on the other hand, Google Docs is pretty straightforward. If you see a word with a red line underneath it, it is spelled wrong.

9 times out of 10, you can just go with the recommended change and it would be absolutely correct.

Mistake #3: Paraphrasing or rearranging the speaker’s words

This is a big no no. As much as possible, manual transcribers who are doing intelligent verbatim transcriptions must stick to the text as dictated by the speaker. In other words, they have to follow the form and the order of the text being dictated.

If they were to take portions of sentences and mix them around, it’s going to throw the whole paragraph or sentence out of whack. 9 times out of 10, it’s not going to make any sense. Sometimes, I do instruct my transcriber to rearrange portions when I know that I missed a step.

For example, when I’m dictating product reviews, sometimes I overlook key benefits to the customer and I have to go back. Instead of dictating the whole thing, I would say to the transcriber “Please take this portion” and I would specify which section it is, “and plug it into a section after a subheading.”

Generally speaking, your transcriber would know what to do and take care of the issue. But that’s probably the only situation where rearranging or paraphrasing would make sense. Otherwise, they’re not doing a good job if they just completely override your judgement.

You’re the writer. They’re the transcriber. These are 2 totally different roles.

Mistake #4: The transcriber adds additional information

If you’re a blogger getting paid by publishers on a per word basis, you might think this is a good thing. After all, when it comes to writing for money, the more, the merrier, right? Not necessarily.

When the transcriber makes it a habit to almost always add additional information, this makes your job harder. You’re going to have to drop whatever you’re doing, read the transcription from beginning to end, and make sure that whatever was added actually added value to the transcription.

Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen. If anything, it adds confusion or it takes your train of thought in the text to a different direction. That’s not always a good thing. To minimize any of that unnecessary hassles, insist on your transcription service provider to focus on what’s in the audio.

There’s no need to add additional information. If, for example, you’re dictating a legal brief for an attorney client, it’s on you if you missed a key fact and the transcriber is under no obligation to step in and try to plug that hole.

The same goes with a novel. I know, I’ve made this mistake several times before. I’m in page 500 trying to flesh out the character and bring color to the conflict, but I would overlook a very important detail that the transcriber has already covered and transcribed on page 200.

The person should just transcribe what I dictate. They know full well that I missed a very important fork, maybe it’s logical, maybe it’s an emotional development, maybe it’s some sort of psychological revelation that can prove crucial to the story line, but that’s on me.

I dropped the ball and I have to deal with the circumstances. This is much better than just giving your transcriber a blank check to plug in additional information. First of all, they’re not getting paid enough to do that because that’s high level editorial stuff, and second, it would probably trigger all sorts of issues with the final work.

So it’s much better to just set clear rules and boundaries with your transcriber regarding additional information.

Mistake #5: Mislabeling speakers

As I’ve written in this blog before, one of the fastest and most powerful ways you can create free content is through recording interviews. That’s right. Just go to all the conventions that you can in your field and interview experts.

A lot of these experts would love to talk their heads off because it shows how much they know and they are promoting their brand by talking to you. It doesn’t matter how small your outlet or audience may be, the more they drill down into that specialty niche market audience, the stronger their brand becomes.

It’s a win-win situation. The problem is when you are interviewing different people at the same time, the transcriber might mislabel the speakers. Believe it or not, a lot of people have similar sounding voices. You have to really lean closely and pay close attention to the audio.

As the person who recorded this material, you wouldn’t have a problem because you know who’s who. They were in front of you when they were talking. Maybe they’re talking on top of each other, but you know who was who.

Good luck trying to figure that out if you’re the transcriber. It’s really important to make sure that you deal with a company that filters or trains transcribers so they can accurately label speakers. This goes a long way in making sure you collect all the streams of content from many different sources during a group interview.

You can then have these transcribed and you can filter these out yourself and have it edited later and you have yourself a nice stack of content.

Mistake #6: Time stamp inaccuracies

This usually applies to transcriptions of meetings and multiple speakers. This also applies to transcriptions that are either going to be used in court or crossed referenced.

This is usually not that big of a deal when it comes to transcribing blog posts, articles, novels, and other creative works. But this can be an issue especially if you need to refer back to the audio and correlate it with the transcribed text.

If you can’t do that, that’s going to be a problem.

Edited transcription mistakes

In the following series of errors, I’m going to cover edited transcriptions. This is a very different type of service compared to intelligent verbatim transcriptions.

Edited transcriptions require the transcriber or editor of the transcript to make some judgment calls as to how to condense ideas or to reword certain concepts throughout the transcription so it makes better sense.

For the most part, this doesn’t really apply to dictation blogging because depending on how aggressive the editor is, a lot of your personality as well as your unique point of view can eithter be watered down or completely cut out.

But there is definitely a market for edited transcription in other industries, but not necessarily in creative work. Still, I’m going to cover it here because these types of mistakes are quite common and should be detected and fixed.

This is especially true if you don’t really care much about putting your personal stamp in your output. Maybe you just want to get as much content out there, so you hire companies that do edited transcriptions.

Be on the lookout for these problems.

Mistake #7: The general idea of the text isn’t properly maintained throughout the whole transcription

This usually happens when a significant portion of the dictation is reworded or cut up and placed in other parts. What happens then is what should’ve been a point of clarification that kind of recaps or reiterates what the whole piece was about is missing.

This is not a problem if the transcribed piece is, let’s say 1,000 words. Usually, people can follow an idea close enough to maintain some sort of consistency of meaning even though there’s some confusing passages.

But this issue can definitely blow up if you’re talking about a very big piece of text like a novel or a novella or a very long blog post. This is why it’s really important to make sure that key sentences are not only left in, but also emphasized through bold font or some sort of formatting device.

Mistake #8: Transcribing unfiltered verbatim

The main reason why you’re hiring an edited transcription company is for them to provide you with a very polished product. Many eyeballs have gone through the text. They have filtered out problematic parts and restructured them to preserve your idea.

In fact, if done well, edited transcription can produce an end product that is much better than you originally visualized. That does happen. You know there’s a problem when the transcriber includes gaps in the conversation and they transcribe mumbling or “uhh”, “ahh”, and other gibberish.

Usually, this is not acceptable. But there is space for this when you are dictating dialogue. I’ve done this before where there are several awkward moments between characters.

By keeping such verbal “tics” in the dialogue, you play up the conflict and tension between the characters. This can be effective, but generally speaking, in terms of edited transcription, it doesn’t make sense and it degrades the quality of the transcription.

Mistake #9: Failing to match the tone of the dictation

If you’re getting transcription work done in a foreign country where a lot of people speak English as a second language, you have to be careful about tone. A lot of ESL speakers have great English skills. The challenge is when English is taught overseas, it’s usually not taught in the colloquial context.

Instead, they learn it in an academic setting. So don’t be all that surprised when the transcription comes back and parts of it reads like a term paper. This is okay if your dictation is formal in tone. Maybe you’re talking about scientific research or you’re dictating a term paper for a client.

But if you are dictating a blog post on a review of stereo electronics, that’s going to be a problem. Generally, when people read reviews or other forms of consumer content, they get turned off by overly formalistic tones.

Make it a point to hire a transcriber or transcription agency who are staffed by people who can tell just by the way you dictate the overall tone that you’re looking for. Usually, if you start speaking in slang or using colloquialisms, they will pick up that this is an informal type of transcription. But you can’t be too sure.

Tone is important. Look at the transcription and make sure that it fits the tone that your audience is used to.

Mistake #10: Stammering, false starts, and gaps are included in the transcription

The reason why you’ve hired an edited transcription service company is that you’re looking for something that is smooth, flawless, and ready for publication. You might also have hired them for their editorial expertise.

Nothing slaps you in the face and reminds you that you made a bad decision than looking at the transcript and discovering that there are gaps. What’s worse is when the transcriber doesn’t include the gaps.

Basically, I instruct my transcribers to hit the shift and the key next to the zero on the keyboard to indicate a gap. Maybe these are missing words or sounds that they can’t quite figure out. However they do it, they let me know that there’s something that went wrong in the transcription.

I’ve been lucky enough to find really intelligent and professional transcribers that I don’t have to do this. But if you hire a company or a freelancer that just transcribes text and doesn’t let you know that there are issues, this is going to be a problem.

It’s a big headache actually cause you’re going to have to read the text at a surface level and then read it again at a deeper level and even then, you might not even know that there’s something wrong. You find out too late when a customer complains or your publisher gets you on the phone and calls you out. It’s a mess!

It’s really important to cover these rules first with your transcription provider. The good news is a lot of professional transcribers already know this. In fact, their consensus enough to email you and say “There were some rough spots here. Maybe your app or software tripped up during that segment. I’m just going to mark it in the transcription.”

That’s professional courtesy and most transcribers, and I know all of the people who work for me, are professional enough to do this. But just in case, you need to know that this is an issue. There are transcribers and transcription companies out there that don’t really care.

So they just crank out the text and they leave you to figure it out. The worst thing that you could do is to take that transcription and just post it automatically to your blog. That’s a recipe for disaster.

Mistake #11: Grammatical errors left untouched

As I mentioned above, I prefer that my transcribers plug in the transcribed text into Google Docs. They protect themselves when they do that. Not only does Google Docs have a built in grammar checker, but they use a cutting edge technology called machine learning.

What happens is there’s so many people all over the world using Google Doc and the stock grammar correction system would notify people. But here’s what’s awesome about Google. It actually pays attention to how people correct their grammar.

They don’t just store this locally. Google Docs learns from all these millions of corrections so that when other people make those mistakes in the future,Google Docs will recommend the best solution as judged by how most people fix that error.

The best part is Google Docs is absolutely free and it works very quickly. You just need to look for blue underlines and see if the proposed correction makes sense. This is why it’s inexcusable for edited transcripts to contain any kind of grammatical errors.

There is one exception though. If you are dictating a novel and it includes dialogue with people with bad grammar, this should remain. In that situation, the challenge is different. Your problem is to keep the grammatically incorrect portions in those key parts of your book or story.

Common errors made during verbatim transcription

There’s a big difference between edited transcriptions and verbatim transcriptions. Edited transcriptions give the transcriber a lot of leeway as to how to fix the text.

Verbatim transcription, on the other hand, comes in 2 flavors: Intelligent verbatim transcription and raw verbatim. As the term implies, raw verbatim transcription is just listening to the text, as spoken, and just typing whatever you hear.

If the person says “umm” or “ahh”, that makes it to the transcript. It’s raw. No refining, no editing, nothing! Word for word. In fact, some services even use sound for sound. So if somebody coughs, that makes it to the record.

Intelligent verbatim transcription is the middle way between edited transcription and raw verbatim transcription. In intelligent transcription, a lot of the “um”, stammers, false starts, and gaps are taken out, but the speaker is notified of any gaps or incomprehensible sections.

Also, the intelligent transcriber would pay attention to self-editing. This is, as far as I’m concerned, the biggest difference between raw and intelligent verbatim transcription. The way I dictate my blog posts, articles, novels, video scripts, and what have you is that I would speak out the general idea and, from time to time, I would correct myself.

Maybe I forgot something in a verbal list. Maybe I realized that there was a better way of phrasing something. When that happens, I would backtrack and it would seem that I’m saying the exact same sentence.

But in reality, there is a change in the sentence. I’m lucky enough to have intelligent transcribers who can detect this, so they use the last section. In a raw verbatim transcription, you don’t get that. You just get a raw dump of everything that you say.

So if you’re editing yourself several times within the same paragraph or, if you’re really unlucky, the same sentence, it would seem like you’re a broken record beause you keep saying the same sentence over and over again. It gets annoying because somebody’s gotta edit that and that person is usually you.

Keep this in mind as we go through the common verbatim transcription errors listed below.

Mistake #12: Gaps, stammers, false starts are taken out

For a variety of reasons, certain types of transcriptions need stammers, false starts, and gap fillers like “umm” and “uhh”. Usually, these are court transcripts. Generally, the reason why all this “junk” needs to remain in the record is to establish a context. It also gives the person reviewing the record some indications of credibility.

If, for example, somebody died and all the information they can get from that person takes the form of an audio recording, they would have to piece together the overall picture of that person’s trustworthiness and accuracy using audio.

In a court setting, they would need the transcription. By including these gap fillers, false starts, and verbal tics and whatnot, the decision makers and lawyers involved can rest assured that this is an accurate record of what the person actually said.

From this information, they can then make conclusions as to who’s trustworthy and who can easily be discounted. But generally speaking, if you are writing a novel, a blog post, or an article, these have to be taken out.

That’s why I suggest that your default standard when it comes to transcription is intelligent verbatim transcription. IVT, for short, doesn’t just knock out these items, but they also involve intelligent self-editing.

So if you’re repeating the same sentence over and over with slight changes, an intelligent transcriber will take the last version because that’s basically your statement to yourself and to them that “This is the sentence that I am most comfortable with.”

Mistake #13: “Misheard” words

I wish I could tell you that the only way to mishear something takes the form of similar sounding words like “seen” and “scene”. Unfortunately, I can’t say that. There are other words that have silent words or, when spoken really quickly, kind of morph into other words.

For example, “I’m going to go to the store.” You can transcribe that as “I’m gonna” or “I’m going to”. Verbatim transcription must stick to the words as pronounced. So it’s really important to look at accuracy errors because if you mishear certain words and you step in with what your judgement of what those should’ve been, you probably end up changing the meaning.

Transcription isn’t as good as it could be. In fact in some cases, it can just change the whole meaning altogether. The value of the transcription goes down the toilet. The company that I work for has hired transcribers before that has this issue.

They would then have to take the same audio file and reassign it to somebody who actually knows what they’re doing. It does happen and the problem is it kills a lot of production time.

Mistake #14: Shifts in breathing and ways of talking are omitted

Again, the whole point of raw verbatim transcription is to give you a written snapshot of the person giving the statement. If a criminal confession is transcribed, you best believe that the lawyers, both prosecution and defense, as well as the judge would want every single detail transcribed.

They pay attention to background noises, the overall tone, emotion, and breathing. Emotion can be indicated in the text. Make no mistake, there’s a big difference between a period, a comma, and an exclamation mark when it comes to emotion.

The person is doing a lousy job when they cut all this out and they just stick to the text when doing a raw verbatim transcription.

