Review: Olympus WS-450S digital voice recorder

As a transcriber, I have but one requirement when it comes to voice recorders: Please, oh please, produce perfect quality audio recordings so that I can understand exactly what every speaker is saying.

As a researcher, I have quite a few more requirements on my tick list. I've been using the Olympus WS-450S recorder for several years now, and it's worked brilliantly for my needs. 

I started transcribing over seven years ago because my exceptionally fast typing (over 80 words per minute) makes me pretty well able to keep up with normal talking speed of recordings. I receive enquiries every day from people hoping to become transcribers, but many of these seem to be from people with a fairly poor grasp of English. I’ve realised over the years that there’s more to being a good transcriber than just lightning fast fingers and I thought I would share some key skills that I look for in my employees.

When I tell someone about audio transcription, invariably the first question I get asked is, "Why can't you just have voice recognition software do it?" Well, unfortunately your computer just isn't that smart (yet). Here are a few reasons why having audio transcription done by humans is so important for accuracy and quality.