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.

17 Reasons Why You Should Record Interviews

interview dictation

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to create content is through dictation.

This is what I have been promoting even before I put up this blog.

If you can think of an idea, you can play around with it in your mind and then quickly say it out loud.

Get that idea out there.

Once it is transcribed, you can shape, mold , and get it down to its final form.

The key is to quickly turn ideas into something more concrete that you can work with.

That’s the power of content creation through dictation.

We are not just talking about dictating novels, books, blog posts, articles, and other forms of offline and online content, you can also create content through interviews.

In some ways, interviewing for content is an easier, cheaper, and faster way to create content than dictating it on your own.

As I’ve talked about in my post on how to dictate outlines, you have to think through key concepts so you can verbally outline them.

Once you have those outlines, you can then dictate blog posts, articles, books, short stories, and what have you.

But it all begins with an outline and that outline is going to take some work.

Outlines also force you to zero in on what you know.

Not so with interviews.

With this form of dictated content-creation, you are picking somebody else’s brain.

You are tapping into their experiences, expertise, and subject matter knowledge.

Here is the best part: it is all out there for the taking.

It is a surprise that many bloggers, writers, novelists, and other content creators have not taken full advantage of this method.

Reporters have been using this method since forever.

Why not you?

You may be thinking to yourself, “Well, I’m just a blogger and I don’t get in touch with people that I can interview.”

That is not true.

Many people would love to talk to you and give you free content.

That’s right, just by recording the audio interview, you can get that interview transcribed quickly.

Once you have the transcription, you can turn it into whatever you want.

You can produce articles, blog posts, video scripts, you name it.

Those interviews also contain enough ideas for you to develop a novel, short story, or nonfiction book that you dictate.

The list of possibilities is endless.

If you are still on the fence, here are 17 reasons why you should record interviews via dictation.

people love talking about themselves

1. People Love Talking About Themselves

If you think that nobody has the time to talk to you on the record, think again.

If you are a blogger who specializes in a niche or topic category, there are surely influence leaders or authorities in that area.

How do you think they became so big? Well, for the most part, they didn’t become popular until they reached out to others.

They would love to reach out even further in their niche because this would make them even more well-known.

Getting interviewed increases their visibility and this can lead to their brand becoming even bigger.

In addition, people just love talking about themselves.

They like talking about the new projects they got going and the things they are working on.

Talking about one’s self triggers pleasure centers in the brain. No wonder, most people love doing it.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to big names, formerly big names, or up and coming people in your niche.

You’d be surprised as to how many interviewees you can line up.


2. Influencers Always Have Something to Promote

You may be thinking that there are certain people on your interview list who you can safely scratch off.

These people are too big, established, or well-known for them to have anything to do with your tiny blog or up and coming online publication.

Think again.

You have to understand that people who are influential in any market will always have something to promote.

They might not have a recently published book but you can bet that they have stuff that they have published or products they have released before.

Even if they do not create their products, you best believe that they would be promoting somebody else’s product either in the form of an affiliate program or some form of a special partnership.

At the very least, influencers in any market are out to promote themselves.

They know that the bigger their personal brand becomes, the more they can command when it comes to endorsements, promotions, and other special deals.

Don’t be shy about reaching out to influencers. Don’t think they do not have any time for you.

It is in their interest to speak to you because you are focused on their market area.

You are either their target audience or you have access to their target audience.

Either way, they are attracted to what you have to offer.

interviewees feel important

3. Interviews Make People Feel Important

Let us get one thing out of the way. It does not matter how humble or modest somebody may seem, all of us have an ego.

When you are interviewing somebody, they are the center of the world for those few minutes.

You are hanging on to every word they say.

You focus on their ideas. It’s all about them.

That feeling is addictive.

It does not take much for somebody to get used to that kind of attention.

In fact, a lot of people begin to crave being the center of attention after they experience it a few times.

This is particularly true for people who did not get much attention growing up or when they were starting in the industry.

People who get big or famous can always point back to a time when nobody knew them.

Either they are working out some insecurity or stroking their ego, this is all good news for you.

When you reach out to try and get an interview, you can tap into this need to feel important or the need to be the center of someone else’s attention.

People would take the opportunity to speak to you to satisfy this need.

They might be feeling stressed or some competitors are outclassing them or about to surpass them, then you come along and ask them what they think about something that is hot in the industry.

At that point, they cannot help but want to talk to you because, in those moments, they are number one; they are the most important and relevant. It is hard to resist this sense of importance.

interviewees often spill the beans

4. Question and Answer Formats Can Lead to Off The Cuff Answers

Many bombshell revelations in any industry often begin in some interviews.

That doesn’t happen often in a press conference.

Those media events are well-coordinated with questions that have already been filtered and pretty much everybody knows their place.