Mistake #15: Correcting grammatical errors

Again, with raw verbatim transcriptions, you want a textual snapshot of the audio so all the warts, wrinkles, lines, creases, and pimples of the speech have to be there. So if the person is making grammatical errors, leave it in because this is going to be used in court. This text has to accurately reflect the personhood of that individual.

Generally speaking, this type of raw verbatim transcript is only important when you can no longer talk to the speaker. Maybe they escaped jail, so they’re presently unavailable, or they died. But this type of transcript isn’t going to be that big of a deal if the prosecutor can directly cross examine or talk to the person who gave the statement.

But if all we have is the person’s audio record, the raw verbatim transcription must provide an unvarnished and authentic true to life depiction of that person. This includes grammar issues, verbal tics, and whatnot.

Mistake #16: Inability to transcribe every word

When you’re listening to a raw verbatim transcription, strap in. It’s going to be a long read because you’re going to go through every word that came out of the speaker’s mouth.

In intelligent verbal transcriptions, you don’t have to suffer through the “umm”s and “aah”s. You don’t have to hassle with the many times they have to repeat a sentence because they’re correcting themselves. You get all of that with raw verbatim transcriptions.

Mistake #17: Failure to show overlapping conversations

There is one type of extremely challenging raw verbatim transcription. Generally speaking, if you are transcribing a statement made by one person, it wouldn’t be an issue because this person would stop and then start. Maybe they have all sorts of weird verbal habits, but you can manage as a transcriber.

Things get really hairy when you have more than one speaker. You know what’s going to happen. They’re going to talk to each other. When things get heated, they try to interrupt each other. In many cases, more than one person is talking at the same time. Tempers might flare, so there’s a lot of cursing and emotional heat.

When you’re doing the raw verbatim transcription of all of this, you’re going to have to capture all of that. Basically, it’s hard enough to transcribe one person. Can you imagine transcribing several conversations at once?

To make things even worse, you have to tag the speaker as they talk to each other. If they’re Hollywood voiceover actors with really distinctive vocal sounds, this probably is not going to be a problem. But if they’re regular people off the street, there’s a good chance that some of them sound similar enough to each other.

In fact, people might not sound all that similar at first when they’re speaking in their normal voice. But you can bet that if they get all emotional, their voice can change. That’s when it can get extra tricky.

Mistake #18. Failure to indicate if the audio had pauses or failure to indicate how long these pauses are

Again, with verbatim transcriptions, you want a snapshot of what it’s like to actually talk to the person who is being interviewed.

And the person inspecting the transcript makes all sorts of findings based on how the person is talking and what kind of words were being used. They’re trying to paint a picture as to whether this person is believable or not.

This type of raw verbatim transcription is intended for fact-finders. Maybe this will happen in the context of a lawsuit, a criminal investigation, or maybe even a job interview.

The key is to get an accurate portrayal of the person speaking so the decision-maker or group of people making the decision can determine trustworthiness, credibility, or level of authority.

Unfortunately, when the transcriber leaves out pauses, this can get in the way of getting a realistic and accurate snapshot the decision-makers need.

Mistake #19. Failure to Note Unintelligible Sections of the Audio or Failure to Suggest Possible Transcription

As a general rule on raw verbatim transcription, transcribers cannot step in and place their educated guess as to what the missing word is. The best they can do is to put an underline and put question mark notations.

This should notify the reader that there’s something wrong with that part of the audio. They have to either listen to the audio again or look at the totality of what’s been said before and after to come up with some sort of idea of what the missing word is.

All of this goes out of the window if the transcriber completely skips the unintelligible part. They don’t put any sort of notation such as an underline or a question mark.

The speaker is saying something, and all of a sudden, there is a twist in the statement because there is a missing section.

Of course, the more words that are unintelligible, the more damage could be possibly done in raw verbatim transcriptions. In fact, this can be a fatal flaw.

It may well turn out that a few unintelligible parts here and there at the right points in the transcript may be enough to either throw out a testimony or a narration of an interviewee or weaken it so much that whatever is being decided can swing the other way.

Mistake #20. Spelling, Punctuation, and Formatting Are Completely Neglected

The funny thing about raw verbatim transcriptions is that a lot of people assume that when you record somebody talking that all the basic rules of English get thrown out. This is not true, not by a long shot.

If I start with just saying random words together with no relationship between them and completely forgetting about grammar rules, a transcriber will probably be able to turn that speech into text. I have no doubt about that.

But it’s not going to make much sense to you reading that stuff and it’s not going to make much sense as far as I’m concerned because, last time I checked, when people talk they usually do this to communicate, send a message, and understand each other.

They want to get something done or explained. There is a reason for talking and we need to remember this. That’s why most people who speak English or any other language follow grammar rules.

It doesn’t matter how deep a person’s vocabulary is or how many years of education they have. If you want to be an effective communicator, you have to follow basic grammar rules. These include sentence construction, punctuation, and even a certain flow which can be translated into a format.

You know you’re looking at a really bad piece of raw verbatim transcription when the transcriber thinks that they can disregard all rules because they are doing that type of transcription.

They think that as long as they hear certain words and transcribe it in a rough order, it is “authentic” enough. Absolutely wrong. If you want to stick to what the speaker is saying, you also have to follow the rules that they’re following.

This is the difference between a high-quality raw verbatim transcription and somebody who is just winging it. Again, important decisions might depend on what gets transcribed and what gets left out.

And just because you’re transcribing somebody who might not have an education or speaks very roughly, it doesn’t mean that you can assume that that person has no command of grammar.

Making this assumption is wrong because if that person is, in any way, functioning today in society that means that the person can communicate well enough. The transcription must at least reflect that fact.

Common Mistakes In Intelligent Verbatim Transcription

Intelligent verbatim transcriptions transcribe what the speaker is saying word for word but with several modifications.

First, you’re not going to transcribe “ums”, “ahs”, stammers, and gaps. As a transcriber, you will automatically clear that out because it doesn’t add value to the text.

Second, intelligent transcriptions detect whether the person speaking is editing himself or herself. As I mentioned earlier in this blog post, sometimes I say the same sentence three times when I dictate.

It’s not the exact same sentence. There are always changes either in the middle or near the end of the sentence. What I’m doing is spitting out different versions of the same sentence to try to communicate an idea.

The final version of the sentence is the one that I’m most happy with. It is the version that the transcriber should commit to writing.

Intelligent verbatim transcription uses this rule. You don’t blindly transcribe every single word coming out of the speaker’s mouth because if you transcribe everything along with the “ums” and the “ahs” and the gaps, it’s hard to make sense of all of that.

Especially if you are dictating a blog post, a novel, a book, or anything that is intended to be consumed as a ready-made form of content.

This is very different from transcribing every single word and sound where you are trying to create a snapshot of the speaker in the context of a murder case.

You best believe that both the prosecution and the defense would want a faithful transcription of the recorded testimony of the original witness who had died.

This way they can attack the person’s credibility or support it. When it comes to intelligent transcription, you’re not dealing with those considerations.

Instead, you want clear, easy-to-understand text that is faithful to the ideas being shared by the speaker. Keep this in mind when looking at the following errors:

Mistake #21. Including gap fillers

You know you’re dealing with lousy intelligent transcription when the transcriber puts in gap fillers like “um”, “ah”, and stammers. Their job after all is to edit that stuff out and get to the good stuff.

There is one exception though. It makes sense to keep this stuff in if I’m dictating conversations or dialogues. For example, if I’m dictating a novel, I would like to include “ums” and “ahs” to lend some authenticity to the exchange.

Usually, people stammer when they are under a lot of pressure or stress. The dialogue would seem more believable if that was left in. This is the only exception to the rule that I can see when it comes to this error.

Mistake #22. Excessive deletion of passages

You know you’re dealing with a newbie transcriber when they cut out whole paragraphs and shrink sentences. It’s one thing to have a good idea of what you think clear and effective writing should look like. It’s another to override the speaker.

Please understand that it’s the speaker who is the author of the transcription. The transcriber is simply the means or the intermediary that turns the speech into text.

They have a certain level of discretion but it doesn’t go so far as cutting out important details, automatically shortening sentences, or otherwise making very important strategic editing decisions without the previous approval or instruction of the speaker.

If you hire a transcription company that is in the habit of doing this, keep in mind that there is a real danger that a lot of what you’re saying is being reworded or edited in such a way that it may end up meaning that is different from what you had in mind originally.

Usually, this problem is fixed when you set the right ground rules with a transcription company, agency, or an individual freelancer. Just let them know that you’re supposed to edit the text to make it understandable.

In other words, they would transcribe your speech as is and then they would read through the materials to look for confusing sections. At that point, they have to listen to the audio again and see which editing decision would clarify the transcription.

This is the difference between intelligent transcription and “brute force” transcription that replaces your creative authority with the editorial discretion of whoever is handling your text.

Mistake #23. Addition of Slang When It’s Obvious That It’s Not Needed

I use the words “gonna” and “wanna” a lot. This should be enough to let my transcriber know that these words should be transcribed as “gonna” and “wanna” respectively.

Because if I wanted to, I could have instructed them to automatically translate “gonna” into “going to”. This is going to trip my transcriber up because I use the word “gonna” a lot. Be on the lookout for this because this is a failure of communication.

What will happen is if you are getting your dictations transcribed and you trust it to somebody who is very literal or who writes in a very formalistic, academic type of way, there’s going to be stylistic problems in the transcripts.

It’s as if two different people wrote the piece. As a writer, it should be your product. The transcriber is just an intermediary. The process is to turn your speech into text.

But if there’s miscommunication or confusion regarding how to handle slang terms, your final text is going to look weird to say the least.

Mistake #24. Includes background noise, laughter, and non-verbal cues

This is usually not a problem with intelligent transcription services. They know well enough to keep this stuff out. But if you’re dealing with a newbie freelancer who doesn’t quite know the difference between raw verbatim transcription and other forms of transcription, this can be an issue.

Mistake #25. Repeated Sentences Are Kept in the Transcription

If there is one hallmark of intelligent transcription it is probably the ability to detect speaker self-editing. If you are hiring transcribers, this should be one of the key skills that you should test for.

When people talk, a lot of times they open their mouths and verbalize when the thought hasn’t fully crystallized yet. Things are hitting them at a rate of a thousand miles per hour and they just want to get stuff out there.

This is understandable. But as you quickly think through the ideas that you are trying to get across, you often come up with a better way of saying things. This is where the repetition comes in. I do this a lot.

When I dictate, many times the first sentence is not the ideal way of saying the idea that’s popped in my mind. You have to understand that when I write a book or a blog post, or any other kind of creative work, I only have a few lines in front of me.

It doesn’t matter if that book is supposed to be 10,000 words or the blog post is scheduled to be 4,000 words. I only have a few lines so I have to deal with ideas that come to mind based on those outlined lines.

And you best believe that the first version is not always right. Either it’s fuzzy, badly formed, or incomplete. None of those situations is good.

So I mix and match, throw it around, and kick backward and forward ideas in my head. And a lot of times the ideas come at me much faster than my ability to pick and choose the words that best match them. This is why I tend to repeat sentences.

You know you’re dealing with a very professional and highly-intelligent transcriber when they can detect your self-editing. Personally, this takes the form of me just saying what seems like the same sentence over and over again.

In reality, I’m actually editing the end. It’s the final sentence that should be transcribed because that reflects the most crystal clear version of the idea that I’m trying to get across.

Another area where self-editing is a problem involves lists. For example, I’m talking about making money online using cashback apps like Swagbucks. This program encourages you to go to different places to shop and if you buy the right promotional products you get a discount.

But as I describe the program, it turns out that there is more to it than that. So at first I would say, “Swagbucks enables you to make money online by getting cash back for every qualifying purchase you make from their partner online stores.”

Usually, I’d leave it at that but I remember that Swagbucks actually pays you to view ads, fill out surveys, that kind of thing.

This comes out as Swagbucks enables you to make money by doing a; then it dawns on me that Swagbucks enables you to make money by doing b. Then finally, it dawns on me that Swagbucks enables you to make money by doing c and d.

If you’re an English teacher reading this transcription, it looks like a mess. An intelligent transcriber would then detect the list and pack it into a tight compact form so it’s easier to read.

So the final form should be: Swagbucks enables users to make money in the following ways: getting cashback discounts, watching videos, filling out surveys, and otherwise surfing the internet.

Isn’t this version much better? Nice and tight, right?

It gets the same information across in a concise way. That’s the hallmark of a truly intelligent transcriber. The problem is when the service that you’re using just lists out the same sentence over and over with slight changes.

Not only does this tire out the reader but it makes you look like a bad writer. So there is space there for tight editing and I would think that intelligent lists are not all that difficult.

All it takes is to listen to what is being said and quickly realize that it is part of the sentence that should be condensed into one sentence instead of making it seem like a repetitive loop.

Mistake #26. Digressions and Off-Topic Content Are Included

From my personal experience, this rarely happens. Most of the time, when I dictate something I would say, “Note to transcriptionist.” When that happens they’re on notice that I’m giving them instructions.

Usually, when I dictate outlines and I come up with an insight, I would say, “Note to transcriptionist: Stop here and then create another file or put this in another section of the transcript.”

This happens because as I already mentioned in “The Benefits of Dictation Blogging”, new ideas come to mind when you are verbalizing ideas. It would be great if all these ideas are tightly connected or there is some sort of overriding theme but you can’t count on that.

That’s how weird the human mind works. This is what’s awesome about creativity. You may be dictating a review, an article, or a consumer guide on air-conditioned dog houses, and all of a sudden, you have this amazing string of ideas regarding cat food.

What are you going to do in that situation? This is a tight spot because you don’t want to let go of a potentially valuable idea. After all, it’s free content. It beats having to think about that stuff later on.

On the other hand, you don’t want to get thrown off track. What I do is I would quickly say, “Note to transcriptionist: Put this in another section or place it in another document.” Then I would blurt out the rough outlines of the idea.

It may be inspired like the outlines of Michelangelo’s David in a piece of rough marble or it can be just a brain fart. It does happen but what is important is I got the transcriptionist to get it down in writing so I can deal with it later.

At that point, I go back to where I was in the article on air-conditioned dog houses and keep nailing down the ideas based on my outline. This is not necessarily a bad thing.

But I understand that other writers might have not established a method for communicating off-topic or off-track thoughts to their transcribers.

At that point, everything is put in the transcript. Good luck trying to cut through all those different strands of thoughts, ideas, and half-baked insights with a machete.

