9 Key Factors That Decide Academic Transcription Rates

9 Key Factors That Decide Academic Transcription Rates
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


In the academic transcription industry, getting quality work is directly proportional to the payment you are ready to give. Therefore, your understanding of the rates is critically important to get quality results and also save your valuable time by hiring a professional transcriber. But before that, you must know what exactly your transcription requirements are and the factors that govern transcription rates.

  1. Length of the Audio

    Ideally, the longer your audio, the costlier your transcription. However, there are various sub factors that need to be taken into consideration. While paying per minute of the audio file is the general norm followed by most transcription companies, you may want to pay per page for a long recording that has a lot of blanks or what may be referred to as dead air, to economize on the cost. Alternatively, you may edit out the empty sections in the audio with the help of Adobe Audition and get a per minute rate.
  2. Audio Quality

    Invest on the best audio quality since better audio quality and clarity ensures less time to transcribe and therefore lower costs. If the audio is poor, it will challenge even the best of the transcriptionists; this would reflect on the end results. At the same time, you also need to be aware of the following points:
    • Record the audio in a quiet place.

    • Avoid background noises.

    • Invest in quality recorders.

    • Emphasize voice clarity.

    Audio quality also affects editing costs, as editing is a lot easier and quicker when there is voice clarity in the audio. On the other hand, costly and supplementary editing is required in the case of inaudibility.

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  3. Transcription Style

    Most companies offering transcription services, in accordance with the niche they have cut out for clients, provide a default style and work with a standard rate, which calls for increased rates when they need to make adjustments to certain packages. However, being the client, you need to give instructions according to your requirements. The rates are different for each style adapted.
  4. Number of Speakers

    A recording with multiple speakers costs more than a person-to-person interview or a one person recording (dictations). The designations of speakers in the transcript to be used throughout will also determine the rates provided. A good example would be a focus group transcription, where it takes more effort, time, and a lot of patience to transcribe the recordings of several speakers.
  5. Turn Around Time

    Delivery deadlines determine the cost. Hence, it makes more sense for you to plan ahead for transcription projects. Rushing through of projects would make no economic sense for you, as it would need more transcribers working on the audio as opposed to a longer project that might be designated to a single transcriber. The latter will cost less.
  6. Editing

    Time spent on editing the transcript is also a determinant of pricing. Proofreading difficult terms, as well as customized formatting also call for additional costs. Formatting requests like page line and numbers, logos, headers and footers would increase the rates; at the same time, bigger font sizes, less lines and larger margins will minimize costs. Therefore, it is advisable for you to stick to basic formats that would still cater for your needs and requirements.
  7. Time Stamping

    This is an additional service for an additional fee, based on your requirements. If the audio quality is poor, time stamps can be useful for reference purposes.
  8. Accent

    An accent difficult to comprehend in the audio would mean transcription charges are higher. For example, if English is your second language, you have to pay more as your audio will be deemed difficult to understand.
  9. Subject Matter

    Audios that call for a deeper and better understanding of the industry or subject matter will be charged more as the transcriber will need extra time for research. The best examples are medical and legal transcriptions that cost more than general transcription, as they demand some specialized and specific understanding of the industry.

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Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy is the Cofounder & President of GMR Transcription Services, Inc., a California-based company that has been providing accurate and fast transcription services since 2004. She has enjoyed nearly ten years of success at GMR, playing a pivotal role in the company's growth. Under Beth's leadership, GMR Transcription doubled its sales within two years, earning recognition as one of the OC Business Journal's fastest-growing private companies. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two kids.