What is meant by difficult audio quality?

Difficult audio is audio that is harder to transcribe. Some factors that might make audio difficult include: background or foreground noise, speakers talking over each other, many speakers, specialized terminology (including technical, legal, scientific, or medical terms), muffled or quiet recordings, fast talkers, and accents.

This is not a comprehensive list, but covers most cases. The more of these factors that are present, and the more significant any given factor (louder background noise, heavier accents, etc.), the more difficult your audio is.

Recordings made in public places (cafes, restaurants, etc.) are almost always difficult audio. Phone calls and focus groups are often difficult.

Our 1-Day, 1-Week, and podcast subscription products are designed for high quality audio. Turnaround is not guaranteed on files that have difficult audio. You can submit difficult audio for these products if you add the Difficult Audio upgrade. Adding the upgrade assures the smoothest possible turnaround in any given case (often to within the desired timeframe), but does not reinstate the guarantee.

If the audio is too poor to transcribe at all, we will notify you and refund your order less our costs incurred.

See our Transcription and Challenging Audio blog post for a more in-depth look at the Difficult Audio upgrade and how it works.