What is the going rate for transcription services? Price indicators for transcription companies, automated transcription platforms and rates paid to individual transcribers.

Charges for audio transcription and video transcription are generally the same these days because the transcription software used is powerful enough to ensure that the transcriber is able to complete the work at the same speed, whether the file is video or audio. If you are paying a lot more for a standard digital video file then you are almost certainly paying too much and the company doing the work is ripping you off!

The cost of having work transcribed varies widely according to the number of speakers and the turnaround time, although some transcription businesses do not charge anything extra for fast turnaround.

The average price charged by transcription businesses in the UK for standard two speaker interviews, conversations or discussions is about 90p to £1.50 per minute, although for a traditional transcription business this price will very much depend on the turnaround time. Recordings for 3 or more speakers can be considerably higher as they are much harder to transcribe.

There are transcription platform companies in the USA who charge a flat rate of $1 or 85p per minute for all transcription, which is returned within 12 hours at all times. Interestingly, we sent an academic focus group recording to www.rev.com (one of the new companies in the USA) to see what their accuracy was like, but unfortunately they returned the recording without completing the work, refunded our upfront payment and did not apologise or explain why they hadn’t done the work!

So far as transcription rates for transcribers or transcriptionists is concerned, the usual rate can be anything from 15p per minute of recording through to 70p per minute of recording, depending on the company providing the work, the turnaround and the complexity of the actual transcription. Providers vary widely in terms of the price they are prepared to pay, and in order to get an accurate reflection it is worth contacting a few different companies to find out what their rates are (if they’ll tell you).

A number of transcription companies get their transcribers to transcribe 1-2 minute blocks, which they then put together, or they ask the transcribers to bid on the work and the lowest price gets the contract. Not recommended unless you want a load of random transcription!