22 February 2015

Interview recordings: iPhone / smartphone - potential problems

Many people who are studying for a Masters or PhD degree at some point need to conduct interviews as part of their research thesis or dissertation. This can be a daunting prospect, especially when thinking about what equipment to use to record the interviews to send to your interview transcription service provider.

However, you may not need to buy expensive recording equipment as many smartphones on the market ship with a recording app pre-installed that have the capacity to record for several hours. There are also many apps available to download that can do this that can produce good quality interview recordings. 

It is really important to check out the app by making a test recording in the first instance to ensure: 
  1. You know how to use the app correctly.
  2. The sound quality of the recording is clear and audible. 
  3. You can get the recording from your smartphone when your interview is complete to enable you to send it to your interview transcription service provider.

A couple of my clients recently experienced difficulty with the iPhone. After recording their interviews they were unable to sync the recording with iTunes to prepare to send the interview recordings for transcription via the Internet.

I have researched this problem. I made a 20 minute test sound file using Voice Memo with the iPhone. I connected the iPhone to my PC via USB lead and synced with iTunes. I found my recording in the Music folder under Voice Memos. So success, although it was only a 20 minute recording and problems seem to occur when the recording is fairly lengthy, i.e. 90 minutes or more in the case of my clients. 

Further research led me to this thread on discussions.apple.com, where people talk about some of the problems they have experienced when trying to sync longer recordings (not necessarily interview recordings) from their iPhones. It was suggested to download iExplorer, which enabled some people to locate and download their recordings.

As yet I have not heard of any of my clients experiencing this type of difficulty with Android smartphones, but that is not to say that problems do not exist. 

Again, I think the important thing is to check your equipment before carrying out long interviews for transcription. Create a test sound file of approximately the same length that your interviews are likely to be and experiment with downloading the test recording from your device to ensure that you are able to send the interview recording via the Internet. 

If you would like more information about recording interviews for transcription or you would like a quotation for professional interview transcription, visit the interview transcription page at the King Audio Transcription & Typing Services website.