Cool Audio Transcription Trick

Last week, I had to transcribe a lengthy interview. I had already recorded the interview using a handy telephone recording service I discovered a while back. (Recordiapro will record phone calls from any telephone line at a relatively low per-minute rate.) What I needed was to figure out the easiest (a.k.a. least painful) way to transcribe this interview. (My usual method involved starting and stopping an audio recording, then racing to type as much text as I could remember before repeating the process. We're talking painful.....)

Anyway, I figured that someone must have come up with an easier way of doing this, so I decided to spend a bit of time researching possible solutions before I sentenced myself to an afternoon at my computer, working away at this loathsome task. (You can tell I really enjoy transcribing interviews, can't you?)

Somewhere, I came across a suggestion (see comments section of this post) that made sense to me--and it applied to a piece of software I already owned, Audacity. (Audacity is open source, cross-platform software audio recording and editing software.)

Anyway, the solution was really simple and elegant. I imported my file and then selected "Change Speed" from the "Effects" menu. I slowed the speed of the recording by 50 percent. The pitch was not affected, so the recording was still very clear. I was almost able to keep up with the recording as I listened and typed. (I had to stop a few times, but only a handful of times.

I couldn't believe what a difference this made in terms of the ease of transcription, which is why I had to pass this trick along. Hope someone finds it useful.