It is not surprising that when all that stuff is left in without any kind of organization, it reduces the overall impact of the content.

Mistake #27. Failure to Follow the Basic Rules of Spelling, Capitalization, and Punctuation

Intelligent transcription should be intelligent. And the bare minimum for this, of course, is to follow the basic rules of spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. It also has to follow grammar rules. In fact, there is no excuse in this context.

People can be forgiven if they are doing a raw verbatim transcription. If you’re transcribing somebody who is borderline illiterate and doesn’t care for the basic rules of grammar, the transcript will be rough but will be perfectly understandable.

Not so when it comes to intelligent transcription. As a client, you’re paying extra for the transcriber as well as the transcription company to have some sort of quality control system.

This way any errors involving spelling, capitalization, and punctuation is removed from your text so you won’t look bad. This is not much to ask. You should filter hard for transcribers who cannot follow these basic rules.

Mistake #28. Missing Words and Passages That Affect The Overall Coherence of Transcription

You have to understand that transcripts operate at two levels: context and content. Both have to be present for the transcript to make sense and to do the job you want it to perform.

Sadly, this doesn’t happen all the time because when a transcriber is under a lot of stress and pressure, it’s very easy for them to take shortcuts. I can understand this.

But the problem is you might think that condensing certain passages or leaving out a sentence here and there isn’t going to do much for the overall flow and content of the transcript. That is too much of an assumption to make.

In fact, it’s not a decision for you to make as a transcriber. That decision can only be made by the content creator which is the speaker. If you’re reading this and you’re looking for a transcriber, understand how important this is.

This is why you have to clear this up with the transcription company, agency, or the individual freelancer you’re thinking of hiring. What policies do they have? Do they have a quality control standard that ensures that this doesn’t happen?

The problem here is that these people are not mind-readers. They don’t know that you actually place heavy importance on one passage. If they touch that passage, the overall effect of the piece (at least, as far as you’re concerned) goes down the toilet.

You have to communicate clearly with your contractor to make sure that they do not cut out anything that affects both the context and content quality of the transcript.

Mistake #29. Careless Paraphrasing

From time to time transcribers can justifiably paraphrase. As I mentioned in my list example earlier, I have the habit of spitting out complete sentences when I’m actually listing items.

I could say, “He had pet dogs, he had pet cats, he had pet rats, he had pet parrots.” That could all be boiled down into a form that cuts out as much of the phrase “he had”. It could have been, “His pets included dogs, cats, rats, and parrots.” You get the point.

Paraphrasing is needed in certain cases but when it’s excessive you end up twisting the words of the speaker. This can lead to all sorts of trouble. At the very least, it changes the context. At the very worst, the overall value of the transcript goes up in smoke.

It’s much better to limit paraphrasing to where it makes the most sense. A lot of times, paraphrasing is effective when you’re dealing with somebody with certain verbal habits.

For example, I’ve issues with lists. I also have issues with saying the word “so” at the beginning of my sentences. Depending on which side of the bed I wake up on, I also have a problem with using the word “well” when starting a sentence.

Paraphrasing can make sense in those situations but you have to be careful that the transcriber you hire for manual transcriptions does not become overly aggressive with paraphrasing. If anything they should study how you normally talk and anticipate your habits so they don’t become problems.

Mistake #30. Letting Your Emotional State Dictate How They Transcribe Your Speech

When you’re speaking out a blog post, book, article, or novel, a lot of times you are in a certain emotional state. For example, I’m not all that excited when I dictate about make- money- online types of articles.

A lot of the time, this shows up in my voice. It seems distant, bored, even distracted. But no matter how my voice sounds, I’m still thinking through the concepts and making important decisions as to which words to say. Put simply, I’m still on the ball.

With other types of content, it’s easier for me to get excited. For example, when I dictate novels and there is a battle scene, I really get into it. I talk about the weapons drawn, how hot it was; which direction the wind was blowing and all sorts of details to pump up the emotional urgency of the scene.

In both of these situations, you can physically hear the emotion in my voice but it’s a bad idea to make editorial judgments based on my emotional tones. Sure, when I’m dictating my one-thousandth article on how to make money online using cash apps, I sound dead inside.

In fact, if you were looking at me and I was dictating through Zoom, you can see the tombstones in my eyes and the ash in my tongue. That’s how dead certain topics are to me. But none of that should affect how the transcriber approaches the words I’m dictating.

The ideas are still there. I would hope that the sentences are constructed well enough. Work with that. The problem with some transcribers is that they get excited. I get this. They’re empathetic people. When they’re in front of somebody, they feel what that person’s feeling.

That’s a great skill to have for face to face interactions and customer service and sales-type situations. It doesn’t pay all that well when it comes to transcriptions though. Focus on the text of what is being said, not necessarily on how it is being said.

What a lot of transcription customers such as yourself fail to realize is that when you hire a transcriber, they are constantly making all sorts of decisions on how to process your words. This is unavoidable and a lot of it is subconscious.

This is why you must control your emotion. Try to manage the tone of your voice when you’re dictating because at a subconscious level it can impact the actual transcript. It’s important to remember that emotion is a factor.

But with that said, as far as the transcriber goes, focus on the words. Don’t focus so much on the emotion because you‘re not being hired to do raw verbatim transcriptions. Angry tones are important when you are transcribing the words of a witness who died and their testimony is crucial to a murder case.

But when you’re transcribing an article on making money with Swagbucks, those concerns are not important. Your focus should be on the text.

The Final Word on Common Manual Transcription Mistakes

As you can tell from this massive list of the 30 common mistakes made during manual transcriptions, human error is always a big risk in the transcription process. You might be even tempted to order automated transcription.

Thanks to recent developments in artificial intelligence, automated transcriptions are no longer the stuff of science fiction. If you pay close attention to the voice portion of Google Docs, it’s nothing short of scary.

Still, a lot of writers would be better off dictating their work and having it manually transcribed. Personally, I don’t think human transcribers will be out of jobs anytime soon.

While machines may be great in dictating the meaning of specific words as you string them out while you talk, they’re lousy when it comes to punctuation. They also cannot paraphrase when needed. Forget about context.

To say that automated transcription systems, whether through apps or some sort of an online interface, need work would be to put it lightly.

Human transcriptions are here to stay. If you are on the market for this type of service, read all the errors above so you can work well with the agency or the freelance transcriber you’re thinking of hiring.

Once you’ve cleared up the issues I raised above, there is a good chance that you won’t have to worry about the quality of the content that you dictate.

The Best Voice Recorder Apps of 2020

15 best voice recorder apps

Mobile apps on android devices are replacing tools and hardware devices in our daily lives.

Often, these apps do a better job and even provide more comfort with mobile phone portability.

They definitely are more convenient… especially if you have to take advantage of last minute content recording opportunities like interviews.

One such app category causing disruption is the voice recorder apps. Having the right voice recording app on your phone can help record events and ideas right when you get them.

These apps can produce outputs with such a quality that makes owning recording devices and tools feel unnecessary.

There are many efficient voice recorder apps from smartphone makers and app stores. But many apps are also unable to perform on a high level.

It is common to find apps disappoint and not worth their hype on installation. Here is a list of the best voice recorder apps that you can trust and download on Play Store and other app stores.

The Best Voice Recorder Apps of 2020

  1. ASR Voice Recorder
  2. Android Stock Audio Recorder
  3. Easy Voice Recorder
  4. Tape-a-Talk Voice Recorder
  5. Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder
  6. LectureNotes
  7. Cogi
  8. PCM Recorder
  9. Music Maker Jam
  10. Soundcloud
  11. Otter Voice Notes
  12. Smart Recorder
  13. Voice Recorder by HIGH TECH
  14. Voice Recorder Pro
  15. Recforge

ASR Voice Recorder


This popular app is a great mobile app on the play store with lots of features for voice and sound recordings of meeting sessions, quick notes, e.t.c.

It synchronizes with cloud services like Google Drive and Dropbox. It has a free version and premium version, which has even more features.

Users can select what format to record on from the options that include MP3, OGG, AMR, WAV, FLAC, and M4A.

ASR Features and Pros

  • Organizing recordings into groups with tags.
  • Users can trim files after the record to remove unwanted parts.
  • Playback speed function for removing long silence.
  • Users can pause the recording process or discard with a click.
  • Users can make notes while listening or making a record.
  • Users can create a new custom folder.
  • Users can adjust the volume of the recordings.
  • App can record in sleep mode.
  • App can automatically start recording
  • App uses widget support.
  • Multiple languages option.
  • Users can easily share files with email and on social media platforms.


ASR free version allows Ads.

Easy Voice Recorder


The simplicity of this app is the main reason for its popular downloads. With a few clicks and shortcuts, users can get unlimited record time, share files, and enjoy android wear benefits.

It allows users to import files, adjust the volume for recording, and also record in stereo.

Easy Voice Recorder is marketed as the voice app for everyone. It is available in a free version and paid one too.

Easy Voice Recorder has no compatibility issues with commonly used file formats like MP3, AMR, WAV, and others like PCM.

Easy Voice Recorder Features and Pros

  • Android wear support is its most unique function.
  • Users can filter noise and adjust the echo.
  • Recording volume adjustment.
  • It offers playback speed.
  • Auto-sync option with cloud services.
  • Edit and cut out unwanted parts.
  • Organize recordings into files
  • Support Bluetooth microphone.


Users complain of bugs sometimes, but the support seems to be fixing them.

Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder


Hi-Q is a unique app that produces quality voice recordings that are compatible with most platforms.

It is handy for voice notes, lectures and sermons, recording ideas, group brainstorming, presentation practice, et.c.

It has widget support and allows the user to select which microphone to use. Hi-Q MP3 can also automatically synchronize to cloud services.

The main issue that many find hard to believe, however, was that the app did not have a feature for record conversation during a phone call.

Hi-Q MP3 Features and Pros

  • Widget support.
  • Automatically sync with cloud services like Google drive.
  • The recorder can go into a discreet mode.
  • High-fidelity 44 kHz audio sampling.
  • File transfer with Wi-Fi.
  • Users can specify input gain settings to manage noise levels.


Only records in MP3 format.

The app cannot record calls, which is a disadvantage.



This app is popular and highly-functional, especially for students and lecturers in college.

It is a note-keeping app that users can upgrade with a plugin (that costs $1.99) to not only record events but also help to keep it organized for use later.

LectureNotes Features and Pros

It does not require a connection to the internet to work.


It only supports Android 3.0 and versions after it.

Some apps may not work until you download other apps. For instance, audio recording functions require the installation of the app, LectureRecordings, to work.

Otter Voice Notes


This voice note app is most unique for its audio transcription features. The artificial intelligence software on this app can recognize the voice and provide near-perfect live transcription.

It is known as the platform for meeting conversations because of the ease it gives for note keeping in written and audio form.

Users can share information with members in the same discussion, interview, lecture, etc. It is available in both the free version and paid.

Otter Features and Pros

  • Available online.
  • Past conversations can be easily found.
  • Automatic recording and transcribe voice notes with a remarkable level of accuracy.
  • Note-taking in meetings made easy.
  • Meeting contributors can edit notes on request.
  • It allows users to record voice with its built-in microphone or connected Bluetooth device.
  • The app makes special considerations for meeting participants with special needs with a live caption.
  • Playback speed function.
  • A simple way to link words to the time it appears in audio.
  • Provides a simple method for correcting errors with text search.
  • Organizes conversations, including audio, into folders.
  • It provides an easy way to share conversations with other apps.
  • Export audio in quality mp3 format.
  • It transcribes recordings on Zoom.
  • Can import audio files from the device.
  • Provides otter cloud for backup.


Available for a limited time every month, 600 minutes for free users, and 6000 minutes for paid version users.

Only the English language is available, which means non-English speakers will not find it useful.

Does not export in a format other than mp3.

Smart Recorder


Smart Recorder is the app that takes storage management to another level. It is no surprise that the number of downloads since the last eight years reached over 40 million.

Recording made on this app compresses on completion. But this is not all the app’s features.

It offers recording for long periods, audio spectrum analysis in real-time, quality audio outputs in different formats, recording in the sleep mode, and easy sharing function.

Smart Recorder does not record calls.

The app is not only smart in the things it does well, but it is also smart in detecting a phone call and making the recording pause until it ends, probably avoiding legal issues.

Smart Recorder Features and Pros

  • The record continues in the sleep mode.
  • Long-time recording functions.
  • Playback speed function.
  • Function for automatically removing periods of prolonged silence.
  • It provides audio spectrum analysis in real-time.
  • Unlimited recording.
  • Easy way to share files.


Smart Recorder does not record conversations during phone calls.

Voice Recorder Pro (Splendid Apps)


This is one of the apps that manage to provide full features of a standard recorder but keeps its simplicity even in its name.

With the app, users have a dictaphone and can record in different formats. Voice Recorder Pro records phone calls after the device permission set-up.

The audio output is quality, and users can go on recording for a long time, only stopping when the storage limits it or the battery goes off.

It is ideal for recording lectures and sermons, interviews, meetings, presentation practice e.t.c.

Voice Recorder Pro Features and Pros

  • The app is useful for storage management.
  • Records in either of four formats 3GP, AAC, AMR, and PCM.
  • Users can switch to CD quality of 44kHz from phone quality.
  • Supports both stereo and mono recordings.
  • Provides a spectrum analyzer in real-time.
  • Records in the sleep mode.
  • Provides a custom folder for recordings.
  • Manual selection for audio sources.
  • Easy file share with emails and other platforms.
  • Flexible control for files.
  • It gives quick access to apps with widget support.
  • Auto recording function.

Tape-a-Talk Voice Recorder


This app may have only a paid version, but it is feature-packed and well worth the pay. Users can select the recording format to manage space and still maintain a high-quality audio output.

It provides an audio edit function (although only Basic functions), sync to cloud services, among other things. The app gives quality outputs and is effective for dictation.

Tape-a-Talk Voice Recorder Features and Pros

  • The app is ads-free.
  • Unlimited recording time.
  • Manual file format selection.
  • Easy integration with cloud services like Dropbox and Google Drive.
  • Basic audio editing.
  • Records in the sleep mode.


No free version.

PCM Recorder


This app is good for both voice notes and music records. It only produces recording output in PCM/WAV, which means high-quality recordings are allowed.

PCM Recorder Features and Pros

  • Allow phone call recording.
  • Delivers only high-quality output.
  • Records in sleep mode.
  • Unlimited time for recording.


