How To Transcribe an Interview Quickly (2019)

If you're on a tight deadline and need to transcribe an interview recording, the fastest way to do so is with automatic transcription.

However, this advice comes with a few assumptions. First, we're assuming that the overall audio quality of the audio recording is pretty good and that those being interviewed are speaking clearly in the interview.

Another thing to keep in mind with automatic transcription is that it usually takes as long as the duration of the recording to convert it into text. This means that if the interview audio is higher quality, the amount of time it will take you to transcribe your interview will be closer to the duration of the audio file itself.

You were going to listen to the whole recording anyway, right? :)

So, moving forward, how can you transcribe your future interviews quickly? Read more to find out how to transcribe much faster with the help of automatic transcription.

Focus on Improving the Quality of the Audio Recording

The key to transcribing an interview audio recording quickly is by focusing on improving production quality. Basically, the better the audio recording quality, the better the automatic transcription results. When the interview audio is high quality, it makes the job of automatic transcription software much easier, resulting in a more accurate transcription.

You might not be able to fix your older recordings, but here are a few things you can do to improve your audio content production moving forward!

Use higher quality recording devices

This one is a simple one!

If your recording devices aren't top notch, you are sacrificing the audio quality. When the sound is grainy or noisy, automatic transcription software will have difficulty picking up on words that are mentioned in the recording.

If your interview recording workflow allows for it, go ahead and invest in a USB microphone. The one I suggest is the Blue Yeti if you're looking for affordability and quality. I have it myself and it's a great microphone!

The Blue Yeti USB Microphone. It's a great microphone

Make sure there is minimal background noise

As mentioned above, a noisy background can make for a difficult time transcribing the audio into text. It could easily drown out what is being said on the recording.

Speech recognition technology, however, has improved a ton in recent years. One of the features of it now is it's able to separate out background noise from the voices. That said, it is still a great idea to optimize for reducing background noise on all your recordings. It will just make it that much easier for the automatic transcription software to pick up on the voices.

Here are a few tips that you might be doing already to reduce background noise. A little reminder doesn't hurt!

  1. Record indoors to avoid noises coming from outside
  2. Record in rooms that have minimal echo
  3. Use a pop-filter on the microphone

Make sure the people are speaking loud and clear into the microphones

It's one thing to have a high quality microphone and to reduce the background noise of the recording. But it's another if those being interviewed aren't speaking properly into the microphone itself!

One of the key things to getting a higher quality recording is to having those being interviewed speak clearly into the microphone. If the interviewees are enunciating what they are saying in the microphone, this will make it much easier for the automatic transcription software to understand what is being said in the audio file.


With that, I hope you found a few tips to help you improve the quality of your audio recordings. Doing so will really help with transcribing your interview recordings much faster.

Remember that the bottom line is this:

Every little thing you can do to reduce the effort of automated speech recognition software will go a long way with helping you transcribe your audio files quicker!

Thanks for reading and good luck transcribing!

Tom Zaragoza

Tom Zaragoza

I created Vocalmatic - an Automatic Transcription Platform. Lover of books and an impulsive domain name buyer. I also write here:

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