I want to describe a recorded speech database in an academic paper. It has been recorded via telephone. People call from their home / workplace, but not under very noisy conditions. Usual environmental noises (somebody talking behind, vehicular noise etc.) are present. I thought of describing it as "the database is recorded under realistic conditions". What are some better alternatives for the word realistic, if any?


Such circumstances are usually called real-world conditions (i.e. - not controlled conditions).

Only my own opinion, but personally I think OP's suggested "realistic conditions" implies controlled, artificial conditions - although specifically designed to mimic real-world conditions, there's always a chance the testers either failed to set things up as they intended, or were unaware of some crucial aspect of the "real real" world.

  • Oh, I didn't think of this aspect. Basically you opine that realistic implies less real than plain real. – user13107 Sep 19 '12 at 15:53
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    @user13107: That's certainly my opinion, yes. You can make a realistic copy of something, but unless you want to get involved in the metaphysical/philosophical implications of fungibility, it doesn't make much sense to speak of a real copy. – FumbleFingers Sep 19 '12 at 16:04

You might say under existing conditions, or imperfect, uncontrolled, run of the mill, flawed, as-found, ordinary, mediocre. Cornbread ninja's suggestion of everyday also is good, and its definition leads to commonplace (as well as ordinary, already suggested).

  • Thanks, just a doubt, would 'run of the mill' work in an academic paper setting? Right now I'm trying to google up all the suggested alternatives to see how they have been used by people in the literature. – user13107 Sep 19 '12 at 13:45
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    @user13107, 'run of the mill' may be ok in some academic papers but is less likely than the other terms. Using several words together, at least upon first mention, might be best. Eg, "... recorded under existing, everyday, less-than-pristine conditions". – James Waldby - jwpat7 Sep 19 '12 at 13:51

I have often heard the background sounds referred to as the ambient noise.

What is Ambient Noise?

"Ambient conditions" seems to have more use on the Web as referring to weather, but if you told me that whatever I was about to listen to was recorded under ambient conditons I would be expecting background noise.

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