  • Compatibility issues.
  • No cloud service integration.
  • It stores audio files in PCM, which is not the best for storage management.
  • Does not convert to other formats.
  • Users can only share recorded files to email.



SoundCloud is a cloud-based platform used for making records and storing audio files online. It is ideal for accessibility and managing space.

It is a simple recorder with basic features. Soundcloud is unique because of the access it gives to its online community that has a worldwide network.

Users can grow their online connection by looking for friends and sharing their recordings.

Soundcloud Recorder Features and Pros

  • Perfect for storage management.
  • Great for accessing files anywhere.
  • It can help to grow user networks.
  • Help to easily share recordings with friends and connections.


SoundCloud only has basic recording functions.



This is an outstanding app that extracts keynotes in conversations and automatically creates a backup for your recordings with its cloud service.

It is so flexible that it allows recording in the middle of phone calls. It is one of the most modern and important note-making apps.

Cogi Recording Features and Pros

  • Users decide what they want the app to note in a conversation.
  • Help to focus on only the key moments.
  • Simple user interface.
  • It can reverse its time to pick parts of the conversations you missed.
  • Unlimited recording time.
  • Quality audio output.
  • It makes auto backup to Cogi cloud storage.
  • Records phone conversations.


It does not support Android 4.3 and versions below it.

RecForge II


This app is on another level. It is not only a recorder but also a perfect dictaphone, an audio editor, converter, and also has file-sharing functions.

Recforge II makes recording and audio file manipulations enjoyable. Users can put apps in auto mode with a single switch.

Recforge II also allows users to edit metadata and adjust speed in easy steps. It provides a spectrum analyzer for audio in real-time and also records in the sleep mode.

Recforge II Feature and Pros

  • Multiple format support.
  • Continues to record in background.
  • High-quality recording.
  • Advanced edit options.


Supports only android version after Android 4.0

Android Default Audio Recorder


Android default recorder is quite decent for all of its underrating.

It records with a default mp3, which is the high-quality audio file format and also saves storage space with lesser audio file formats.

The simple app helps users easily share files to email or social platforms in simple steps. It also makes background record in sleep mode.

Features and Pros

  • It is a free app with decent features.
  • It needs no installation since it comes installed on Android devices.


Only basic functions are available.

Voice Recorder (HIGH-TECH)


This simple recording app is unique as it stores records as a memo. The recordings come as quality output.

The recorder is easy to use with all functions available, and users can access it in only a few clicks.

Voice Recorder allows users to work with two file formats, and also to share recordings with other platforms.

Voice Recorder Features and Pros

  • High-quality audio output.
  • Simple User interface
  • Organized interface with functionalities easily within reach.
  • Support MP3 and OGG
  • Easy file sharing
  • Stores recording as a memo.
  • File editing and trimming after recording.
  • It provides a real-time spectrum analyzer for audio.
  • Users can select between internal and external mics.


Does not allow call recordings.

Music Maker Jam


This is a great app mostly used by artists for song production and practice. It is a sophisticated app that can be too extra for users that only need an app for simply recording activities.

The app is full of features that give users almost complete control of the audio outcome. It also has in-app purchases for even more features and special sound effects.

Music Maker Jam can easily work with cloud storage and social platforms.

Music Maker Jam Features and Pros

  • Provides in-app purchases.
  • Advanced editing functions.
  • Has many functionalities for song production like loop and mix packs.
  • Provides an eight-channel mixer.
  • Users can upload files to remix.
  • Sync recording outputs with SoundCloud and social media platforms.
  • Available for users of different production levels.

How to Pick the Best Voice Recorder App

  1. OS Compatibility and Versions

To choose a good voice recorder for your android device or iPhone, it’s crucial to know which OS it works on and the OS version it supports.

For instance, Cogi is an amazing note and voice recording app that works on android but only supports the android versions after Android 4.3.

Cogi doesn’t support Android 4.3 and versions below it.

2. Synchronizes with cloud services

Some great voice recorders can synchronize audio files to cloud services for easy access and backup, making files available for sharing anytime.

Users can share files to online platforms right from the moment they stop recording.

Having your record immediately uploaded to an app cloud server can help manage space and provide extra privacy for files.

3. Scheduled Recording

This is useful if for some reason you decide to delay recording or prefer to record events at a particular time without taking out your smartphone.

Some voice recording apps allow users to schedule recording by delaying the time of its activation.

Users that want to record conversations in a meeting but want the recording to stay unknown can find recording apps with this feature.

4. File Share to social platforms and email providers

This is similar to the apps described to synchronize recordings to cloud services as completion of the recording.

Once the users stop the recording, they can click on the feature that allows their audio files to share directly to social media platforms or email providers.

5. Background Recording in Sleep Mode

This is a handy feature to look out for when considering which app to choose. Many good apps will allow users to keep recording, even in the smartphone’s sleep mode.

Other apps without the feature will either stop automatically or pause.

Those apps can be frustrating when you want to record without watching your device or when you want the device in your pocket during the recording.

6. Multiple file formats

Some recording apps give users the option to compress their audio files to any format.

Users can choose whether they want the format in mp3 or other audio file formats after recording. This feature is usually present for feature-packed recording apps.

7. Call recording

Call recording is a crucial feature for any high-performing recording app.

Some apps can even allow users to record in the middle of a call if that is when they remember that there is a need for it.

There are good apps, however, like Hi-Q MP3 Voice Recorder that do not support call recording.

8. Ability to transcribe audio

Transcription is a major function that can make a voice recorder stand out. A great recorder should provide the various functions that can make transcription possible.

9. Playback speed control

There are voice recorder apps with playback speed function for users that often make long voice recordings that have only a few key moments.

The function helps them beat unnecessary silence and save time while listening to the recordings.

10. Microphone selection function

Some voice recorder apps allow users to choose between recording directly on smartphone devices or using an external mic.

Also, users that want to record directly on their smartphone can choose the smartphone’s mic that they consider to be the most sensitive.

They can choose between the front or the back mic depending on the phone.

The Final Word on The Best Dictation Apps For 2020

Mobile apps that help to make users stay productive are indispensable, so it is no surprise that there are so many of them online and on app stores.

Knowing the right ones to install from the vast numbers of app developers is crucial. Also, understanding what features you want in the app will help you know what is right for you.

There are great apps that are made simple while others are more features-packed. Some apps are specific for certain operating systems and useless on others.

Take these criteria into consideration when choosing your voice recorder app now that you have our list as a guide.

Tascam DR-05X Review

This model has you covered if you’re looking for solid and dependable recording power but it has its fair share of areas for improvement.

TASCAM DR-05X is the ultimate choice of an audio recorder for many professionals as a cost-effective recorder option.

It is widely used for its portability and performance in many areas that help users reach a high-standard in their recordings.

It is also used by personal recorders who aim for industry standards in their song production, documentary works, field works, etc.

DR-05x is a handheld digital recorder with an omnidirectional stereo mic. This stereo mic ensures complete coverage during conversations and interviews.

DR-05x has onboard mics attached to it, as a substitute for an XLR input or 48V phantom power.

It also has a mini-jacket socket for connection to lavalier and other external microphones.

TASCAM DR-05x Features

  • DR-05x automatically records whenever it detects fluctuations in sound level from a source.
  • Recording Speed regulation.
  • Dictation EQ and other functions in the dictation mode.
  • A simple and organized user interface.
  • An AA Alkaline battery life that allows for continuous usage for days.
  • A stereo condenser microphone that is omnidirectional.
  • Users can switch to a preferred language from the major world languages.
  • Overwrite function with undo.
  • Users can switch to dictation mode for recording human voice and making transcription.
  • The recorder can detect changes in the input signal and begin to record automatically.
  • Records sound at a very high frequency of 125dB SPL.
  • Loud sound spike reduction function for keeping volumes leveled.
  • It uses a timer for recording.
  • A delete function.
  • A divide function.
  • A loop playback function.
  • Users can adjust playback sound quality with the equalizer setting.
  • The recorder has a menu that links to different functions.
  • Supports different memory options with varying storage capacity (ranging from 63MB to 128GB).
  • Monaural speaker with 0.3W output.
  • Users can use pre-record functions.
  • Create a new file to prevent the recording from stopping when the limit of preset file size is reached.

Features, Functionalities, and Pros

Users that are into ambient and field recordings, and those in the sound industry would appreciate DR-05x a lot more than ordinary users.

This is because of their better exposure to the complications that this recorder provides solutions to.

For instance, recording multiple times is possible with the Quick Button when each round starts. DR-05x delivers an audio quality that gives binaural effect when used with a headphone.

It also provides users with stereo imaging of satisfying quality.


The design of TASCAM DR-05X aims to achieve a whole new level of user experience with unique functionalities.

It has a bright backlit that is suitable for outdoor use and a direct level adjustment.

It offers the jump back feature, addition of markers, speed adjustment, preset equalizer for the human voice, large storage capacity.

DR-05x also regulates sound spikes and detects sound inputs.

Recording modes

The recording mode provides users with the needed flexibility, such as choosing which drop-in time to replace on the recording.

It also allows users to undo or update existing files without losing the previous ones.

Multi-language Function

TASCAM covers many major languages of the world for users that prefer to operate the recorder in those languages.

Users can switch between English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese e.t.c.

Audio Capture

With stereo mics that can go in all directions and dual integrated condenser mic, TASCAM DR-05X has all that it requires to capture sounds effectively.

This function is most effective in confined areas that are free from noise and interference.

Personal Studio

Users that look to have a studio-level quality for podcasts, workstations, live streaming e.t.c, can set up a personalized studio.

They can connect the recorder to a computer by using a USB audio interface in simple steps that are easy to understand.


TASCAM DR-05x is a pocket-friendly recorder despite its outstanding performance.

Memory Card

DR-05x supports memory cards of varying capacities– microSD, microSDHC, and microSDXC cards.

It is ideal for memory demanding files like 96 kHz/24 bit wav files, and it accepts different storage capacities of memory cards. Storage ranging from;

  • microSD card with a capacity between 64MB to 3GB.
  • microSDHC card between 4GB memory to 32GB.
  • microSDXC card reaching 128GB capacity.

DR-05x can go on recording with a microSDXC at high quality for a maximum of 192 Hours for the stereo file type (recording at 44.1kHZ/16bit).

The recorder can do much more for a lesser file type, recording for 896 hours for files in MP3/320kbps mode.

Mono Recording Function

One of the most outstanding features of TASCAM DR-05x is its mono recording.

With this feature, users can significantly reduce file size on recordings when using an external microphone.

Mono recording file reduction comes in handy when recording for youtube and other platforms that require small file size.

Battery Life

DR-05x provides a better battery when compared to the previous TASCAM recorder models.

With DR-05X powerful AA battery life, recording can proceed for about 17 hours. For users that require even more time on the recorder, a USB mobile battery can be useful.

Peak Reduction Function

Users of DR-05x can control unwanted spikes in the recordings. All they have to do is set the recorder in its record mode or rehearsal mode, then make the adjustments.

Other useful functions for reducing spikes in recordings are Limiter and Auto level.

Overwrite mode

This is one of the most exciting functions of the TASCAM DR-05x recorder. Users can make corrections or edit whatever they recorded with new inputs by overwriting old inputs.

The process destroys the previous inputs by replacing it.

For instance, a user that realizes he can use a better word or rephrase a part of his record for better impact can do so without a struggle.

Users can go to the overwrite mode and make the desired edits.


This is another crucial function because of the flexibility it gives to users with their files. It means adding a new input to an existing file without destroying the initial file.

Users can add a specific sound effect to improve audio files that are without effects or add points missed instead of starting all over again.

Auto functions

DR-05x can automatically start to record by detecting sound signals and the fluctuation in the input level.

The recorder can pre-record for two seconds to allow for a lax or mistake at the beginning of the record.

Transcription Process is Simplified

DR-05x is perfect for transcription tasks that require various functions. It has the preset human voice equalizer, record speed control, and jump back feature.

Users can have more control of the audio files with these functions, and make fewer mistakes in their transcription works.

Manuals Available in Different Languages

Not only is this model easy to use,  should you find yourself in a tight spot or if you’d like to fully explore all its functions, TASCAM DR-05x ships with a detailed 62-page PDF reference manual in English and multiple language manuals.

DR-05x has 14 pages dedicated to each language on the company website and highlights only main functions.

The manual in the English language alone provides a detailed explanation of the functions on the recorder.

Other important DR-05x features include a chromatic tuner, recording timer, monitor mix, and overwrite function for dubbing, which allow users to input new records on an existing file.


Noise and Interference

DR-05x captures surrounding noise around recording sites because of its omnidirectional microphones.

It also has radio interference when operated close to radiofrequency sources or devices that emit microwave frequencies.

Such devices include a router, mobile phones, laptops, and related accessories. When recording, it is crucial to note for possible means of interference and avoid it.

Middle-range Frequency Issues.

DR-05x is only efficient for voice recording when an external mic works with it. There are options of recorders in the market that have microphones built in them and are specific for frequencies in the middle range.

DR-05x is most efficient for frequencies in the low and high with a loudness that can reach 125bB SPL.

This is probably the reason why the company portrays it as the best choice for music recordings and not for voice.

No Standard Card or Internal Memory

One of the biggest criticisms for the DR-05x model is that the company did not place an internal memory or at least a small memory card as a standard.

Users won’t be able to test or use the recorder after purchase without a memory card.

Users must insert one of microSD, microSDHC, or microSDXC in the slot on the right side of the recorder.

No accessories

Not only did the company not add a memory from the factory, they did not also put essential accessories with the recorder apart from AA batteries.

Other companies offer these essential accessories–carrying bags, memory cards, windshield, and more.

Although, DR-05x outperforms many recorders in its price range, users feel putting some accessories would be a good idea.

There is, however, a bright side to the accessories that the company did not provide. It may be a way to keep the price from going outside users’ interests and budgets.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Tascam DR-05x

Tasks for the Recorder

The task that you want to accomplish with your recorder can help you decide on whether to go for Tascam DR-05 or a lesser recorder option.

Tascam is typically for professionals aiming for industry-standard audio captions for entertainment and research purposes.

If you want to perform tasks that are less demanding and do not require an exceptional audio quality can consider cheaper options.

Voice or Music Recordings

It is crucial to consider the types of recording your tasks require. Tascam DR-05x is ideal for music recordings, and the company markets the product in that regard.

