How many words approx. in 1 min of audio?
Thread poster: Anai Betancourt

Anai Betancourt  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:16
English to Spanish
Aug 5, 2014

Hello everyone!

A customer is requesting me to quote based on wordcount of an audiofile in Spanish. She wants me to provide an estimated wordcount for an audio file. Is there a standard number of words in Spanish that can go in a 1-min audio file? Is there an easy way to calculate this? Thank you all for your help!


Katalin Horváth McClure  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:16
Member (2002)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Uhmmm - calculate yourself? