Audio Storytelling: Tales of the Homesick

Dzhamshed Safarov is a University of Wyoming student from Tajikistan.
Photo credit: Lauren Bye

University of Wyoming hosts students from all over the United States as well as the world, but currently only one is from Tajikistan. Dzhamshed Safarov has been in the U.S. since 2013, and in this interview, he shares what he loves about the place he calls home.

I was comfortable with this interviewing experience because the interviewee in this case was my husband. However, it still felt like I was unable to have a natural conversation because I knew my voice would have to be edited out. I think the topic was appropriate because everyone is an expert on their own life. Safarov gives the listener a feeling of what life is like on a daily basis in Tajikistan.

Tajikistan is a former Soviet Union country located in Central Asia.

Safarov was interviewed three times, but ultimately I used the first take. After the first interview, he knew what kind of questions to expect and his answers didn’t feel as genuine. With a longer time limit, I think I could have clarified or asked more specific questions without leading the interviewee.


Click to listen to the raw audio of Safarov’s interview.


Dzhamshed Safarov poses in front of the Ismoil Somoni monument in downtown Dushanbe, Tajikistan.
Photo credit: Lauren Bye

Before this assignment, I had absolutely no audio editing experience. I was surprised by how easy it was to edit audio using Audacity. Although it’s not difficult to do, it is very time consuming. I used destructive editing for this audio. At times, it was fun to manipulate a recorded piece of information, enhancing the story and making it more focused.

Some tips that I found useful were to leave in the person’s breaths. Without it, the editing is too obvious and the voice doesn’t sound alive. Additionally, creating the arc of the story first is better for editing. Unnecessary portions can be edited out later, as well as the “um’s” and other mistakes. I wish I had known this sooner, because after editing for the first time, I cut some things out that I wanted to use. Ultimately, I restarted the editing process.

Click to listen to the edited audio of Dzhamshed’s interview.

My goal after UW is to start a career in advertising. In this field, I could see myself making radio ads and needing to know how to edit an audio file. Learning how to add sound effects and music would be useful for my type of work.