There are other alternatives in the market that are more appropriate for voice recordings if that is what you need a recorder for.

Tascam DR-05x has an omnidirectional mic system that exposes voice recordings to noise and interference.

To use DR-05x for voice and sounds in the mid-range frequency, users would need an external mic, which means more cables and less convenience.


The pricing for recorders is crucial for the value a user can expect. TASCAM recorders are not on the high side but provide the best value for any recorder in the market.

The costliest recorder of TASCAM is the DR 10-SG, which is about 200 euros. TASCAM DR-05x is only around 100 euros, which is a bargain for the value it provides.

Stereo or Mono

A recorder is Mono when a mic captures voice or sounds from a source and directs it to the recorder from one track, making the sound output the same.

Stereo, on the other hand, is when two mics capture a voice or sound from a source and direct the signal from either mic to different tracks.

This makes the sound output different on each track. The difference in stereo sound output is because of the sonic characteristics of each mic.

TASCAM provides recorders in both Mono and stereo, with the Mono models usually selling at a lesser price.

Finally, TASCAM DR-05x is an overall improvement in the quality of TASCAM DR-05 and many previous models.

It outperforms many recorders in the market, in the build of its software and hardware. The deficiencies in the recorder can be easily made-up for.

For instance, users can find accessories in gadget stores worldwide at affordable prices.

Also, users can remove noise and interference by taking away the sources of interference and coordinating the environments.

TASCAM is a top producer in the industry that owns several models of audio recorders distinguished by the features they offer to users.

From the budget-friendly DR-40 that offers Mono, to the more feature-packed DR-10SG with advanced features.

These features range from XLR mic preamp to multi-track recording functions.

Check for Availability and Pricing on Amazon

Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups

Recording the discussion is vital to a focus group, as this is where the statements and information presented are collected and studied.

You can’t just schedule a focus group and expect it to produce the kind of content you need.

Planning, preparing, setting up, and managing a focus group can be very challenging.

A focus group involves conversation, exchanging ideas and opinions about a particular topic, usually for qualitative research.

You’re more likely to get people to participate and ‘show off’ information during focus groups.

The downside to collecting content this way is that a lot of it may be due to peer pressure or ‘one upmanship.’ This is a key draw back to focus groups.

Preparing the perfect audio recorder for your set-up is an essential step in planning for your focus group.

What should you look for in an audio recorder for focus groups?

Audio Quality is THE make or break factor.

The main factor to consider in buying an audio recorder for your focus group is its recording quality.

The recording’s purpose is clearly to review or document the discussion later, so it must have a high audio quality and excellent microphone for the best results.

Consider the device’s capacity to record small, medium, or large groups, which depends on your focus group plan, as audio recorders vary in their ability to capture well between group sizes.


It’s essential to think of specific features you need in the recorder, depending on how you will use it.

Some devices have unidirectional microphones and X/Y microphones suitable for small groups.

Omnidirectional function, or the ability to capture sounds from all directions without any distortion, is also an excellent highlight for enhanced audio quality.

There are also different audio file types that devices can produce, such as MP3, WAV, etc.

It is also crucial to consider how you would prefer to retrieve your audio file as many devices connect via USB to a computer while some would require the SD card to be plugged in on a computer or via Bluetooth.

Additional boundary microphones may be necessary for large focus groups, so the capacity to connect with one is an essential feature.

Also, note if there is background noise in your conference room or venue as you may need a recorder with a noise cancellation feature.

Ease of Use

Your audio recorder must be easy for you to use, and its interphase and settings must be effortless to navigate.

When you are focused on preparing for the discussion, you want your device’s control to be the least of your worries.

An efficient menu is also crucial in choosing your audio recorder. Individual functions, such as deleting and managing folders, are also necessary to review.

Storage Capacity

Extensive device memory and a high maximum capacity for external storage is an advantage.

Most audio recorders have built-in storage and have a slot for an external SD card for more memory.

Some also do not have internal memory and would require an SD card to use. So if you are buying a device like this, you must check if the item comes with one, or you would have to purchase a separate SD card.

Users of recorders with no external storage usually store their audio files to a computer directly, to keep space in the device’s memory.

Battery Life

Some audio recorders have USB chargers, but many are not rechargeable and rely on batteries.

It’s convenient to use one with a USB charger, rather than replacing and throwing away batteries every time they run out.

Yet most of the professional audio recorders run on battery, and only a few are rechargeable.
Despite the replaceable batteries, many recording devices have long battery lives, so their users do not mind them that much.

It’s also a relief to have long battery life for extended use. This feature also makes the device highly portable, which you can use for quick discussions, interviews, dictation, and projects other than focus groups.

My reviews of the best recorders for focus groups

Editor’s Choice: Sony ICDUX560BLK

The Sony ICDUX560BLK Digital Voice Recorder comes in a slick black, lightweight, and thin design with a matte finish.

Reporters and professionals use this device. It has a crystal clear audio quality while listing a wide range of use, not only for a focus group, but in auditoriums, outdoor recordings, classes, interviews, and more.

It also does not have a maximum size for external MicroSD, unlike other audio recorders.

• Excellent audio and voice quality, from small to large focus groups
• Various environment settings for recording, with noise reduction
• Built-in microphone
• External microphone enabled
• Good quality built-in speaker
• With software to manage device and recordings in a computer
• Simplified menu, easy to use functionality
• LCD Display with backlight
• 4 GB built-in memory
• Additional storage for any size of memory card
• Incredibly long battery life
• Quick charging

• Time-consuming to manually delete a file
• The automatic voice-activated recording does not create separate files
• Few malfunction reports of sliding USB port

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups priced $75 and below

Sony ICD-PX370

The Sony ICD-PX370 Mono Digital Voice Recorder has a built-in USB port and speaker. It is a straightforward audio recorder, easy to use with a simple menu.

If you’re looking for a user-friendly and very affordable recording device, this is a great choice.

• Four scene settings for recording, capable of large focus groups
• High-quality audio
• Easily connects to a computer as a storage drive
• Includes a hold button locking other keys
• Quick and easy to record
• Intuitive interphase
• Compressed MP3 files for enhanced storage
• 4GB internal memory
• Micro SD card up to 32 GB
• 57 hours of battery life

• No screen backlight
• No option to rewind while playing an audio file
• Runs on 2 AAA batteries
• Not chargeable
• All files get deleted when the battery runs out

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus VN-7200

Olympus VN-7200 is a budget-friendly, digital voice recorder suitable for close-range recordings and designed for lectures and meetings.

• Good-quality audio
• Three recording modes, from small to medium size focus groups
• With background noise filter
• Voice-activated
• Device memory capable of 1,151 hours
• Playback speed variation
• Easy to use interphase

• No USB port or SD card to transfer files to a computer
• No backlight
• 2 AAA batteries required
• Not chargeable

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Sony Voice Recorder ICD-PX

The Sony Voice Recorder ICD-PX is simple and easy to use and packed with several features. It’s designed mainly for business use. It displays an ample range of functionality convenient for its value.

• High-quality audio
• With scene selection settings, from small to medium size focus groups
• Built-in 4 GB memory, up to 32 GB SD card capacity
• Intelligent Noise feature for noise reduction
• Track Mark function to note audio sections
• Editing feature to insert or over-write
• With a Hold function as a safety lock
• Easy to use functionality

• Mid-range sound quality suitable with price
• Cancels most noise, but not all
• Runs on AAA batteries
• Not chargeable

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Aiworth Digital Voice Activated Recorder

Aiworth 16GB Voice Activated Recorder is one of the cheapest audio recorders in the market, best for lectures, meetings, interviews, and conversations. It’s so cheap that even if it gets stolen, lost, or left behind, you wouldn’t have any problems replacing it… provided you cleared it of important data.

• Good-quality Audio
• For small group focus groups
• Up to 1536Kbps PCM recording
• 3-digit password protection
• Adjustable play speed with 16 levels
• Voice-activated
• Easy to use interphase
• 16GB internal memory
• Built-in 800mAh rechargeable battery

• Up to 32GB SD Card only
• Few malfunction reports
• Five-second delay at the beginning of the recordings

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder

The EVISTR 16GB Digital Voice Recorder is also one of the most budget-friendly sound recorders available, best for recording meetings, appointments, interviews, speeches, and lectures.

• Good-quality Audio
• For small focus groups
• 1536kbps audio
• Noise-cancellation microphone
• Voice Activated Recorder
• Easy file management and interphase
• USB Rechargeable

• File won’t save until you press stop
• Few malfunction reports
• Some low-quality recording reports

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups priced $150 and below

Sony Digital Voice Recorder UX Series

The Sony Digital Voice Recorder UX Series is another audio recording device from Sony with various features and a range of scene selections. This device is chargeable, with built-in lithium batteries, an upgrade from their lower-priced models.

• Scene selection, 48 kHz rates, and up to 16-bit resolution
• Records Linear PCM (WAV) and MP3 formats
• Track Mark function
• Sony’s Intelligent Noise Cut function for noise reduction
• Easy to use interphase
• 4 GB internal memory,
• Rechargeable built-in battery, 3-minute Quick Charge for 1 hour of recording
• Long battery life

• Mid-range quality audio
• Maximum 32GB SD card only
• High sensitivity microphone may capture background noise

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Zoom H1n

Zoom H1n Portable Recorder by Zoom, one of the leading brands for premium quality audio recorders for professional use. With its excellent features and sound quality, it’s a bargain with its mid-range price.

• Excellent-quality audio
• Up to 24-bit/96 kHz audio in BWF-compliant WAV or MP3 formats
• 90° X/Y Microphones with a unique protection design
• Voice Emphasize Filter
• Distortion-free recording
• One-touch button controls interphase
• Works as a USB microphone

• Runs on 2 AAA batteries
• Requires external memory to run, up to 32 GB SD card
• The sensitive microphone may pick up slight background noise

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Tascam DR-05X

The Tascam DR-05X Stereo Handheld Digital Recorder with USB Audio Interface is also a leading company for professional-grade audio recorders and sound equipment.

The device is suitable for a wide range of use, such as meetings, dictation, voiceover work, live streaming, podcasting, and songwriting with studio-quality audio.

• Excellent-quality audio
• Suitable from a small group to medium group focus groups
• Stereo omnidirectional condenser microphone
• Dual internal condenser microphones can record detailed audio from subtle to loud
• Auto recording function
• Supports ten languages

• Interphase is not easy to follow
• Runs on two AA batteries
• requires an SD card to use, up to 128 GB

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Philips Voice Tracer 6010

Voice Tracer Digital Audio Recorder has a refined design, suitable for superior distance recordings such as lectures and auditoriums.

• Excellent-quality audio, for small to large focus groups
• 3Mic AutoZoom+ technology adapts the zoom level to the distance of the sound source
• Background noise suppression
• The pre-recording function allows you to record the last five seconds before you press the record key
• Large color display
• Easy user interface and supports eight languages
• Rechargeable li-polymer battery
• 8 GB memory, with micro SD memory card

• Takes several buttons to start a recording
• Low volume on playback
• Few malfunction reports after months of use

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus WS-853

The Olympus WS-853 Digital Voice Recorder has a two-dimensional microphone that records an authentic stereo sound in excellent quality.

It identifies the varying position and distances of speakers to capture audio evenly. And its voice balancer also levels loud and soft voices and turns them into equivalent intensity in playback.

• High-quality Audio, small to large focus groups
• True stereo, two-dimensional mic
• Intelligent Auto Mode automatically adjusts microphone sensitivity
• USB wireless direct connection
• Voice Balancer enhances playback quality
• Noise cancellation for clear playback quality
• Easy to use interphase
• Memory capacity: 130hr MP3 Stereo, 260hr LP Stereo, 2080hr LP Mono

• 2 AAA batteries required
• Not rechargeable
• No external memory

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups price $150 and above

Zoom H2n

The Zoom H2n Stereo Portable Recorder has an impressive microphone capable of capturing a focus group discussion of a large group in surround and highly detailed audio.

This device is a widely used field recorder and almost a mobile recording studio by itself with the sound quality it produces. It’s also capable of spatial audio for VR and Google Jump.

• From small to large focus groups
• Exceptional quality audio with five built-in microphones and omnidirectional function
• Four recording modes, including surround
• Records WAV audio and MP3 formats
• High-quality USB microphone to record from a computer

• The highly-sensitive mics pick up background noise
• The menu and functions are slightly technical to use
• Uses AA batteries
• Not chargeable
• Requires an SD card up to 32GB

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Tascam DR-40X

Tascam DR-40X is a professional quality audio equipment designed for video production and music recording. It can record from very low-frequency audio to thunderous sounds with high decibels.

• Excellent-quality audio
• From small to large focus groups
• High-quality recording with its built-in stereo condenser
• Microphones suitable for large focus groups
• 4-channel mode recording includes overdub and dual recording
• Uses up to 128GB SD card

• With its professional-grade design, control can be overwhelming to regular users
• No noise reduction
• Runs on 3 AA batteries
• Not chargeable

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Zoom H4n Pro 4

Zoom H4n Pro 4-Track Portable Recorder is an excellent-quality audio recorder for expert use, with filmmaker’s features, guitar inputs, and studio-level functionalities.

• From small to large focus groups
• Ultra-realistic audio quality
• Four-channel recording up to 24-bit, 96 kHz
• Stereo x/Y microphones, up to 140 dB SPL
• Monaural speaker
• Natural-sounding preamps
• Super-low noise floor

• Professional controls
• Runs only on Windows Vista and newer Mac OS X 10.6
• Requires an SD card, maximum 32GB
• Short battery life, runs on AA batteries

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Zoom H6

The Zoom H6 Six-Track Portable Recorder is the ultimate portable recorder with its award-winning quality and various professional features. It caters to podcast productions, studio recording to sound engineering.

• From small to large focus groups
• Superb audio quality
• 6-track portable recording
• Four mic/line level inputs with XLR/TRS combo connectors for connection of extra microphones
• Detachable X/Y capsule for live recording
• 4 AA batteries for up to 20 hours but also works plugged to a charger
• External memory SD card up to 128GB

• The professional interface may be a challenge to general users
• Few reports of static due to other electronic devices
• Some reviews state their files got corrupted when the battery drained

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Audio Recorder for Focus Groups FAQ

What is the best overall recording device for focus groups regardless of size?

