‘Cock a Doodle Doo’ or ‘Unclear’?
One of our transcribers has recently had the experience of transcribing a recording where a number of ‘unclears’ were noted. She reported that the ‘unclears’ were due to a cockerel crowing, something we have not experienced before! Although I guess the transcription could contain the written version of “cock a doodle doo” I am not sure this would have assisted the academic researcher conducting the interview!
We come across all sorts of background noise on a daily basis with our work. It is one of the reasons TP Transcription is the premier UK academic and business transcribing company with over 20 years experience and 100 transcribers working on specialist transcription projects. Cockerels crowing is one of the more minor issues that we have to deal with.
Different Types of Background Noise
Over the years we have transcribed recordings made on trains, in cars, in busy warehouses or factories, offices, recordings of telephone calls where a recording has been made with the telephone in the pocket of the person making the recording, recordings where a phone or recording device has been hidden inside a bag in the room quite a distance away from the people speaking, recordings of call centres and call centre environments where there are incredibly loud and large numbers of people working in the background and many more.
Coffee Shops – the Nightmare
However we also spend a lot of time transcribing recordings that have been made by academic researchers in busy cafés or coffee shops where the background noise can be incredibly high. We have blogged about this before because very few people realise the level of background noise in decibels (dB) that exists in a café or coffee shop. I think that academic researchers in particular think that going into one to make a recording will result in a nice quiet and clear recording. Nothing could be further from the truth and the noise in the background in most coffee shops (when we are allowed indoors again) is astonishing. One of the most difficult recordings we have ever completed was made in the IKEA restaurant next to the baby food microwave. The pinging and whirring throughout the recording were something else!
The sound that a cockerel makes is hardly anything to worry about compared with a coffee shop environment. The cockerel may drown out a bit of sound here and there, but it is not likely to be a lot. Most cockerels will crow for about 5 seconds at a time. However the frequency level of the cockerel is much higher than human voices, so it is very easy for us to filter it out when transcribing the recording. I am not quite sure what an automated transcription system would make of a cockerel crowing, but it may produce some interesting results.. we might try it out to see what the result is.
Old MacDonald Had a Farm? – No Problem!
If you are planning to record an interview with Mr or Mrs MacDonald on their firm – no problem! If you end up with recordings of cockerels crowing in the background, or cows mooing, birds twittering or dogs barking please send them over. Our transcribers are always happy happy to assist and it will make a refreshing change to the incredibly loud noise of a background of coffee shops and cafés!