How to Record a Voice File for Transcription

January 25, 2011

When I first started transcribing voice files I had a bulky tape deck on my desk with a pedal much like my mother’s sewing machine. Now recording and transcribing a voice file is efficient, painless, and once you get used to it you’ll wonder why you wasn’t doing it years ago. You don’t even need to type your email, simply record your voice file, attach and send.



  1. Check that your microphone is switched on (and/or plugged in).
  2. Start – All programs – Accessories; click Entertainment and then click on Sound Recorder option.
  3. A small “Sound – Sound Recorder” will appear, go to File menu and click on New to start a new file for recording.
  4. Click on Record button to start recording process and start talking, click on Stop button to stop the recording.
  5. Now again click on File menu to save this file with .wav extension to a folder of your choice.
  6. Now send this voice file as an attachment via e-mail message, you can even post files online to your social network.

Digital Hand-held Recorder
There are limitless models to choose from and most plug into your PC via USB for easy file transfer. Ranging in price from NZ$79 to NZ699 simply choose the model with the features to suit your requirements.

Mobile Phone
Most phones have a “Record Audio/Voice Memos” application. Simply record your file and either attach to your text message or download at the end of the day onto your PC. Phones such as iPhone have dictation software available (includes dictating status updates directly to Facebook and Twitter, send yourself notes and reminders, recording dictation for transcription).


  1. Get to know your recording equipment, how it works and how to maintain it. Ensure you are aware of where all the buttons are located. If you are unsure, refer to your user manual.
  2. Before you start your dictation, organise yourself. Assemble all the information you may need before you start dictating, this ensures that you have everything to hand and helps maintain your concentration.
  3. When dictating, if you need to find a file or a piece of information, stop the dictation. Once you have started your recorder, pause for a moment before dictating, and when you have finished speaking, allow the recording to continue for a second, this will help to ensure that none of your dictation has been clipped off.
  4. Try to speak clearly and at a regular pace, spelling any difficult and unusual words, or names with various different spellings.
  5. When dictating a letter state the recipient’s full name and mailing address as clearly as possible, and spell any unusual street and town names. Also spell ambiguous words as you may mean ‘Maine Street’ and the typist may type ‘Main Street’.
  6. Try to be aware of punctuation, say the words ‘comma’, ‘full stop’, ‘new paragraph’, ‘question mark’, etc. This will ensure that your document is easy to read and minimises editing.
  7. Try to breathe between sentences; you may pride yourself on being able to fit 10 minutes of dictation into two minutes of tape, but this will take much longer to type and the error rate is far higher.
  8. When you have completed the tape, please let us know. You could say ‘end of dictation’, this way we will know that the tape has finished and does not lead onto another tape.

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