The Sony ICDUX560BLK Digital Voice Recorder is my recommended device with its excellent audio quality suitable for all focus group sizes.

It also includes noise reduction for background noise, intuitive interphase, and a rechargeable power source. Audio files are also accessible and edited through an included computer software for transcription and documentation.

How do you record a focus group discussion?

Small to medium-sized focus groups must sit in a circle or around a table to capture a sound recording.

Large focus groups would best be seated in a lecture or town hall set up where everyone faces the moderator in front.

At the beginning of the focus group discussion, all participants should introduce themselves to the recording for transcription purposes.

The moderator may also identify each person on their turn to speak.

The participant names would be noted in the transcript to determine each person’s statement, including the ideas and conversations. Participant introduction is especially important for medium to large group focus groups.

It may also be a challenge in the middle of the discussion to identify which speaker is for recordings of larger groups, but this solely depends on how the discussion leader or transcriber would handle it.

How do you plan audio recordings of focus group discussions?

Before the focus group:

• Make sure to plan your recording set-up.
• Set the seat arrangement.
• Do a recording trial to make sure you will capture good quality audio.

The best location to place the audio recording device is in the middle of the room or meeting table, where it can capture everyone’s voices in equal distance.

The recording device must also be far from background noise sources such as windows, doors, or air-conditioning. It’s also preferable to have a second audio recorder to act as a backup should the main one fail or develop some issue.

What is the best audio recorder for research?

All audio recorders are suitable for close-range recording. And so any good quality digital voice recorder would benefit note-taking, data collection, and research documentation.

However, it’s vital to notice background noise in field research, outdoors, or in crowded places. A recording device with a noise-canceling feature would be necessary for these situations, and most of the recommended recorders above have this functionality.

What is the best portable audio recorder for focus group interviews?

For portable recording devices, long battery life and maximum storage are priorities. Considering these features means you don’t have to struggle to find a replacement battery when it runs out or have to access a computer to store files from a maxed-out memory.

The best devices for these features are Sony ICDUX560BLK, Sony UX, and Philips Voice Tracer as rechargeable recording devices with ample storage and external memory capacity.

What is the best way to record individual interviews?

Make sure to conduct a recording test before the interview, saving you from possible technical issues.

Next, ensure that the recorder functions well and captures you and your interviewee’s voice in good quality. Also, check for background noise or adjust the mic or recorder’s position for a better recording.

Which is better: digital voice recorder vs. smartphone?

A digital voice recorder is a much better choice than a smartphone when capturing audio.

Audio capturing devices have plenty of features than your basic smartphone voice recorder, and these include a superior microphone, noise-cancellation, trace markers, longer recording duration, massive storage, and more.

Most of all, a digital voice recorder captures good-quality audio compared to a smartphone recording.

How do you conduct a small focus group session?

A small focus group consists of a maximum of six or fewer participants.

Any quiet meeting room or anywhere with chairs you can arrange in a circle would be an excellent set-up to have them. Place the audio recorder in the meeting room table or any surface in the middle of your chairs.

How to conduct a medium-sized focus group

A medium-sized focus group consists of more than six up to around eighteen participants.

A meeting or boardroom set up would be best. Use your audio recorder with multiple microphones and place them in positions to capture all the participant’s voices.

How to conduct a large focus group session

A large focus group consists of eighteen or more participants, and it’s best to have them in a lecture room, a hall, or other similar settings.

The best way to capture the recording is to use one microphone facilitated by the moderator, and connect it to an audio recording device.

Need an affordable yet high quality manual transcription service? Try Cognoplus – the Internet’s leading premium quality low cost manual transcription service provider.

The Final Word

There are many audio voice recorders in the market, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed in figuring out which one is the best. But with this guide, you now have a rundown and know what to look for in your focus group’s recording device.

Make sure the audio quality is good, as your documentation and device satisfaction rely on this. Review the features you need depending on your group’s size, your venue, and your preferences. Choose the device with the best memory and battery life, and you will be content in the recorder you purchase.

Take time to consider our editor’s choice and the recorders we listed. We hope this helps you decide the best one to purchase.

Once you have your preferred audio recorder, take the necessary preparations and tests before your focus group session. You can maximize your audio recorder’s function not only for focus groups, but also for interviews, research, and countless other tasks as well.

Best Digital Voice Recorder for Interviews

Even though transcribed interviews can deliver a lot of benefits, recording an interview requires the right equipment.

When the interviewee talks so quickly, you may miss some of what is being said.

There’s also the chance the person may have a voice that’s easily drowned out by background noise or the sound of other conversations in the room.

Using the right digital voice recorder is a big help in this situation.

It allows you to capture the speaker(s)’ words accurately… no matter what else is going on around you.

Yes, this even includes interviewees who speak very fast.

There are many choices for Interview recorder models in the market.

It can be challenging to pick the one that will suit you best.

To make sure that you will be able to get your hands on the best dictaphone for interviews, it helps to do your research before making a purchase.

How to Pick the Best Dictaphone for interviews

Given the wide variety of choices, picking the best Interview recorder is not an easy feat.

You have to set a criteria when deciding. This will help you narrow down your options.

It will also help lessen the time you will spend looking since you already know what features to focus on.

You will not be overwhelmed by what is in front of you.

Even if you’re recording an interview in circumstances that are far from meeting dictation best practices, with the right piece of equipment, you’re sure to get audio that can be transcribed with little trouble.

What should I look for in a digital voice recorder?


Interview recorders can pick up all sounds, but for interviews, it is essential that the voices of the people speaking stand out.

This is where the microphone comes in.

The microphone of your recorder must be exceptional. The microphone will determine how much of the conversation it will pick up.

Voice recording devices can be equipped either with unidirectional or omnidirectional microphones.

Unidirectional means that it will record only the sounds in front of it and blocks the rest. On the other hand, omnidirectional microphones pick up everything.

Unidirectional microphones are limited to recording in one direction but would also cancel out more unnecessary noise.

Use it by placing the recorder right in front of the speaker.

The omnidirectional microphone is useful if more than one person is being interviewed.

However, because it captures all sound, it could also pick up too much noise-either radiated (bounced) or direct.

Consider these points when choosing the voice recorder you would buy.

Noise Filter

Background noises cannot be avoided sometimes. It is useful if you can set the meeting in a tame and quiet environment.

However, it is not always possible for every interview that you will have to do that.

It is essential then that your recording device has a noise cancellation feature, which can filter ambient sounds.

“White” noise can often disrupt a sound recording.

It can drown the voice of the main speaker that will make you strain to hear that person.

The noise filter or noise cancellation feature helps clear out low-frequency sounds.

It aids in making the quality of the recording better.

File Format, Storage, and Transfer

It is crucial that your recording can easily be played back on other devices.

There are many ways a file can be saved or converted though not all are very convenient.

Some require additional software just to be played on the computer, and this could be inconvenient sometimes.

Therefore, choose a recorder that saves files in a format that is ready to play.

Two of the best file formats you can choose from are MP3 and WAV. Some recorders use one or the other while some can employ both.

The advantage of the MP3 format is that it takes up less resources.

It does not take much storage space, and it is usually sufficient for everyday recording needs.

WAV, on the other hand, is bigger but is clearer.

It is best for recording lectures, podcasts, or those that require a focus on voice quality.

Your final choice for this feature should lie heavily on your main reason for buying your device.

The length of the recording and the file format will affect the size of the file. You must have enough storage to keep your recording.

Check out the storage capacity of your voice recorder. Determine if it is sufficient for the purpose you intend it for.

Another option is to make sure that aside from the internal memory, it also has memory expansion capacity. Look for an SD card slot.

Check the product description to know the extent of its storage. It will be an inconvenience to be cut off in the middle of an interview because you ran out of storage space.

Finally, make sure that you can transfer the files with ease.

Believe it or not, interview tape recorder devices from decades back actually made file transfer easy from device to device.

After all, tape cassettes were the only game in town. Fast forward to today and you have tons of digital transfer options.

The portable interview recorder you choose must have two or more of these options:

• USB port and data transfer cable
• Built-in USB stick
• External memory or microSD slot
• Bluetooth connectivity


Convenience should also be part of your considerations in finding the best dictaphone for interviews.

Bulky and heavy devices are very uncomfortable to bring along.

They take up a lot of space and can weigh you down.

A good-sized recorder will be easy to store.

Look for one that can easily fit in your pocket or can be left hanging around your neck for easy access.

Aside from this, it must also be easy to operate. You will never know when the sudden need for recording comes.

Battery Life

Imagine doing an interview and being cut off just before you wrap up.

Battery life is essential so that you could avoid inconvenient situations like this.

This is why you have to make sure that your choice includes a battery type that supports long standby time or recording hours.

The charging time for batteries is also an excellent factor to consider.

With good battery life, you will continuously record long interviews without fear of going low on your battery.

These are just five of the main factors you should keep in mind when choosing the best dictaphone for interviews.

You may also look at the control keys, backlight display, microphone jack, and other minor features.

What is crucial is that you can have all the essential factors provided above to maximize the use of your device.

Now that you already know what to look for in a voice recorder, it is time to start your search.

As mentioned earlier, there are so many to choose from.

Many options will meet your demands.

How will you decide? I suggest that you read product reviews.

Reviews help you look deeper into a product without having to buy it yet.

You will see the pros and cons of each item.

You will also see other customer experiences and how consistent the product performs.

This way, you will be more informed. There is a lesser chance of regret.

Here are some reviews that might help you decide which voice recorder to purchase.

dictaphone for interviews

Editor’s choice: Sony ICDUX560BLK

Among the voice recorders in this list, Sony ICDUX560BLK stands out the most in terms of overall value and performance.

This device’s selling point is its multiple recording options: normal, narrow/focus, and wide/stereo.

It is very portable with dimensions of 4.25 x 1.13 x 6.75 inches and around 0.01 pounds.

You can bring it along with you all the time with no hassle.

File transfer can be done via microSD with 4GB storage. It uses two AAA batteries, which come with the purchase.

This voice recorder also charges quickly.

A 3-minute charging time enables you to use the device for up to 1 hour.

• User-friendly interface
• Recording level indicator
• Fast charging battery and can be used for a long time
• Built-in USB eases file transfer
• Small but resilient
• The button lock switch prevents accidental switches
• No brightness adjustments for the screen
• If the USB fails, you can no longer transfer file

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Voice Recorders for Interviews priced $75 and below

evistr interview recorder


This product boasts of its 16GB memory capacity. It has a built-in microphone, records MP3, WMA, and WAV audio formats, and comes with one lithium polymer battery.

This voice recorder captures 1536kbps crystal clear audio.

It is handy, with dimensions of 3.94 x 1.06 x 0.39. It cancels noise effectively for better playback.

• Easy file transfer to a computer using a USB cable
• Simple interface, straightforward buttons.
• It is voice-activated. It can be set to record only when the speaker talks
• Long battery life
• Time-stamped recording for easier file management.
• Comes with a free ebook.

• The microphone can be overly sensitive to sounds.
• The screen display is not big enough.
• You need to go through the manual for the more intricate details of the device.

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

ipx370 interview recorder

Sony ICD-PX370

This is a user-friendly voice recorder. Its simple interface allows faster access to recordings.

It comes with a built-in USB connector for ease of file transfer.

The Auto Voice Recognition helps reduce white noise for a clearer recording.

The device is lightweight, weighing around 0.35 pounds and with dimensions of 4.31 x 1.44 x 7 inches. It records audio in MP3 format.

Inside the box are (2) AAA alkaline batteries that can last up to 57 hours.

• Long battery life
• Plays back the file you chose to delete to ensure you picked the right one
• Plug and play, easy to operate
• Superior playback volume and clarity

• Difficulty going back to specific points on the recording
• Recordings get deleted when the battery dies
• The other recording features do not work as great as the automatic recording

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon


If you need long hours of recording, this is the brand for you. Its 16GB storage allows 288 hours of recording.

File transfer is also a breeze with both USB 2.0 and microSD functions available.

It is only around 0.53oz and 2.83×0.82×0.51 inches, very lightweight, and convenient to carry.

The device has built-in batteries that can last up to 8 hours, with just 2 hours of charging.

It is easy to operate using one key-recording.

Its highly sensitive microphone picks up conversations clearly and saves them in WAV format.

• Long battery life, short charging time.
• Big storage capacity for longer recordings
• Very portable, easy to use, and carry
• Two-options for file transfer
• Highly sensitive microphone for better recording
• Refund option and 100 days warranty
• Can be played directly on Android/PC

• Not all background noise is filtered
• May be too small for others
• Not very sturdy needs to be handled with care

AIWORTH recorder


This product is equipped with a dual sensitive microphone for superior recording.

It stores up to 16GB of files in MP3 format and can be expanded to 32GB using external memory.

It is convenient, just 2.4oz and 45.84 x 15.12 x 6.12 inches.

It has a built-in lithium 800mAh rechargeable battery for up to 45 hours of non-stop recording.

• Very clear voice recording due to its dual microphone
• High memory capacity
• Long battery life
• Simple interface
• Lifetime software upgrade service
• Password protection for better safekeeping of files.
• 16 levels of play speed options.

• Audio playback is quite challenging
• No user guide
• Does not cut out much background noise

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon


Mibao is a 16GB digital voice recorder that is very portable, with a sleek, high-precision metal structure.

It saves files as MP3 audio, WAV, and WMA formats, which can be transferred to another device using its USB port.

This voice recorder is equipped with multi-directional microphones that record sound clearly.

It also has noise cancellation features to help in a more pristine recording.

• High storage capacity, expandable up to 64GB
• User-friendly interface
• Backlit LCD
• Voice-activated recording
• Supports long-distance recording
• Equipped with noise reduction technology
• Add-on features such as music and FM radio
• 24-hour playback capability
• 60-day money-back guarantee

• Slow internal memory function
• It takes time to start recording
• Screen timeout every 60 seconds prevent automatic voice recording

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Voice Recorders for Interviews priced $150 and below

Olympus VN-7200

This voice recorder infuses analog with digital. It has the simplicity of an analog recorder and the advancement of Olympus technology.

The Olympus VN-7200 is a very portable, with just 6.1 x 5.2 x 1.8 inches in dimensions and 0.4pounds weight.

It comes with 2 AAA batteries. The recording time is 1151 long in three different modes.

It is also equipped with voice activation technology.

