Essential Tools for Interviews (part 3 of 4)

If you will be conducting many interviews, consider these:

External microphone

A lapel mic is usually best because it’s out of your subject’s line of sight and she will likely soon be less conscious of it. But in case she is more comfortable with a mic placed nearby, keep in your bag a standard external mic with a small stand.

Telephone mic

Some have a suction device you can attach to the receiver. These can work for any type of phone.

Another type handy for landlines has an adapter into which you plug the phone cord — and another cord you plug into the recorder. Also called a “telephone pick up,” it’s available at Radio Shack or Best Buy.

Transcription equipment

When I used cassette tapes, I put the tapes into a transcriber, which had a foot pedal I could use to make the tape back up as well as go faster or slower or pause while I typed.

You can still get equipment like that for cassettes. But you can also buy transcribing equipment for digital recorders that works the same way.

Speech recognition/transcription software

It sounds like a dream. You buy software, such as Dragon or Dragon Dictate, that transcribes your recordings for you. But the process isn’t perfect. Different accents and speaking styles may still trick the program, so you still need to double-check sections against your recording.

Jeanette Gardner Littleton, a CWG mentor, lives in Kansas City with her writer husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and two guinea pigs—all of whom she is ultimately responsible to feed.


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