It is hard to get under somebody’s skin or trigger the interviewee to say something that they will otherwise not say.

All bets are off when you are in an interview.

If you are bouncing back questions and answers and there is a certain level of mutual comfort, do not be surprised if your interviewee starts dropping hints here and there.

They might be telling you about stuff that they know or like to be asked about.

Maybe they know some gossip that hasn’t been put out there yet.

There are so many things that could go on because their hair is down and they feel they can say stuff off the cuff.

The key is to make them feel comfortable by allowing yourself to feel comfortable.

If the interviewee can sense in your voice or facial expressions or the way you talk that there is tension, they are less likely to let their guard down.

Be on the lookout for off the cuff answers because that kind of content is what will make your little blog an industry giant.

You end up breaking news or getting a scoop that everyone else would die for.

And all you needed to do was to set up an interview.

5. You Can Chase After Off The Cuff Revelations to Mine Nuggets of Information

Imagine you were in a press conference and a company representative or a government official being interviewed says something that throws everybody off.

It may have been an off the cuff answer. Maybe they slipped, or whatever the case may be, you can bet that the other people in the conference will try to keep a lid on it.

They will try to deflect or pull off shenanigans and before you know it, the press conference is back on track.

You are more likely to chip away or fully develop revelations or hints that your interviewee throws out there casually.

It all depends on how comfortable you are with each other.

Once you have established a level of trust and they are aware that the interview is on the record, you can chase after seemingly off the cuff revelations that your interviewee may not even be aware of and turn them into something more substantial.

People slip up all the time. They let their guard down.

And when you backtrack and ask them about it, they can always redirect, clarify, or try to get things back on track.

However, there is a big chance that they may be so comfortable that they would let you in into their thought process and let you access stuff that your competitors could only dream of.

What makes this happen? The interview format.

let loose and sing like a bird

6. Casual Interviews Allow Interviewees to Let Loose

Even if you are simply using a phone with an Easy Voice Recorder app, you may stumble upon amazing pieces of information from your interviewee.

This is more likely to happen in a casual interview than in a more formal setting.

Say, you meet somebody at Starbucks and after getting coffee, you shoot the breeze and get down to business.

You start talking about their company or what they’ve done, and before you know it, they are sharing important details that other bloggers in your industry are either unaware of or understand only at a shallow level.

All you needed to do was whip out your phone and use a Samsung voice recorder.

The interview is casual.

No big production of the fact that you are recording the conversation.

As long as they give you consent before you record, everything is on the table because they know what they are getting into.

What is awesome about a casual setting is it helps you tremendously in setting people at ease.

Your interviewee goes with the back and forth flow, and before you know it, you have material for amazing blog posts that can take your blog to a whole other level.

Similarly, if you are writing a book, you might get information that can set your book apart from others written by industry insiders.

It all boils down to letting the casual setting help you make some inroads.

Do not be afraid to use a phone with an Easy Voice Recorder app.

This app is innocuous. You can download the app quickly.

7. People Are More Likely to Come Up with Creative Answers in Freeform Interviews

The problem with rigid interviews involving interviewers going through a checklist of questions is that interviewees feel pressured.

You are putting them on notice that you’d like to get out of them certain information.

What do you think their response would be?

Well, most people would react to this by being guarded or playing coy.

But if you engage in a free-form interview where you are pulling questions out of thin air, you are more likely to catch them off guard.

While a casual setting is most optimal for provoking this kind of response from the interviewee, you can also do it in an office or in an open space that has a PC.

For instance, you can set it up where you and the interviewee are talking around a PC with an mp3 recorder.

If that seems too limiting, maybe you can find an open area with a lot of sunlight and air.

An open-air bistro can be a great place for a meaningful interview as long as you are using a dedicated voice recorder device.

ask more aggressive questions

8. Less Formal Settings Enable You to Ask More Aggressive Questions

The problem with formal settings is that people can pick up on the signals that interviewers are giving out.

The interviewers are there for business and their job is to extract information.

The interviewee sees all of that a mile away.

How do you think interviewees respond to this?

They will not communicate as freely as you want them to. It is not going to be easy to interview them because they will deflect questions.

Before you know it, people walk away from a press conference or an interview having the same information when they first came in.

An interview in a less formal setting such as a restaurant or a park or even at a clubhouse is often enough to get the interviewee to relax.

They are more likely to respond negatively to any question they may think as aggressive if the interview is conducted in a formal setting.

In a less formal setting, you can be more aggressive.

You have to be careful but you can ask the same questions in different ways and at different times during the interview.

This can lead to amazing insights and disclosures.

The key to pulling this off is to record the interview with a voice recorder app.

The app could be an embedded one, a Sony, or a Samsung voice recorder or one that is installed on your phone.

Presentation is the key.