• Options for fast or slow playback
• Clear sound recording
• Very affordable for the quality
• Easy to operate
• Made with high-quality materials

• It has no PC interface
• Need to buy additional accessories for connectivity
• Slow file transfer using cable

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus VN-722PC

Convenience in file transfer is the strongest selling point of this device.

It gives you three options: USB, microSD, and Secure Digital Card. Files are saved in WMA and MP3 formats.

Its internal memory capacity is 2GB, equivalent to 823 hours of recording but is expandable through its SD card slot.

It uses one Lithium battery, which comes with your purchase. It is also very handy at 4.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches and 0.16 pounds.

• Has a built-in stand
• Can edit, archive, and connect to email via USB
• Intuitive buttons
• Fantastic voice-recording quality
• Easy file transfer to your Mac or PC

• Low internal memory
• Tiny display screen
• Only selected types of earphones are compatible

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Sony ICD-UX570

This product is known for its high-sensitivity built-in microphone.

It is very portable at 8.2 x 6.2 x 4.7 inches.

It saves media in MP3, WMA, and WAV formats.

The storage capacity of this device is expandable up to 32GB. This can be connected to other devices via microSD or USB.

This voice recorder operates using a built-in lithium battery.

• User-friendly interface
• More options for file transfer
• Built-in USB allows for direct connection
• Lightweight
• Headphone jacks available for convenient listening to recordings
• Up to 5 hours and 20 minutes recording and playback
• Comes with 32GB MicroSD and hard case cover for convenient handling

• Excessively bright display backlight
• Cannot customize file names
• Can still improve on its material

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus WS-853

This is a portable, versatile, digital recorder.

This device is built with an ultra-sensitive microphone, easy-to-use playback, and storage time of up to 260 hours.

Its 8GB memory is expandable using a microSD card. It can be easily connected to your PC with its built-in USB port.

It cuts noise effectively and has a wide dynamic range.

It is very compact and lightweight, 4.4 x 1.5 x 0.71 inches, making it very convenient to bring along.

This voice recorder uses 2 AAA batteries for more extended playback.

• Adjustable microphone sensitivity
• Its simple mode is perfect for beginners
• Has two-directional microphone for better sound pickup
• Clear audio recording
• Superb operability
• Auto mode adjusts to match the level of the sound source
• Comes with a cleaning cloth

• The batteries provided can be replaced with better ones.
• The earphone jack on the side may be inconvenient
• Does not have lecture setting or zoom mic

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Best Voice Recorders for Interviews priced $150 and above


This is one of the hottest selling voice recorders because it checks all the features you need to look for in a voice recorder.

It has microSD and USB transfer options. Memory storage for this is at 4GB but can be further expanded if needed using the memory card slot.

It uses two AAA batteries for longer hours of recording.

It cuts noise intelligently and saves files as mono MP3. It can be easily transferred to your ac/PC using the provided USB cable.

It is sleek and easy to carry around is 0.82 x 1.48 x 4.49 inches and 74grams

• A-B repeat function
• Exceptional sound quality
• Easy to use
• Convenient file transfer
• It has a superior noise cancellation feature
• Convenient

• System Requirements: Windows XP (SP3), Vista (SP2), 7, 8 Mac OS X 10.3.9 to 10.8
• Needs to adjust microphone sensitivity
• Best to keep in a case for safety

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Sony ICD-PX440

This voice recorder offers convenience at your fingertips. This device is straightforward to use with its scene select function.

It can transfer files to your Mac or PC easily using its USB cable.

This voice recorder can store up to 1,073 hours of recording in its 4GB built-in memory that is still expandable using a MicroSD/M2.

It also has noise reduction ability for a clearer recording.

• Compact and portable
• Long battery life
• Great sound quality
• Filters noise well
• High-sensitivity sound pick up
• Can transfer files conveniently
• Has a built-in USB connector for easy connectivity

• Does not have a backlit screen
• Small display screen
• Low grip due to smooth surface

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus WS-821

This device can record up to 493 hours with its 2GB built-in memory.

If you need more storage, it can be expanded to 32GB with its MicroSD/SDHC slot.

Files are stored as MP3 or WMA and can be transferred directly to your PC using its built-in USB connector.

It is powered by one AAA battery. It is lightweight and compact at 4 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches.

• The direct USB connector allows easy file transfer
• The calendar function helps to organize files
• Eliminates dead air during playback on transcription mode
• Expandable memory for more extended recording
• Recording scene selection function available

• No rewind function
• Requires earphones for better sound quality
• Can be quite challenging to use without reading the manual

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus WS-801

This device is designed to record up to 514 hours in its 2GB memory. Its microSD allows for memory expansion and easy file transfer.

It saves files as WMA Stereo recording or as MP3. It can be directly linked to your MAC or PC for more convenience.

It is also portable, weighing only 0.11 pounds and measures 3.9 x 1.6 x 0.6 inches.

It has noise cancellation functions and variable control voice actuator.

• Expandable features for more storage
• Easy file transfer
• Multi-format options for files
• Can start and stop recording hands-free
• Scene selection to match your meeting venue
• The calendar function helps organize files

• Some background noise cannot be filtered
• The battery does not charge automatically when plugged in
• Does not have voice activation

Check for Availability and Latest Pricing on Amazon

Olympus VN-722PC

This voice recorder has 4GB memory for 1600 recording.

It can convert files to MP3 or WMA.

It can be directly connected to your PC for convenient file transfer. The device has an expandable memory of up to 32GB using a microSD.

The Olympus VN-722PC is very handy at 4.3 x 1.5 x 0.7 inches and 2.5 ounces. It is powered by 2 AAA batteries that come with the box.

• 1.5-inch display for better navigation
• User-friendly, great for beginners
• Long battery life, up to 100 hours
• Portable USB cable that comes with a strap
• Great sound pick up

• Tiny text on the screen has to be adjusted to be able to read
• Playback volume is quite soft
• The instructions on the manual are not so clear

Best digital recorder for interviews FAQ

What is the best way to record interviews?

The best way to record interviews is to use a recording device.

This will help catch all the material details of the interview.

It also helps to be prepared before meeting the resource speaker.

Write down well-researched questions for smoother conversation flow.

Which is better: digital voice recorder or smartphone?

Digital voice recorders are designed for voice recording. Thus, it is a better choice than a smartphone.

However, there are available apps that can function as a digital voice recorder using a smartphone.

For convenience, you may use a smartphone if you do not require high-quality audio recording.

What is the best recording device for interviews?

There are many options to choose from. The best device will strongly depend on your intent on using it.

Check the audio recording and playback, the storage, file conversion, and file transfer options to help you decide.

How much is the cheapest voice recorder?

There are voice recorders that range below $25. However, you need to check the features if they meet your requirements.
How does a digital voice recorder work?

The sound being recorded is stored and then converted into a stream of numbers.

The numbers are produced by the microphone, which is connected to an analog to digital converter (ADC).

These numbers will be converted back into sound using a digital to analog converter (DAC) when played back through the speaker.

The most common playback file formats being used today are MP3, .wma, .wav, and .dss.

What should I look for in a voice recorder?

The features that you must focus on when looking for a voice recorder are memory capacity, battery life, audio performance, microphone, file storage, and convenience.

What is the best file format for a voice recorder?

MP3 format is a good choice for recording. It is small and can be played on most devices without having to convert anything.

However, if you need a clearer and bigger file, opt for WAV instead.

How do I transfer my recording to my computer?

File transfer from your recording device to your computer can be done using a USB cable, memory stick, or Bluetooth.

Check the features of your device to see which of these are provided.

Can I use my smartphone as a voice recorder?

Your smartphone can be used as a voice recorder if you have the app for this function.

Go to the app store or play store, and then download the app that does voice recording.

Do you need permission to record an interview?

Most countries have laws that prohibit recording conversations without expressed permission from either of the parties.

So, yes. Ethically, permission is required before recording an interview.

Need an affordable yet high quality manual transcription service? Try Cognoplus – the Internet’s leading premium quality low cost manual transcription service provider.

The Final Word on Picking The Best Voice Recorder for Interviews

With this guide, you now will have a good idea of picking the best voice recorder based on the factors to consider mentioned above.

Make sure to do your research not only to make an informed and right decision but also to get the most value for your money.

With the right recorder, your interviews will be clear and complete.

Happy interviewing!

How to speak faster during dictations

If you want to dictate at a higher speed, you have to learn how to think and speak faster.

There are no 2 ways about it. All of these really boil down to being able to think quickly on your feet.

The good news? Most of us already think way faster than we talk. This is a scientific fact.

While we can’t measure the speed of thoughts directly, we can measure the speed in which neurons send information to each other.

We have a good idea of how fast signals from the brain reach our muscles. According to several studies, our brains relay electrical information to our muscles at a rate of 270 miles per hour.

That’s very fast.

It’s definitely much faster than speaking at a rate of 125 words per minute.

Our minds can come up with thoughts so much faster than we can verbalize them. In fact, if you’re reading this, you probably are thinking about a million and one things.

You can recognize some of them while others are just blinking in and out really quickly. That’s how fast your mind works.

The big challenge in learning how to speak faster for dictations is to trap or tame as much of that thinking speed as possible. Speaking faster is all about controlling our thinking process to the point that we can quickly identify our strongest ideas, develop them, and move on to the next thought.

This won’t happen quickly. It definitely won’t take place overnight.

The good news is that with enough practice through dictation every day, we can speak so much faster. It’s going to be rough the first few times, but pretty soon, you’ll get the hang of it.

With practice, you’ll speak faster and most of your transcripts won’t need much editing. At 125 words per minute, you will be able to crank out 7,500 words per hour or 60,000 words in an 8 hour day.

Think about the possibilities.

Think of how many blog posts you can crank out daily.
Think about the books the 300-page books you can produce every single day.
Focus on the thousands of ideas you can identify, catalog, and define in the space of 8 hours.
Imagine the tons of social media posts you can produce just by talking them out.

Try to wrap your mind around the large collection of marketing materials you can dictate every single day.

Again, the possibilities are endless. It all begins with learning how to speak faster. Here are the 16 steps that I use to get my dictation speed up.

On a good day, I can produce 50,000 words. When edited down into printable quality, that translates to 35,000 to 40,000 words. Not too shabby.

Not only do you get to produce more content through dictation blogging, you benefit in a lot of other ways as well-from discipline to better time management.

I’ve been at this for several years now and I’m 100% sure that you can do the same. Start by following the steps below.

Step #1: Always use an outline

This is non-negotiable. If you’re thinking of just freestyling your way to 40,000, 50,000, or even 60,000 words per day, you’re delusional.

I hate to say it.

Why? Most of the stuff that you are going to be dictating will be garbage.

Sure, there’s going to be some bright spots here and there. But most of it will be unusable. When you use an outline, you get an instant message discipline.

That’s the bottom line. You know what to talk about, how to talk about it, how long to cover it, and what comes next.

This simple set of limits adds so much value to the transcription of your dictation. Always start with an outline. Once you have your outline in front of you, either on a screen or printed out, read it very quickly.

You don’t have to dwell on every paragraph or letter. Just zip through it.

When you do this, you become familiar with the broad themes of what you’re going to be dictating.

Next, go back to the top and read the major headings. Don’t bother with the fine details. Just look at the subheadings. Understand them.

This gives you the proper context of what you’re going to be talking about and how you’re going to approach it.

Once you’re done with the major headings, read the whole thing again quickly. You may be thinking that you’re not picking up much of anything when you read the outline, but you’ll be wrong.

Now, you know what to expect.

A lot of the fear or laziness that you may have about the material goes away. You know what to expect. You’re managing your assumptions somewhat.

Next, go back to the top and read it slower. You’d be surprised as to how much of your outline makes sense.

If you wrote it correctly, most, if not all of it, will make sense.

Finally, you read closely. At this point, you probably already know what parts of the outline you’re kinda spotty on. Just jump to those sections. Feel free to jump backward and forwards.

Do this in a span of 10 minutes. It doesn’t matter how long the outline is. Get it all done in 10 minutes.

A lot of the resistance that you’re feeling right now is emotional. It’s not intellectual.

That’s the good news. You can do this. You’re smart enough.

The problem is you think you’re not up to the job. So when you go through this routine, you’ll let go of your emotional hesitation as well as your fear.

Many people often label this as “laziness” or “procrastination”. It’s just all emotions.

Now, you’re just clearing all that fog and you know what to expect. Do this in 10 minutes.

Step #2: Pick a spot you won’t be disturbed in

Ideally, you should pick a place that you won’t get disturbed in. This works best for introverts.

If you’re an extrovert and you don’t mind speaking into a condenser microphone or digital voice recorder in public, look for a different type of place.

Look for a location where you feel you can be pressured to focus. People may be talking around you even with social distancing, but the social pressure pushes you to pay close attention to what you’re doing.

Some people are wired to perform better this way. Others can’t hang with so many distractions and they need to be alone.

Either way, you know yourself better than anybody. Pick the right spot.

Step #3: Develop a pre-dictation ritual

Think back to when you dictated clear, high-quality content in one sitting. If you’re doing any kind of dictation blogging or if you’ve written a book through dictation, you’ve done this.

Maybe you worked on a chapter and just flowed so smoothly. Remember that time.

What did you do? Repeat those rituals.

Maybe you cleared your throat. Maybe you stood up straight and took a few deep breaths and settled into your seat.

Maybe you ran your hands on your condenser microphone or podcasting mic or some sort of heavy digital voice recorder.

Whatever you did, it set you at ease emotionally. Again, whatever difficulties you’re having when it comes to being productive, a lot of that is in your head.

Most of it is emotional. You’ve done well before. So it’s not competence.

It’s not your IQ or ability to succeed. It’s something else.

When you go through certain rituals that almost always lead to you outperforming, you get rid of those emotional limits.

Make it a point to consciously and intentionally go through a pre-dictation ritual after you have picked a great spot to dictate your blog post, articles, novels, books, or video scripts.

Step #4: Read your outline and think of 3 directions

After you’ve read your outline, you know what directions it could go. This should be instinctive.

There can only be so many ways the information can flow. These are the most logical and most familiar to you.

Think of the 3 most identifiable directions you can take when reading the first few bullet points of your outline.

They don’t have to be crystal clear. They definitely don’t have to leap out at you in a 3-dimensional form. They don’t have to be perfect.

But you should feel comfortable in trusting yourself to go in either of those 3 directions. This is important because, at this point, you’re learning to trust yourself emotionally and psychologically.

