Audio transcription work – styles and pricing.
If audio transcription is one of the services you would like to offer but you are not sure how to start then read on! What should I charge for transcription services?
Yes, you will be pleased to hear there are opportunities out there to carry out audio transcription work, but please note there is also a lot of competition, so be informed before you start.
Okay, so what equipment do you need to set yourself up as a transcriptionist? Actually, very little!
That’s it – 3 items and you can start 😊 I am assuming of course that you already have some form of laptop/PC.
Don’t forget to have a look around the internet for software that offers ‘free’ versions, or ‘trial’ versions. These will allow you to test things out before going ahead with any purchase of the pro versions which then allow you access to other features, such as for the transcription of video files.
Styles of audio transcription
There are three main styles of transcription and you should confirm with your client BEFORE you commence any transcription work which style they would like you to use.
VERBATIM – This style of transcription is the most accurate as it includes all of the verbal and non-verbal sounds on the audio/video file. This type of transcription is very time consuming as each sound and nuance must be transcribed. Things to include are:
- False starts.
- Background noises (telephones ringing, etc.)
- When someone repeats themselves.
- Emotions (laughter, crying, sighing, whispering)
- Unclear audio (a timestamp is generally added to indicate the audio was unclear)
This type of transcription is suitable for court transcripts, university research, police interviews,film and television scripts – any arena where a true and accurate account is important.
EDITED TRANSCRIPTION – Whilst a verbatim record is extremely accurate it can also be extremely difficult to read as it contains all the “um” or “you know” within the text. This is where an edited transcription can be a better option as it will only include the relevant parts of the audio/video file and drops all the unnecessary bits. Careful consideration needs to be given by the transcriber as to what they feel they can leave out of the transcript without changing the overall message.
This type of transcription would be used for speeches, conferences and seminars, minutes of meeting, or publications.
INTELLIGENT VERBATIM – This style of transcription still requires an accurate transcription but allows you to exclude coughs, laughter, background noises, etc, it also allows you to exclude all the repetition, false starts and pauses. The transcriber will be able to paraphrase what is being said in order to make the transcript read easily. This style of transcription is carried out by highly skilled transcriptionists who can easily convey what the purpose of the meeting is without losing any clarity, accuracy or meaning.
This type of transcription would be used for speeches, interviews for publication, conferences and seminars.
There are two main ways of pricing – by the hour (how long it takes you to type up the work), or pence per minute (how long the actual recording runs for). You may also want to consider pence per word or per page but generally we would suggest you consider the first two options.
Industry guidelines indicate that we speak 4 x faster than we can type, so therefore a 15-minute audio recording will take up to approximately 60 minutes to type, (plus remember to factor in the length of the original recording, i.e. 15-minutes, for proofing time.)
We find that most clients prefer a ‘pence per minute’ price as this is easily calculated and provides a clear cost per piece of work.
A price ‘by the hour’ does not incentivise the transcriber to complete the work in a timely manner, in fact it is in their favour to deliberately slow the transcription speed down. We do not believe this is fair to the client and will also cause problems when you are trying to provide a quote for your client.
Things to consider:
- Style of transcription required
- Pricing structure
- Turnaround time (remember the 4 x rule)
- If possible, try to listen to a short snippet of the audio – is it clear? Are there a lot of background noises? Are there different accents? Are there multiple speakers? Is it technical?
Now you are ready to start transcribing audio files – happy typing.