What Should You Pay for Transcription?

What Should You Pay for Transcription?

When planning to hire a professional transcriptionist, the first thing you may want to consider is the average prices for transcription services. The truth is, different professionals will charge you different rates. The industry standard seems to have a wide spectrum. Therefore, what you need to decide is how much should you expect to pay? This article takes you through everything you need to know about transcription rates.

Industry standards

Standard rates for professional transcriptionists (especially those professionals from North America) range from $1.5 to $3 per audio minute or $90 to $180 per audio hour. If your project has extra requirements, such as a quick turnaround time, you may be forced to pay more to have the job done.

But why are there professionals charging less?


You will probably come across transcriptionists who accept lower payments. Let’s say, $0.70 to $1 per audio minute. If you come across such experts, chances are, they are using speech recognition software. The downside of using such software is that the resulting transcripts are imperfect.

Non-native transcriptionists may also offer to complete the job at a much lower rate. If you opt to go for lower priced transcription services, in most cases, be prepared to get poor quality transcripts.

Pricing structures used by transcription services

Let’s have a look at the various ways transcriptionists bill their clients for services:

  • Per audio minute or audio hour: This is the common industry standard that is used by many professionals. And as mentioned earlier, rates range from $1.5 to $3 per audio minute.
  • Per line: Commonly used in the medical industry, this pricing structure allows transcriptionists to bill their clients per line. A line is defined as 65 characters, including spaces. Often, rates range from 7 to 14 cents per line.
  • Per typed page: This is another pricing structure that is common with typing projects, where an expert transcribes from another document rather than an audio file. Here you will be billed per typed page. You can also be billed per hour or per word depending on the expert you consult.
  • Per hour of the transcriptionist’s time: This structure allows transcriptionists to charge a minimum rate regardless of the audio quality. Often hourly rates range from $25 to $50. According to Writer’s Market, the average hourly rate for transcribing interviews is $50.

Factors that will increase your transcription rates


So why are you likely to pay more for some transcription jobs while others times you pay less? Here are some reasons.

  • Bad audio: If your audio is problematic (it has noise in the background, distorted, too quiet or muffled), you will pay more. For example, you can pay an extra $.10 to $.25 per audio minute for background noise, technical terminologies, and time codes.
  • Multiple speakers: Another reason why you will pay more is when your audio has multiple speakers. Additionally, you will spend more if your audio has fast speakers and a lot of cross talk. If your audio has three speakers, the starting rate can be $.25 a person per audio minute or $.50 a person for audio for 4 speakers. Basically, rates keep on rising as the number of speakers increases.
  • Extra requirements: Special formatting, true verbatim transcription, and timestamps are a good example of additional requirements that will force you to dig deep into your pockets.
  • Turnaround time: How soon do you need the job done? For the first turnaround time of 24 hours or less, you must be prepared to pay for extra. If you need a turnaround of 24 hours, you can expect a standard fee of $1.25 per audio minute and an additional fee of about $.75 per audio minute for 48 hours.
  • Specialized types of transcription: For projects such as academic, medical, legal, financial, and technical, often you will pay more due to their specialized nature and the amount of research required.

How to lower your transcription fees

Naturally, we are always looking for ways to remain on a budget. To reduce transcription fees, consider doing the following.

  • Using proper recording devices. Digital recorders such as Olympus WS-853 and Sony UX560 comes in handy.
  • Avoid recording in a setting with a lot of background noise. You can do an initial test before the actual recording to check whether the speaker can be heard clearly.
  • Record all sessions in person instead of over the phone.
  • If recording a group or in a meeting, make sure every participant takes a turn to avoid talking over each other. You can even appoint someone who makes sure participants take turns.
  • Use Designrr transcription software, which can transcribe your video or audio within minutes. You can either review or hire an editor to edit some changes.

Crucial things to consider when choosing a transcriptionist


Before we wrap up, let’s have a look at some things to consider when hiring a professional transcriptionist:

  • Accuracy: You need transcripts that are well-formatted, punctuated, capitalized, and error-free, right? This is only possible if you choose a transcriptionist who is proficient in the languages of your audios. Additionally, choose an expert who is fully aware of what needs to be done.
  • Security: Some recordings are critical, and you don’t want them to get into the wrong hands. That said, make sure to choose a professional who guarantees total security for all assignments.
  • Clear communication: Language barriers are real. So, if you cannot communicate clearly with your transcriptionist, consider that as a signal for hiring someone else.

Bottom line

Transcription rates will always vary. Doing your research before making a decision will help you to find the best fit for your needs.

You have the freedom to go for a lower priced option or a more expensive transcriptionist. Just make sure to choose wisely.

You can also use Designrr transcription software to compare your transcriptionist’s work. This will allow you to see exactly how much additional work is needed. Once you identify the amount of work involved with editing the project you can choose to hire someone from UpWork for a lot less to do the edit and cleanup, as opposed to hiring a transcriptionist at their rates. The choice is yours.


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