Transcription Services Cost: 5 Ways to Get Quality Transcripts on a Budget

Transcription Services Cost: 5 Ways to Get Quality Transcripts on a Budget
Beth Worthy

Beth Worthy


One of the reasons you may want to outsource transcription work is to get high-quality transcripts at affordable rates.

However, how can you ensure that you’ll get a good deal and high-quality transcripts from a transcription service provider?

Read more on how to get value for your money when outsourcing transcription work. 

5 Ways to Get Quality Transcripts on a Budget

1. Pick the Transcript Option that Fits Your Needs

Not all transcripts are the same. If you are not aware of the different transcription formats offered by providers, you may end up paying for details you don’t need. 

There are four main types of transcripts offered by most transcription services companies: 

  1. Clean Verbatim 
    Clean verbatim, also called intelligent verbatim transcription, are transcripts that capture everything from your audio files apart from fillers, stutters, and non-verbal communication. The clean transcript is easy to read.
    Choose clean verbatim if you need error-free and a ready-to-read transcript. This transcript is best for business recordings.
  2. Edited Verbatim
    This transcript captures the audio recording but with edited tenses and grammar. The result is a readable and accurate transcript. An edited verbatim transcript is recommended for academic and medical recordings. 
  3. Full Verbatim
    This is a word-for-word transcription that captures the recording as it is. The transcript includes filler words, gestations, stutters, and even external noises. 
    Full verbatim is often preferred for legal and journalist transcripts that require a high level of detail. This transcript is the most expensive among the four options. 
  4. Detailed Notes Transcription
    Detailed notes transcription is the best if you are on a budget and need your transcript fast. The transcript captures on-topic conversation and excludes off-topic speech. The details provided in this transcript are concise and brief. Since the transcript is easier to produce, it is also cheaper compared to the other three transcripts.

2. Go for Longer Turnarounds

A slow transcription turnaround time will see you paying less for a quality transcript.

If you are not in a hurry, give the transcription services company more time to work on your audio. 

However, if you need a transcript in the next 24 hours or less, most transcription service providers will charge you more for this quick turnaround time. 

Plan ahead for your transcription project to avoid a last-minute rush that will have you paying more.

3. Choose Your Extras Carefully

After determining the type of transcript you need, choose the extras to be included. The extras may include:

  • Speaker names
  • Timestamps
  • Tone annotations
  • Pauses
  • Laughter

Depending on the transcription service company you choose, you may have to pay for extras. However, some providers include them in the initial price. 

If you don’t need all the extras, do not include them, since you’ll end up paying more.

On the other hand, if you require all the extras, you are better off looking for a service provider that includes them in the base price.

4. Know Other Factors that Can Increase Your Fees

Some audios take more time to transcribe than others. Such audios may cost you more.

Consider the following to know whether more time will be required to transcribe your audio:

  • Length of the Audio
    Transcribing longer audios is costlier than shorter ones. While most transcription companies charge per minute for their services, there are others that charge per page. Choose the latter if you have long audios with lots of dead air or blanks to keep your costs down.
  • Number of Speakers
    Files with multiple speakers will cost you more to get transcribed than those with one or two speakers. Moreover, if all the speakers are to be included in the transcript, you are likely to end up paying more. 
  • Quality of the Audio
    A clear audio file is easier to transcribe, and this will mean lower costs for you. You can get clear audios by:
    1. Recording in a quiet place
    2. Using a quality recorder
    3. Avoiding background noises
  • Transcription Style
    If you need a particular transcription style other than what is offered by a transcription provider, you may have to pay more. 
    Moreover, specialized transcription services, such as the ones required for academic, legal, and medical interviews cost more than general transcription since they require more research.
  • Accent
    If the speakers in your audios have an accent, it can be difficult to understand them. As a result, your transcription may take longer. For instance, audios with non-native English speakers can be difficult to transcribe.

5. Stick with One Service Provider

If you regularly need transcription services, find a quality transcription provider and stick with them. Regular engagement with the provider can accord you a discount.

You can also request a special lower rate by informing them that they will be your sole service provider.

Repeat business is a win for the transcription company, and they won’t mind giving you quality services at an affordable price.

To get value for your money, consider the five factors above before hiring a transcription services company.

Also Read: Promoting Educational Webcasts with Transcription Services

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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.