How to charge for transcribing a tape
Thread poster: Anila Mayhew

Anila Mayhew  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:00
English to Albanian
+ ...
Oct 23, 2002

I have an offer to transcribe a tape that is mostly English but has some Albanian in it. What I am being asked to do is to transcribe the English text and translate the Albanian into English.



Any suggestions on how to charge for the English transcription and Albanian translation? Should I charge by the hour or by the word?



Also, is there any equipment used for transcribing that is helpful, fast and affordable? If so, where would I be able to get such equipment?



I would appreciate any info you can give.



Anila


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Stephanie Mitchel  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 21:00
French to English
Transcription tools Oct 23, 2002

Hello Anila,

It\'s been years since I did any, so I\'m sure the machinery is better now, but there are transcription machines equipped with foot pedals that you can use to rewind, play or fast-forward, freeing up your hands to type as fast as humanly possible... I would guess you can find these at an office supply store but you might want to call around.

As for how to charge, unless you\'re a very slow typist, I would charge by the word, and again, I\'m out of the loop but I would guess that a rate of $0.02/word would be acceptable - just based on my own rates and the opinion that typing a word is slightly more work than proofreading it but not as much work as editing it - though you should probably wait to hear from others about that.

Stephanie
[addsig]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 19:00
English to Spanish
+ ...
Transcription Oct 23, 2002

Transcription is a very variable process, because recording quality is quite variable, going from excellent to atrocious. It is difficult, risky and often impractical or completely impossible to give a client a prior quote unless the recording is of good, even quality.



Therefore it is best to work by the hour, including both transcription and translation time.



Again, if you have a poor recording you will need specialized equipment such as a dictaphone with a foot pedal to start and stop the tape, which also should have a control that gives you a range of seconds to kick it back a bit each time, then to roll it forward again. It also needs tone and volume controls and plenty of volume possible since you sometimes don\'t get enough, as well as features that can eliminate extraneous noise. You want to listen through earphones.



Maybe you can rent them somewhere; I don\'t know. Maybe look in the yellow pages for \"transcriptions\" and see if someone in that business can give you a tip or rent you a machine. Include all that in the price also.



Audio transcription is hard work. You need sharp hearing also. Since I work in a common language I leave it to others and I only do the translation. With Albanian I doubt that you would have such luxury.


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Suzanne Couture  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 20:00
Member
Spanish to English
Transcription pricing Oct 23, 2002

Hello Anila,



I transcribed some audiocassettes a few months ago and found that it was too difficult to determine an hourly rate. I underestimated the amount of time it would take to complete the project. Were I to work on such a project again, I would charge 5 cents per word for transcription. If the client agrees to an additional charge for translation that would be even better, but it seems that 5 cents per word is a fair price. I don\'t know of any equipment that would help to speed up the job, but if you hear of any, please pass that information on :^) Good luck to you!



Suzanne


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Aliseo Japan  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 10:00
Member
Italian to Japanese
+ ...
Non professional equipment Oct 24, 2002

If you do not have professional-type equipment, it is painfully slow to locate the tape section, stop at the exact points, then go back to listen again, etc. for a number of times. I think most of the time is perhaps spent dealing with handling the tape only, therefore you should consider this too. Further, but you will not say this to your customer, if you are going to translate many tapes your VCR\'s electrical motors will blow up pretty soon even if you are using a high quality brand. Consider this too. We stopped accepting tape translation and transcription because at the end the customer (translation agencies as well) does not understand what translating a tape means.



Mario Cerutti


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Terry Gilman  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 03:00
Member (2003)
German to English
+ ...
Time estimate at this site: 3x length of tape Oct 24, 2002

While looking for the name of a transcription company we worked with in NYC 5-6 years ago (haven\'t found it yet), came across the writer\'s place (San Francisco), which offers some tips (US-centric, sorry).



http://www.thewritersplace.com/tape_transcribing.htm



HTH

Terry


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xxxNicolette Ri
Local time: 03:00
French to Dutch
+ ...
It may be much longer Oct 24, 2002

I think you can estimate it at 7 - 8 times the length of the tape (1 hr of tape will give about 7 - 8 hours of work and 25 - 30 pages of text (250 words per page). In each case, charge per hour of work.

Good luck!


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Monika Coulson  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:00
Member (2001)
English to Albanian
+ ...
I charge per hour Oct 24, 2002

Anila,

to me, my time is very important, so I charge per hour. I think this is fair. Different tapes have different qualities and transcribing for example 100 words from a good quality tape might be different from transcribing 100 words from a poor quality tape. I once transcribed a few songs, they did not have many words, but it took me a lot longer to transcribe them then a normal speech.

Good luck,

Monika


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Anila Mayhew  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:00
English to Albanian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you Oct 24, 2002

Thank you everyone for all the input. It has been very helpful.



Anila


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