Creating Original Audio

Original audio recordings might include words, phrases, or sentences in foreign languages; excerpts from musical compositions; or interviews with experts.


  • If you plan to include any non-original music in your audio content, we strongly recommend you choose content that is royalty-free and open for commercial use.
  • Please send the source files for all non-original musical content to your project editor to review before you begin recording.

Recording Software Options

It’s easy to record audio with a smartphone app (most smartphones have a built-in audio recorder) or Zoom (start a meeting with yourself and record it; one of the files that Zoom saves is an audio file). We’ve also had authors record successfully with the built-in apps for Microsoft and Apple. More than a particular software, we recommend that authors use a headset or microphone if possible and record somewhere quiet.

Recording Guidelines

  • First, identify the purpose of your recording.
    • For complex flashcard and dictation activities, keep each recording brief (ranging from a word to a phrase or sentence).
    • For other embedded audio content, such as interviews, keep most recordings under 5 to 7 minutes. This will help maintain student engagement.
  • If you will be using non-original music content, send the files to your project editor for review.
  • Customize your preparation to the audio type. For instance:
    • Speeches: Write out the transcript of what you plan to say.
    • Music: Identify the sheet music from which you will perform.
    • Interviews: Write out questions and share them with the interviewee(s) beforehand.
  • Choose a small, quiet space in which to record.
  • Use a headset or a pair of headphones/earbuds with a built-in microphone.
  • Before recording all your files, complete a short test.
    • Is the speaking or playing loud enough?
    • Can each word or sound be clearly, distinctly heard?
    • Is there any background noise that should be eliminated (if possible)?
  • Proceed with recording.
  • Identify each recording in your audio log.
  • Prepare a transcript of each recording that involves a speaker or speakers. This is especially important for speeches and interviews.
  • Save a backup of each recording before submitting your files to your project editor.

What You Need to Submit

  • Audio log for all original recordings (separate file)
  • Audio files in .mp3, .wav, .opus, .ogg, .oga, or m4a format
  • Transcripts for all original recordings, if applicable