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Audio Transcription

As the world becomes more digital and the research field moves with the times, so qualitative researchers are increasingly reliant on conducting interviews on the phone or online, for practical and economic reasons.  

Respondents can be interviewed in the comfort of their own office or home when it’s suitable to both parties, transport times and project costs are kept to a minimum and projects can be expedited much more quickly.  

If you’re recording your interviews for audio transcription, it’s vitally important that your time and effort is not wasted by producing inferior quality recordings, with mobile phone interference, muffled respondents or in the case of Skype, the discussion sounding like it’s been conducted at the bottom of a swimming pool.  

So how best to record qualitative phone interviews and get the best from your audio transcription?  

  1. GDPR

Not an obvious starting point but a very important one.  Ensure the person on the other end of the line consents to being recorded.  Explain the background to your research and assure anonymity if applicable.

Take advantage of using a UK based transcription services company who is registered with the Data Protection Act, and takes the security of your recordings seriously.  Consider asking for the transcript to be anonymised at point of transcription or for two versions to be produced, one complete and one anonymised version.  

  1. Choose Your Method


An oldie but a goodie.  Landlines offer superior quality to a mobile phone, simply because there’s more bandwidth and more data can be transmitted.  But you need more equipment, in the form of a digital recorder that plugs into the phone line, they have a USB connection for uploading recordings to your PC.  Or use which allows you to record and download the call. Easy for uploading to your UK transcription company’s secure website.


The best way to record research interviews on your smartphone is to choose an app.  Free ones are available but can be fussy. Paid for services such as TapeACall and Yallo are simple, recordings are saved inside the app and you can share them or upload securely for audio transcription.  


Skype has its own free MP3 Skype Recorder, which comes pre-bundled.  For interviews, it records the interviewer and the interviewee on separate stereo tracks, you can also track simultaneous calls and save them separately.   Using a microphone will enhance the quality of the recording.  

Unless you and your participant have broadband internet with lots of bandwidth, DO NOT USE the video call feature on Skype, the line drops or distorts and you get the dreaded “swimming pool” effect, rendering the recording almost useless for audio transcription.

Recording Interviews

  1. Choose Your Level of Transcription Service 

Which level of detail do you require?   Do you want every stumbled over word, repetition and pause included?  Or do you just want a “quick and dirty” version of your audio recording, which is turned around more quickly and 20% cheaper?  

  • Intelligent Verbatim

Our most popular transcription service. Everything is typed out but omits fillers, repetitions, and any stumbling over words:

“I did a degree in criminal justice and psychology and then after that, got a job working for a drug and alcohol charity and I was based in a Probation Service.  I was a case worker for people who are on probation and needed support with their drug and alcohol use.”


  • Strict Verbatim

Everything is said and how it’s said, most utilised by in academia and particularly psychology:

“I-I did a degree in criminal justice and psychology and then erm, after that, after that I g-got a job working for a, a drug and alcohol charity and I-I was based in a Probation Service.  [Pause] I was a, a case worker – for um, people who are on probation and need- needed support with their er, drug and alcohol use.”


  • Summary

Provides a more concise read, great for market researchers needing the discussion captured but fillers and moderator’s questions cut to the minimum.  Dialogue is still transcribed and some verbatim quotes are included, but repetition, non-relevant discussion is omitted:

“I did a degree in criminal justice and psychology and got a job working for a drug and alcohol charity based in a Probation Service.  I was a case worker for people on probation, who needed support with their drug and alcohol use.”


We hope this has helped you.  Transcribe It are the longest established transcription agency in the UK and can help you with audio transcription of your qualitative research.   

Contact us with your audio transcription enquiry today.