Compare this with sticking a microphone in the face of your interviewee and asking them the same question again and again.

There is no comparison.

9. Freewheeling Interviews Can Lead to Impromptu Questions That You Would Have Never Thought to Ask

One of the main claims to fame of famous hard-hitting journalists is their relentless probing for truth and their hard questions.

The problem is when journalists ask hard questions, the interviewee will have a way to wiggle out or get themselves out of tight spots.

They can do this because the interview is scripted.

Maybe the interviewer has a schedule to stick to or there is simply not enough time for the interview so they have to “get to the good stuff quickly”.

How productive that kind of interview do you think will be?

Most of the time, the interview highlights you see on BBC or CNN are intense flashpoints that are few and far in between.

For the most part, these interviews are boring and yield little new information.

The great thing about dictating interviews is that you tend to trigger a more freewheeling question and answer interplay.

It is as if you are playing off the emotional energy of your interviewee and he or she is doing the same with you.

You are trying to figure each other out and once you achieve a certain level of mutual comfort and respect, do not be surprised if you come up with impromptu questions that may seem out of place.

Also, you might ask questions that you did not consider before.

Just as there are off the cuff answers, there are also off the cuff questions that can lead to answers that may take your career to the next level.

Freewheeling interviews usually take place in casual settings or a room the interviewee feels at ease in. They might feel secure in a room because it is more private. If they prefer an indoor interview in a casual room, use a voice recorder device for room interviews.

This device should be powerful enough to pick up the interviewee’s answers as well as his or her emotional range. When you are getting the interview transcribed, you also have to establish emotional context because a lot could be lost in translation.

interview on multiple platforms

10. Interviews Can Be Done on Multiple Platforms

Do not think that interviewing for content that you will later transcribe can only be done face-to-face. You can interview via Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, and many other platforms.

This poses the extra challenge of capturing information on those platforms that can be converted into editable text.

To address this, you can use video transcription software.

It is okay not to use a Samsung voice recorder or some other interview recording device.

Instead, you can take notes and dictate key points from the interview using Dragon transcription software to turn your speech from audio to text on your computer.

Google Docs does this as well but you have to speak at a slower rate.

In any case, there is always audio and video capture software that will enable you to convert interviews into something editable.

interview scheduling

11. Most Interviewees Appreciate the Flexibility of Interviews

Always give your interviewee a choice as to platform and venue. Do not just say, “I’m going to meet you at a restaurant of your choice, or let’s meet online.”

Remember the interviewee is doing you the favor so give them the courtesy of choosing how they would like to be interviewed.

Some people prefer to be interviewed over Skype because they don’t want you to see their faces.

Fair enough, turn off the video.

Others do not want you to talk so you type while they talk.

Again, the interview should be all about them and their needs.

As long as you get to ask your questions and there is a good chance they will volunteer information, you should take whatever they suggest.

Do not insist on showing up somewhere with some voice-activated recording device to capture what they have to say. That might be a deal-breaker for them.

Many interviewees are perfectly comfortable with Zoom.

Set up a Zoom conference and let them know you are using a Zoom conference recorder so you can transcribe the interview later.

12. You Can Think About New Questions to Ask Based on the Direction of the Conversation

This is one of my favorite benefits of using interviews to produce online content.

No matter how smart you believe you are and how well you think you know your interviewee or the topic you are talking about, there is always room for improvement.

There might be ideas that pop up in the middle of your give and take with an interviewee.

This is difficult to trigger in a formal press briefing that is too rigid for you to brainstorm.

Often, the interviewee would have left long ago when you come up with a new question.

Things are different when you are interviewing somebody face-to- face and you have a voice recorder in your hand.

They may be responding to something you raised earlier and this can open the door to other questions that might be more interesting.

People often find gold in places where they least expect it.

By just allowing themselves to get lost in the process of doing what needs to be done, they adapt to the environment and they get to go where they need to go.

The same goes for interviews.

Let the conversation take a life of its own.

A lot of it is driven by the mutual comfort and trust built up to that point.

The forks in the road during a conversation make things interesting and lively.

dictate content in many formats

13. Interview Transcriptions Can Give You Enough Materials for Several Pieces of Content

Now that you have finished an interview that lasted two to three hours, do not think that you’ve just wasted your time.

Sure, there is going to be a lot of stuff to decode because there might be plenty of text after you convert the audio file into text.

The same goes for your reaction after you send your audio file to an online transcription service.

No matter how you cut it, it may seem that text from your transcript is excessive after you transfer your file from a voice recording device or software.

You might be tempted to edit most of that stuff away.

But I will tell you that a well-done interview can yield transcriptions that can be edited into several pieces of content.

Your interviewee might have given you enough material to turn it into a blog post series, several articles on different topics, or even different chapters for different books.

