For my telephone interview with physician/author Danielle Ofri, I used my new tape recorder and telephone pickup.
I recommend both: the Olympus WS-331M digital voice recorder (about $100) and the Olympus TP7 telephone pickup (about $20). The pickup is neat. It plugs into the mic jack of the tape recorder, and then the ear bud goes in the interviewer’s ear. As I listened to Danielle, the ear bud recorded what I heard in my ear, or Danielle’s voice, and the recorder’s external mic captured my voice.
On my sister Sally’s recommendation, I used Express Scribe v 5.02 from NCH Software (free) to play back the audio file as I transcribed it. First, I connected the recorder’s USB terminal to my Mac’s USB port and saved the .WMA file on my desktop. Then I imported the .WMA file into Express Scribe, which allowed for lots of control (speed, volume, start, stop, ff, etc.) as I listened to the file, re-listened to passages, and typed.
I actually bought the recorder to tape some interviews I’m doing with students for a teaching-related research study. For that recording situation, nothing more than the recorder and a list of questions are needed. I followed the same procedure for transferring the .WMA files to my MAC, for later transcription.
The only accessory that could improve this experience of recording and transcribing is a foot pedal to control the playback of the recording. I did designate a few hot keys in Express Scribe to speed the frequent stopping and restarting of the playback, but a foot pedal would have saved even more time and hand motions.
A few weeks ago I was a beginner at the recorded interview. This nifty little setup made me feel like a pro.
Post script: I almost called this post “My new gun,” as an homage to a great, yet little-seen Diane Lane film called… My New Gun (1992). Marcia recommended it to me years ago. It’s a stealth surprise: weird, suspenseful, sexy.