How can I improve my transcript quality?

Pease consider these guidelines when recording and preparing your audio so that the automated speech-to-text engine can do its best.

Maximize signal-to-noise ratio

  1. Minimize background noise
  2. Place the microphone close to the voices you are recording
  3. Speak clearly and loudly
  4. Record at the highest volume levels you can without clipping the audio

Optimize audio settings

When you prepare your audio (saving and encoding), certain settings can ensure a more accurate transcript:

  1. Bit Depth (a.k.a. Sample Size or Bits Per Sample) measures how many bits of information are recorded for each audio sample. A higher bit depth helps reduce noise in your recording.
    • Optimal setting: 16 bits
    • 8 bits has traditionally been a standard for voice recording, but this setting will result in suboptimal transcriptions.
    • 24 bits (used in professional audio) is acceptable, but will result in a much larger file size, with limited marginal benefit for a voice recording.
  2. Sample Rate measures how frequently a sample is taken when converting your audio from analog (sound wave) to digital (1's and 0's). A higher sample rate helps improve the frequency response of your recording.
    • Optimal setting: 16 kHz
    • 8 kHz (typically the standard for phone transmissions) will result in suboptimal transcriptions, and is not recommended.
    • 44.1 kHz (CD quality) and 48 kHz (professional audio) are acceptable rates - we will store and play back your audio in your original sample rate, but the speech-to-text engine which generates the transcript will only accept sample rates up to 16 kHz (we will create a 16 kHz copy of your file to feed into the engine).
  3. Encoding format - e.g. MP3, FLAC, WAV
    • Optimal setting: WAV or Decent-quality MP3 (128 kbps or higher)
    • If you have recorded at a good bit depth and sample rate, the encoding format is of lesser importance. However, you should avoid uploading MP3s that are lower than 128 kbps bit rate - in general, the lower the MP3 bit rate, the lower the quality of the audio, and thus of the transcript.
    • FLAC files are great for archiving, and can be uploaded for storage and audio transcription, but right now Pop Up Archive doesn't support FLAC playback in our audio player.
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