Interview materials can fall into one or more of the following categories: editorial, research, or even customer intelligence research.

This is good news, not extra hard work to run away from.

If anything, your interview can open many opportunities you can develop.

This can lead to more books, content, and you may end up saving a lot of time and effort.

How much time would you have to put in if you are going to be working on ten blog posts?

Thinking about it will probably give you a headache.

But here you are with a three-hour transcript that you can slice and dice, sculpt, and reshape into several pieces of content.

Not shabby at all.

Work once to get the information and produce many pieces of content that can lead to better blog recognition, book sales, or better standing in your industry, career advancement, and on and on.

14. Your Successful Interviews Can Lead to Future Interviews

Assuming you do not burn your bridges and you quickly establish a deep level of mutual comfort, do not be surprised if you get asked for another interview.

This is particularly true if you are in an industry where many bloggers tend to be too aggressive. You are going to stand out if you treat your interviewee with respect.

They would rather talk to you than bloggers with bigger names in your niche.

This is a big deal because you will start establishing a solid reputation.

Not only would your interviewee want to talk to you more but check reason number 15 below.

tap into interviewees social network

15. Your Interviewee Can Set You Up With Other People

Just like in any industry, you get your foot in the door by making a good impression with an insider.

That person might not be the biggest name in your industry; that person might even be a has-been or somebody who is on their way out.

It doesn’t matter.

Once you get noticed, the amazing first impression you have made is going to stay with them.

You best believe that they if had a good time in your interview with them, they are likely to set you up with other people to talk to.

After all, they became big in the first place because they know people.

In many cases, you do not have to try that hard.

You can throw out a customary line and say, “If you have friends in the industry who might want to talk to me, feel free to give them my contact information.”

That can mean a lot if your interviewee had a good experience with you.

Always say that call to action.

Do not think that the interviewee would automatically refer you to their industry contacts.

Throw it out there and you would be surprised how easy it is to get other interviewees.

Isn’t that good news? Wait, it gets even better.

You may be in a situation where you interview somebody who has third-level fame or importance in the industry.

If they are impressed with you, they might refer you to somebody more famous or important.

Do a good job of interviewing and you might get introduced to some of the biggest names in your industry.

That is how it works.

People know people.

But here is the more important thing: people are more likely to refer you to those they know if they feel they can trust you.

The key is to get your foot in the door by reaching out for interviews.

16. You Can Read Your Interviewee to Direct the Conversation

The funny thing about interviews is that many people think that it is a one-way street.

Somebody asks a list of questions and the other party gives a response.

Pretty straightforward, right? Let me tell you those kinds of interviews are boring.

They are generic , almost mechanical.

Amazing interviews are different.

They are interactive.

They are two-way streets.

There is a lot more going on than you asking a question and the interviewee responding to it.

You have to understand that people communicate in more ways than talking.

You are communicating through your manners, gestures, tone, facial expressions, posture, and on and on.

If you pay close attention to these during an interview, you can read your interviewee.

They are open like a book in front of you.

You only have to pay attention to the right details. If you do, you will be able to direct the conversation.

That is how you lead to bombshells and interesting information that your competitor, who conducts interviews mechanically, would not get in a million years.

It all boils down to your ability to read human beings.

Remember that interviews are not mere commercial transactions where the interviewee has information and wants fame and you are giving them a platform in exchange for that information.

An interview, at its most basic, is a genuine opportunity for two human beings to relate to each other on a deeply personal level.

dictated interview content can lead to gamechangers

17. Most Bloggers Can Republish Facts But Interviews Can Lead to Rare or Controversial Insights

You have to understand that in any industry there are two commodities: facts and personality.

Many people confuse these two.

They think big names in their industry became big simply because they have facts or access to a certain type of information.

This is true to a certain extent but the ones who reach the top get there because of their personality. They have that extra special something they throw in the mix.

When you do interviews, understand the distinction between having facts and having a personality.

Sure, you are interviewing so you can transcribe this free interaction and turn it into content.

I get that and congratulate you on using this method but do not miss the opportunity to connect with your interviewee based on their persona.

Ask them questions about their persona and you could be rewarded with controversial insights or rare opinions that other people in your industry would love to read about.

The Final Word On Dictating and Recording Interviews

Setting up interviews can be a hassle.

It requires you to be flexible with your schedule.

You also have to have the right equipment ready to record on the platform your interviewee has chosen.

You cannot assume that you only need a voice recorder for interviews and you are done.

Understand that an interview is a collaborative effort with your interviewee.

You have to make them buy into the project and establish mutual comfort.

If you can do that, there will be enough trust to take the interview to where it needs to go.

Happy interviewing.

Writing a complete book by dictation

book dictation

If writing is your passion but simply do not have the time to sit down in front of your computer, or putting your thoughts and ideas to paper, then writing by dictation may be a great solution for you.