Step #5: Dictate 1 direction

Now that you have thought about 3 ways you can approach that bullet point, let the words appear. At the back of your mind, you’ve already select it.

All of us have different preferences. That’s just how our brains are wired. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Just trust yourself enough to open your mouth and let those sounds come out and dictate that 1 direction.

Step #6: Fully flesh out the idea as you speak

As you go through your outline, there are so many ways you can explore the idea. You can use so many different words and phrasings to get to the same point.

Trust yourself enough to pick 1 direction and pull in as many different clear words that bring the point home without you repeating yourself.

Don’t obsess about the fact that you don’t want to repeat yourself. If you do this, you will start talking in loops.

I’ve seen it happen. It used to happen to me a lot.

Trust yourself enough to fully flesh out that idea. Be curious. Explore different directions and facets.

It’s like holding a vase in your had. You can look at it from the front, top, and side.

All that’s fine as long as you don’t keep going back to where you started. Just focus on each point once.

focus on key points

Step #7: Identify the strongest points as you develop a key point

When you speak improvisationally, your mind is actually operating on many different tracks.

It’s thinking about the next few words that you’re going to say, but it’s also keeping track of the concept that you are describing or engaging with.

As you do this, your mind is trying to make sense of everything. It has its own GPS. There’s really no other way for me to phrase it.

It knows it has this rough sense of whether it’s going in the right direction or if it’s just totally off track.

By trusting your internal GPS on the flow of what you’re talking about, you allow your mind to clearly identify the strongest points of what you’re talking about.

This is important because you have to get to the point quickly and you can not miss a crucial detail.

When you trust your mental GPS to piece everything together, the more key points you develop and the quicker your strongest points appear.

Step #8: Focus on unique ideas

This is where it gets tricky. When you’re developing a key point, there seem to be certain strong, almost obvious ideas that just materialize and you can’t wait to talk about them.

Here’s the problem. You may have talked about them in another way before.

By spending more time with them, you not only fail to bring something unique enough to the table, but you probably will forget other stronger and more valuable points that you could have explored.

I wish I could tell you that there’s an easy solution to this. This is a key sticking point of dictating content.

I don’t care if you’re dictating blog posts, articles, novels, short stories, video scripts, or plain books. You’re going to run into this problem again and again.

The good news is as you practice, you start developing an eye for truly unique and substantial ideas. Now you may be thinking to yourself, “Okay, I’ll just focus on ideas that I haven’t talked about before.”

That’s not good enough. They have to be unique, but they also have to push the needle.

You have to cover new ground. You have to add value to the life of the person reading whatever it is you’re dictating.

Uniqueness or novelty is not enough. It has to be substantive.

Step #9: Drill down to get rid of repetitive questions

As you practice this, you quickly realize that you’re actually asking yourself a lot of questions as you dictate. This is perfectly normal and is to be expected.

In fact, if you’re not doing this, you’re doing it wrong.

Here’s the secret. Allow yourself to drill down onto these unique and substantive ideas while asking yourself questions about them.

When you focus on the obvious and then work your way to similarities, contrasts, comparisons, and all that good stuff, you’re constantly asking yourself questions like “Have I said this before?” or “How does this push what I’m saying to a whole new level?”

“Is this really adding new value to the understanding of the person reading what I’m dictating?” You have to ask yourself these questions again and again as the words roll off your tongue.

If the answer is no, then your mind should shift to subsections or segments of the idea that are important and valuable enough.

For example, I can talk about making money online through dictation blogging by just hammering home the point that you can produce 50,000 to 60,000 words per day of blog posts.

Everybody knows that if we just spit out garbage, people wouldn’t want to read it.

Sure, you may be targeting keywords and you may be asking certain questions that people search Google for, but once they read your answer, it becomes obvious that you’re just looping around in circles or you’re dancing around the answer. It’s a waste of their time.

I can keep talking about that, but I’m not really going to be adding much value until I talk about using that increased speaking speed to focus on social media content, outreach to people that are influential in your niche and who can possibly publish your content in exchange for a backlink, as well as podcasting or any other alternative forms that your content can take.

These are the unique idea directions that naturally come to me when I allow myself to trust the repetitive questions that are always cranking in my mind the moment I develop one idea and thinking of moving on to the next.

It has to be something new and useful.

The good news is the more you drill down, the more practical and useful directions open up to you.

Step #10: Drill down in another direction

Once you have milked the most obvious direction of your outline item, it’s very tempting to just call it a day.

You’re thinking to yourself, “I did my best and it looks like I talked about what I needed to talk about.” Don’t settle.

If you really want to produce a lot of useful content, don’t give in to this temptation because if you develop this habit, you would quickly find out that your mind is very lazy precisely because it’s very smart.

It will find the most efficient way for you to describe a concept and give you the feeling that you have explored it enough. Emotionally, you’re thinking that you put in the work.

You’ve attacked it at many different points, you explored different areas, and you’ve laid out all the unique ideas that are useful to the reader.

At that point, it’s very emotionally tempting to just go back to your outline and get on with it. If you get into this habit, you actually start shrinking your transcription.

Your mind is so efficient that you can quickly zip through the “usual suspects” of topic coverage and quickly move from outline point to point.

You’re feeling really good because you think you’ve covered so much material. This has happened to me.

I dictate blog posts all the time. This is how it usually happens.

I thought I was very thorough, I’ve spit out several examples, well at least that what it seemed like.

But when I get the transcription, it’s actually much shorter than I thought it would be.

I could’ve sworn that when transcribed, my dictation would total at least 50,000 words. But what I got back was 30,000.

No, it’s not because I instructed the transcriber to edit hard. They just transcribed with normal editing discretion.

What happened was my mind was playing tricks on me. It felt so good to mentally process an idea.

But it turned out that it was just my emotional excitement of finishing the outline quickly. You fix this problem by insisting on drilling down in another direction.

It doesn’t matter if you’re chasing after word count or you’re trying to make sure that you offer as many different possibilities or ideas in the final version of your content. You have to do it.

Step #11: Go back to your outline

It’s important to go back to the outline at the right spot. I know it sounds almost funny, but you’d be surprised as to how often I would go back to my previous point in the outline.

I end up repeating myself and wasting a lot of time as well as my transcriber’s time and attention. It’s important to go back to where you left off.

This takes mental discipline. This is no time to edit yourself. If you’re feeling that you did a lousy job covering a previous point, there’s no need to go back to that previous section in the outline.

Just get on with it. Once you develop this level of emotional discipline, everything will start to fall into place because you know that there is no rewind button.

As I mentioned in my post on the benefits of dictation blogging, with dictation, you get to say the content once and you move on. This is so much better than manual writing where you edit yourself and get caught up in an endless loop.

Every time you go through that loop, you’re burning precious time. Before you know it, you stand up from your desk and realize that you put in 8 hours but only have 2,000 words to show for it.

Step #12: Fill in ideas that come to you

As you go through your outline, sometimes, it becomes so clear that there has to be a filler segment in the outline. Maybe you didn’t think about it when you first dictated your outline or it was just completely off the radar.

Maybe you had somebody else write your outline and didn’t think of it. It doesn’t matter.

The more you drill down on each outline point, the clearer these gaps appear in your mind. At this point, you have to pull the trigger and fill in ideas as they come to you.

Here’s a tip. The first few bullet points on your outline shouldn’t jump the gun because at that point if you’re like most people and you’re thinking at the rate of thousands of miles per hour, all these seemingly “hot ideas” just pop out of nowhere.

They come at you from all directions. Don’t give in.

Why? You haven’t familiarized yourself enough with the information of your outline to make a clear and wise decision.

It’s only after you’ve gone through at least 3 bullet points in the outline that you would have enough command over the materials to make the right call as to which new bullet points to put in.

This is where you have to set aside your voice recorder and quickly get on your keyboard and type in the new bullet points. The faster you do it, the more ideas you can reduce to writing.

The same goes if you’re dictating using a condenser podcasting microphone. When I’m dictating from home, I use a podcasting setup.

You have to reach out to your keyboard and type in those lines.

Do yourself a big favor though. Try to boil down those key points into their most cogent and potent form.

After that, cover them as you go through your outline. Drill down hard.

Step #13: Make sure you cover all points of your outline

As I’ve mentioned earlier, when you’re doing dictations, sometimes your mind plays tricks on you. You get this feeling that you’re the next Albert Einstein.

You talked about a topic and you just beat it to the ground. You killed it. You hit it from all corners, all directions, upward, downward, backward, forward. It’s as if you knew it like the back of your hand.

You can’t help but feel like a million bucks. But once you get the transcription, it turns out that what you talked about was very shallow. You didn’t even get close.

You just basically scratched the surface. This is why it’s crucial to cover all the points of your outline because when you experience that problem that I just described and you stop halfway through your outline, you have to redo the project.

This has happened to me several times. I felt so good about one part of the outline that I was sure that those sections alone would be worth thousands of words. Boy was I wrong.

Don’t go with your feelings. Just get it all out.

The best way to do this is to make sure you hammer each and every point of your outline.

Whether it’s the pre-existing outline that you’re working with or new bullet points that you just type because ideas crystallized as you were dictating, you have to get it all out.

The good news is if you just produced too much, you can edit later. But it’s much better to take off after producing too much than adding stuff in long after the excitement of dictation has gone when you produce too little.

Sum it all up

Step #14: Think of summing it all up as you dictate

In the final 30% of your outline, start thinking of how to sum it all up. Don’t get me wrong, you’re not thinking of your concluding paragraph.

Instead, in the final 30%, you should use one of the thinking tracks that you’re operating on to get a holistic view of what you’ve covered.

This is important because it may turn out that you have yet to make your strongest points. Again, this has happened to me before painfully.

I’ve had clients come back to me and say “It’s great that you talk about points X, Y, and Z. The problem is nobody’s going to take you seriously until you establish your knowledge of A, B, and C.”

This is crucial. When you are near the final stages of the dictation, think about summing it all up.

This will force you to recognize or remember the strongest points of the outline. This way, you don’t overlook anything.

At worst, you can make a verbal notation so that in the transcript, it would say “edit to add this section to a previous point.”

It’s going to take a little work, but it’s better than just blowing those points altogether. Remember, you’re trying to add value to people’s lives.

You’re trying to give them information that they need to take things to the next level. You’re not doing them any big favors by assuming they would know certain ideas or just blowing it off altogether because you forgot.

Step #15: Throw out idea nuggets or ‘mini-outlines’ you can edit later

One of the most common problems that I always face when dictating content involves new ideas. For example, I verbally wrote a 700 page novel on Vikings.

It was going well. It took me about a week to work through the outline and it felt really good.

But throughout the process, all these ideas were just jumping out at me. The Vikings actually had a lot to do with the monks in Ireland, the Anglo-Saxon Germans in England, and, at a later point, Muslims in the tip of Spain and Northern Africa.

As I explored those portions of the novel, things got really confusing because my mind was operating in 5,000 directions at once. I was supposed to talk about Jarls and Viking berserkers and longboats, but all I could think about are exotic, smoke-filled rooms in Muslim Spain while you could hear the calls to prayer waft out of the tall minarets surrounding the Mosques.

This is where idea nuggets come in. When a very strong idea comes to you as you transcribe, tell yourself or the transcriber to note in the audio “(idea)”.

Come up with your own system. There’s really no one right answer.

Just come up with a notation system that makes sense to you. This way when you look at the transcript, you can see that there are different directions that it can take you.

Copy and paste it or cut it out of the transcription or the soft version and maybe write blog posts, books, novels, short stories, or whatever else out of these idea nuggets.

I understand what you’re thinking. Why not just stop thinking about them and get back to your main focus?

That’s a problem because when you come up with idea nuggets, they’re actually a happy byproduct of your peak creative intensity. The last thing that you want to do is to say to yourself “I’m thinking about the wrong things. I’m talking nonsense here, so I’m going to stop and get my bearings and go back to my original direction.”

What do you think the effect will be? That’s right. You shut yourself up.

Don’t be surprised if the creative juices just dry up instantly. Again, I know. It has happened to me before.

If you’re working on a 700 page epic on Vikings and all these idea nuggets start hitting you, the last thing you want to do is to stop and refocus your mind away from these mini outlines or story ideas.

Leave them in the dictation. You know you’re going to cut them out. Don’t let them trip you up because they will happen.

They’re not things to be avoided because I’ve written amazing short stories and blog posts off idea nuggets. Think of them as happy accidents that can give you a headstart for other creative work in the future.

If anything, they act as seeds. Treat them as such. Don’t think that they’re something that you have to actively work against because you’re just going to end up tripping yourself up.

focus on the right words

Step #16: Don’t worry about getting the words right as long as you enunciate clearly

A lot of people are sticklers for proper pronunciation and annunciation. I get all that.

But the problem is the more mental energy you invest in saying the words correctly, the more likely you’re going to trip yourself up.

Remember, you only have so much mental energy to work with. You wake up with a certain fixed amount of willpower.

Are you really going to blow all of that on making sure that every word is correct or pronounced like the King’s English? Or are you just going to let the energy flow and take you from one idea and fully develop it onto the next?

You pay a heavy price for putting too much focus on form instead of doing what you should be doing and keeping your eyes fixed on the substance.

The final word on how to speak faster for dictations

By following the 16 steps above, you will be able to not only speak faster when dictating content, but you’d also learn how to be a more disciplined thinker.

The problem with dictating creative work compared to just reciting facts and data is that you are engaging your personal intuition, creativity, and resourcefulness all at once. It’s all about your imagination.

When you get the hang of trusting yourself by taking one direction instead of another, things start to flow and the quality of your final transcribed work improves over time.

Don’t expect to get it perfect overnight. That’s not going to happen. Instead, enjoy your journey from typing 35 words per minute to producing 20,000, 40,000, then maybe 60,000 words per day.

It’s all about discipline and going through this amazing journey of self-discovery. Remember, you are learning how your mind thinks. You’re identifying your creative habits along the way.

Treat it like an amazing field trip. It’s not a chore and it’s definitely not a job because as I keep saying in this post if you’re serious about learning how to speak faster, you have to overcome the emotional hurdles that are dragging you back and keeping you down.

People can do this because I’ve done it. If I can do it, you can do it too. What’s keeping you is emotional.

It’s not intellectual and it’s not something that you can not fix. I wish you all the best in your dictation efforts. Enjoy the journey.