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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Methods of Obtaining Audio Files From Clients and Contracts

For those of us that have been doing this for a while, we don't always consider that the way we receive work may not be as straightforward as we think it is. One of the questions I'm most frequently asked by people looking to get into the business and from family and friends not involved in transcription is how someone gets a large audio file to me.

There are several methods a client or company may send you the audio you will be transcribing. Below is a list and description of some of the ways you can send and receive audio.

1. Snail Mail
This method is declining more and more as people switch over to other digital delivery methods. However, there are times when files will be mailed to you in microcassette or CD form if you are willing and able to accept them.

2. File Transfer Protocol or FTP

FTP sites are used to upload and download large files using a server. The process of accessing an FTP site is one that some may have trouble with at first, but it is really quite easy once you have done it. I'll be going over the specifics of using FTP in later posts, so be sure to check back if you have questions.

3. Embedded Links

Companies sometimes host a site with the audio file on it. You could either log in to on the site where an embedded link is displayed or a hyperlink will be sent to you in email form. When you right click on the link you will see an option to "Save Target As." You can then download the audio being hosted on the company's site to your computer by clicking on this.

4. FTP Replacement Sites or File Delivery Services

Clients may choose to send audio files by using an FTP replacement site, such as YouSendIt or SendThisFile. These sites will allow you to upload your file and will then send the recipient a link to a web page where they can retrieve the audio file. There are often fees associated depending on file size and the number of files being sent on the sender's side. The service is free for the recipient.

5. Emailing a Compressed File
There are some programs available that will compress audio files to a size small enough to be emailed. These compressed files can be attached in an email and sent to the recipient without the need for third-party vendors, servers or the need to learn how to use FTP. The downfall is that there is most likely some file quality that is lost during compression.

6. Recording the Audio Using Your Own Equipment

This refers to linking to a live or previously recorded audio stream and recording the audio real time onto your computer. Most often, this method of obtaining audio is used for financial earnings calls. You can read our past posts for information on how to record audio using Total Recorder and Start-Stop Universal.