Writing by dictation is both a totally new and different experience for you. To help you get started, here are some tips and tools.

Select a digital voice recorder for writing a book

When you are considering getting a voice recorder, there are factors that you must take into account when selecting the right one for your needs.

Recording Quality – This is greatly influenced by the quality of your microphone. To have a clearer recording, get a higher bitrate.

Memory Capacity – You must have an idea of how long is the piece you want to record and store in your digital recorder. Make sure the memory capacity and storage space are adequate before starting your dictation.

Interface – A voice recorder interface should be easy to use and control. You can check out how to advance and comprehensive the controls are. Decide of you want a lot of features that come with more expensive models, or a simpler one to record conversations or just capture your ideas.

Operating System Compatibility – once you have made your recording, it is vital that you will be able to transfer them from your digital recorder to a computer. This is usually done using a USB connection. Although most recorders are designed to be will be compatible with both Windows and Apple software, it’s a good idea to double-check before you purchase.

Here are some brands of quality voice recorders

Olympus WS-852 Digital Voice Recorder – The Olympus WS-852 has a 4GB memory and records audio in MP3. This results in smaller file sizes. The WS-852 can store over 1000 hours, or an equivalent of 41 days of audio recordings.

It also has an Intelligent Auto Mode that automatically adjusts the microphone sensitivity to the volume of your voice. It has two different information modes. It has a simple mode that displays only the most pertinent information, which is helpful for anyone unaccustomed to the screen. It also has a normal mode that is suitable for advanced users who want more control over their recordings.

Sony ICD-UX533BLK Digital Voice Recorder – The Sony ICD-UX533BLK is an easy-to-use voice recorder with large buttons that are easy to read. It looks just like a remote controller, with a large menu button that lets you play your recordings and easily scroll through your menu.

The ICD-UX533BLK comes with 4 GB of stored memory that can record up to 1,073 hours of audio footage. It also has an expansion bay for a micoSD card to allow you to double or triple your recording time. This voice recorder is programmed to automatically adjust its sensitivity levels depending on your voice and on the environment. One special feature this voice recorder utilizes is stereo recording, providing richer and more detailed vocal recordings.

Using voice to text for writing books

Speech to text or voice dictation software is a speech transcription technology that can convert your spoken word to written text. It allows you to write books, emails, speeches and more just with your voice.

Try choosing from the following apps to help you.

Dictate using a book app

1. Voice Memo App – For Apple users, this app can record voice memos on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac. You can then edit and share your recording. Google Docs Voice Typing

2. Google Docs –When you speak, the tool listens to your voice and transcribes what you say into a Google Doc. The feature is intended for people who cannot easily type or who prefer to dictating notes. You can also use it to reduce the time it takes to transcribe an audio recording down to approximately the same time as the actual recording. This is useful if you want to switch from voice typing to regular typing in the same document.

3. Dragon – Dragon is the leading software in dictation and it has the reputation of being one of the most accurate dictation software programs. This reputation has a cost associated with it, though. It can handle fast dictations and has a high recognition accuracy that continually improves as it adapts to your voice.

There are no time or length limits, it lets you speak as long as you want to. Dragon also comes with a robust voice formatting and editing option, including the ability to select words and sentences for editing or deletion.

Writing a novel with Dragon Naturally Speaking

Dragon NaturallySpeaking, also known as Dragon for PC, is a speech recognition software. It runs on Windows personal computers. The macOS version is called Dragon Professional Individual for Mac, also known as Dragon for Mac.

Dragon Naturally Speaking uses a minimal user interface. To show an example, dictated words will appear in a floating tooltip as they are voiced out. When the speaker pauses during the dictation, the program transcribes the words into the active window where the cursor is located.

The software has three main areas of functionality: voice recognition in dictation where the speech is transcribed as written text, recognition of spoken instructions or commands, and text-to-speech: speaking text content of the document.

These voice profiles can be accessed by different computers in a network, although the audio hardware and its configuration must be the same with the machine generating the configuration. The Professional of this software allows users to create custom commands to control the functions or programs that were not built into Dragon NaturallySpeaking.

Write a short outline for your book

After deciding on what voice recorder and app you will use, it is now time to start on your book. To make your thoughts flow faster and in a more organized manner, it is helpful to prepare and a short outline of your book. This will serve as your guide when you start your voice recordings.

Dictate your book chapter by chapter

It is also helpful to break down your book into sections or chapters. When you include the chapters you want to cover in your outline, it will help you go through the recording more smoothly and confidently. This will also ensure that you will not miss out on important points during your recording.

How to edit yourself verbally when dictating

You can edit and adapt text while dictating. For deletions during dictation; you can just say ‘scratch that’.

Keep these in mind and give book writing by dictation a try.

How Do I dictate a Novel quickly?

dictate novels quickly

Dictation has been part of human literary creativity for some time now. Homer probably dictated Illiad and Odyssey because he was traditionally known to be blind. Great writers like Paul the Apostle, Henry James, Winston Churchill, Agatha Christie, and Dan Brown also depended on it.

Recently, more writers are using dictation to write, and many more are curious enough to try. This means we need to find ways of delivering quality work at a faster pace to get ahead.

It is not difficult to put words into a page or chapter by dictation. The challenge is to decide which of the words to keep. Most of us were typing our work before we tried or switched to dictation.

The first thing you notice is that your draft usually has more words and is less organized.

You need a different style in editing or spend more time on it entirely.

Here are some tips that can increase your writing productivity.

Preparations before Dictating

  • Plan Ahead

Organize your thoughts before you start dictation. Create an outline. Take a few minutes to sketch out each scene or section.

You can write down some pointers in an index card or notebook. You can even use a phone or computer for the outlines. Since talking is much faster than typing, we tend to say things that can be off-topic.

Outlines and notes can help you stay focused on the plot.

  • Allow For Errors

The accuracy of dictation software is generally at 95%-98%. Expect to correct about 2-5 words per hundred you speak. These are usually the words the software did not understand. Depending on your typing abilities and your native dialect, these corrections could be better or worse than your typing errors. You have to go over your work frequently to check on accuracy while the original idea is still fresh in your mind.

  • Speech Clarity

Speak swiftly, but clearly. Don’t mumble your words. Also, hold the microphone a few inches from your mouth. The generated static or noise will annoy the transcriber, or result in transcription errors by the software. This wastes time and money.

If you want to learn how to dictate up to 50,000 words per day, check out my guide on how to blow up your dictation speed.

But also try to relax, make your dictation more free-flowing. This will prevent you from making lots of fillers like er’s, ah’s, hmm’s. They take up data and complicate transcription.

Think before you speak. Whenever possible, pause for effect. Pausing prevents you from making bloated and disorganized writing and saves you a lot of time during the editing portion.

Depending on your preference, dictate in a peaceful place: lakeside, quiet backyard, or in your room, as long as you are undisturbed.

  • Dictate punctuation

Train yourself to include punctuation in dictation. This feels weird at first, but once you get into it, it just comes naturally. The process of dictating punctuations will help articulate your meaning well. It also gives structure to your writing. Finally, it ensures that there will be no corrections to the final edit of your work. This applies well both to manual transcription or software.

  • Practice

Use dictation as often as you can. You will soon find yourself preferring it than typing. After all, talking is much more natural than typing. Remember talking is faster than typing!


Choose Your Method of Transposing Recorded Dictation to Text

The second part of writing by dictation is transcription. That is converting speech to text. Depending on which method you choose, your overall productivity will be affected by this.

  • Manual

If you are not that tech-savvy, bring your recording to a trained transcriptionist. There are hundreds if not thousands of people available for hire through the web, and most of them are good and charge reasonably. But there is that risk of security and compatibility issues. It would be better to have referrals or have someone in the office do the work as extra.

A quick option is sending your audio file online to transcription service companies like Speechpad.com, Rev, Otter, TranscribeMe, and many others. It’s safe, reliable, and reasonably priced. Of course, they offer varying degrees of accuracy and turnover speed that correspond to their prices. Transcription prices range from $1-$3 per minute of audio. Some companies give volume discounts. But for book transcription, you could already buy voice recognition software for the cost you will have to pay. So, in the long run, this could be an expensive option.

  • Using Devices/Software

Using a combination of digital voice recorder and transcription software, you can record your dictation now and then transfer the file to a computer for editing at a later time. This gives you more time to get every idea out first and recorded right away without any distraction. Next, just upload the file into a transcription program like Dragon Naturally Speaking for Mac and proceed to edit.

There is also available text software that allows you to dictate through a microphone plugged directly into a computer. You can then edit your work in real-time. A downside to this method is you get into the mindset of wanting to continuously edit the text, get distracted, and lose your concentration.

If you do not get distracted easily, this method can be more attractive. You can buy a cheap ($15) microphone and plug it into your computer and start talking. The next step is to edit your dictation, but this is not so difficult. Most software comes with editing consoles to let you edit your work easily.

Editing Your Work

You can approach editing in stages or levels. Start at big-picture editing down to word-level details.

Make sure your writing has a natural flow. Check that your plot lines are well-placed. See that your scenes or sections are evenly weighted.

Paragraphs and sentences should be short and presented in a logical order. Avoid wordy sentences. With dictation, you develop the tendency to produce sentences with 40 words or more. For better comprehension, sentences with 20 words are better.

  • Use editing tools

Editing tools can be good problem-solvers. If you have gotten off track with your book structure, Scrivener can help you analyze and reorganize your work. Scrivener Binder can help you rearrange sections of your book.

I also found out that Microsoft Word has a similar feature with its Navigation Pane. You only need to make some tweaks first before you can use it. (Check out How to Make Word Behave like Scrivener).

There are other available editing tools at your disposal. There are some words (just, even, really) that give emphasis when used in spoken language. But when these are present in written sentences, they tend to change the meaning.

Use a macro (NeedlessWords in Microsoft Word) to spot these and remove them.

Macros are tiny programs that can handle repetitive tasks that could waste time when done manually. Microsoft Word and other word processing programs can run macros.

Sentences become longer when you dictate your writing. That is okay when you speak because there is intonation to help listeners handle the words into coherent groups. There is no intonation in writing, so you need to shorten sentences and put punctuation marks. The Hemingway Editor can help you with this.

Complicated words can add value to your work, but they can also be a hindrance to having your thoughts understood. Use simple words and improve readability. The PlainLanguage macro, Find and Replace macro, and the Hemingway Editor can assist you here.

There is an editing tool called Grammarly that’s been recently making waves. It can help you with three of the four previous concerns. However, when it comes to editing a full manuscript, it has certain limitations. (Read Book Editing & Proofreading: Can You Trust Grammarly?)



Getting proficient in dictation to write a novel takes time and patience, and certainly a lot of practice. We have cited many steps to take to achieve that goal. You can decide on your methods and pace yourself according to what feels natural. Happy writing!


How Much Should I Pay Transcribers For My Blog Post Dictations?

transcriber costs

You have a very important dictation recording of a blog that needs to be posted as soon as possible.

The audio file is about an hour, and with a very tight deadline. You can’t type very fast and don’t have the proper equipment, to begin with.

What do you do?

Well, don’t worry because there are a lot of online audio transcription companies ready to serve you. All you need to do is go to their website, upload your audio file, choose your options, and provide a payment method. After that, you wait a little while, and you get a readily usable transcript you can rush off to beat the deadline.

Here are some factors that you may want to consider before you choose an option.

1. Type of file-this will determine if your job will require an automated or human-based service.
2. Accuracy- depending on the level required, again influences the type of service to be employed
3. Cost-most transcription companies charge on a per-minute basis. But there are a lot of options like bulk plans that offer better value.

The following are the most important factors to consider.

Different methods of transcriptions


You do the listening and type exactly what you hear. This type is the cheapest and probably the most accurate. However, this is the most cumbersome and time-consuming method. Just trying to keep the pace with the speaker against your typing is challenging at best. Then there’s the formatting and editing. Before you know it, you’re ready to give up.

• Automated Transcription Services

This type is the middle option in terms of price and accuracy. As described in the introduction, these companies provide convenient services that produce decent transcripts as easy as ordering pizza. Accuracy is not as good and also varies depending on the company itself. Most of these companies have automated transcription and only a handful offer human-based services.

• Trained Transcriptionists

This type offers highly accurate service, since usually more than one transcriptionist work on your file.

However, that means higher costs and longer turnaround times.

You may also have some security concerns, but most operate under strict NDA policies, so they allow removal of your files from their servers anytime.


The industry standard is $0.80 – $1.50 per transcription minute for automated services.

$3.00+/minute is average for the higher-tier human-based services.

Typical hourly rates start from $30 on up.

BEWARE: Some services have ‘hidden’ fees, such as additional costs for noisy recordings and poor quality audio.

Other providers bill extra for rush jobs.

Still, others offer subscription fees or special rates for groups/teams. Another consideration is the number of speakers in the recording, which can mean additional charges.

Turnaround times

Companies such as Rev boast an industry best turnaround time of 4 hours for recordings that are less than 10 minutes.

TranscribeMe’s Machine Express automated transcription service claims a 3:1 ratio turnaround time.

Some companies, like GoTranscript, have the slowest at five days but of course, are the cheapest.

Human-based services such as Drennan Transcription commits 48 hours and does not charge extra for rush requests.

They try to juggle their operations to accommodate the client.

Cognoplus charges the lowest rates (at $0.60 per audio minute based on 50 minute blocks) and usually deliver with 60 hours.


Both Rev and Drennan Transcription guarantee 99% or higher accuracy in their transcriptions.

They hire only highly experienced transcriptionists that have passed rigorous training.

Rev even has a quality assurance and client feedback system that ensures only the best transcriptionists remain on their team at all times.

Cognoplus doesn’t offer an accuracy guarantee but this is included in the free proofreading and formatting services they include in their transcription service.

File security

Most of the companies like Rev have handled millions of video and audio files with proprietary information, security data, and varying degrees of sensitivity. They assure clients that nothing is ever shared outside of their company. Files are transmitted and stored with TLS 1.2 encryption, the highest available security level. Lastly, files can be deleted upon client request.

The Leading 9 leading online transcription companies


Offers the best overall value. Rock bottom pricing for completely human/manual transcription at 60 cents per audio minute plus proofreading and formatting.


Offers a good balance between accuracy and speed

Rev provides a wide range of video and audio transcription services, as well as captions, subtitles, and translations. It has a very high accuracy rate of 99% and usually returns the transcription in a few hours (4 hours for 10 minutes of recording or less). They charge $1 per minute for transcription and captions; and $3-$7 for translations.


iScribed provides general transcription services and specialized legal and medical services. They have a two-phase process of reviewing a file, which results in 99% accuracy. Turnaround time is relatively fast at 48 hours. Transcription charges start at $0.89 per minute plus $0.20 per minute for verbatim and timestamps. If you are in a rush and want a result before 48 hours, you can pay an extra $0.60 per minute. Aside from the mentioned transcription services, iScribed also offers closed captioning, subtitles, translations, and content writing services.


Scribie offers both manual and automated transcription services. Their manual services have an accuracy rate of 99%, charges $0.80 per minute of audio, and has a turnaround time of 36 hours. However, they have an additional cost of $0.50 a minute for speakers with accents, noisy backgrounds, and poor quality sound files. All a user has to do is upload the file, choose the plan option, pay the fee, and get the transcription in Word format document within the quoted time.

Scribie has a FREE automated transcription service for documents with lower sensitivity and accuracy expectations. For this service, you upload the audio file, wait for 30 minutes, and get a transcription with 80%-95% accuracy. This place is a reliable source of clean audio files with American accent speakers.


Premium automated transcription service

Temi boasts of its affordable automated service that many established companies use, such as ESPN, The Wall Street Journal, and PBS. They use advanced voice recognition software to transcribe a video or audio file in just 5 minutes. They guarantee a 90-95% accuracy for ideal recordings (clear speakers with a minimal accent and minimal background noise). Transcript files are typically obtained as Word documents or PDF files.

Transcription is $0.10 per minute. And there are no minimum volume requirements, no subscription, and monthly fees. So if you’re a user with fewer transcription needs, Temi is a solid choice.


Offers manual and automated transcription service at competitive prices

Offers manual transcription services starting at $0.79 per minute of audio, accuracy at 98%, 24 hours turnaround with speaker ID and timestamps included. For higher accuracy rates, additional costs and longer turnaround times apply.

TranscribeMe also has an automated transcription service, which they call Machine Express.

The cost of transcription is at $0.10 per minute, with no required volume, and with a turnaround time at a 1:3 ratio. To put it simply, for every 1 minute of an uploaded audio file, it will take them 3 minutes to transcribe. Once ready, the text the customer receives it (often through email) in different file formats (Word, PDF, HTML).

TranscribeMe claims their Machine Express uses an advanced voice recognition software that can be tailor-made to fit any business requirement.


Free automated voice transcription service

Speechnotes started as a free web-based voice transcription service that uses advanced voice recognition software to transcribe speech in real-time. It’s perfect for users who are more comfortable speaking rather than typing. The interface is very straightforward to use. Just click on the microphone and start dictating to the browser-based notepad. It even has commands for punctuations like “period.” The resulting text can be downloaded to the computer or emailed to you.

Recently, Speechnotes started its automatic transcription service for pre-recorded audio and video files. Transcription charges are $0.10 per minute.


UK based 100% human-generated transcription services

GoTranscript only offers manual transcription services done by a team of top-notch professional transcribers.

They back this up with a system of reviews and checks to ensure quality and 99% accuracy.

Their transcription prices start at $0.72 per minute with a turnaround time of 5 days, up to $2.50 per minute with a turnaround time of 6-12 hours.

They have a customer loyalty program that gives a 5%-20% discount depending on the length of uploaded audio that needs transcribing.

GoTranscript ensures that your information is secure by having their transcriptionists sign a confidentiality agreement. Furthermore, they give the clients the option to erase the transcripts from their database.

Drennan Transcriptions

Drennan Transcriptions offers human-based transcription services only. They do not use voice recognition software. They specialize in transcribing ready and usable podcasts, blogs, online content, market research copy, and others. They charge starting at $1.32 per audio minute but guarantees 99.9% accuracy. Turnaround time is about two days. But depending on their current load, they can accommodate rush jobs at no extra costs. Drennan Transcripts also guarantee no additional editing required to all transcripts they provide.

The Final Word

Depending on whether you prioritize cost, accuracy, or turnaround times for your transcription requirements, there are a lot of options available at your disposal.

Of course, choosing any one of them is worth having than letting your recordings simply go to waste.

Good luck and happy blogging!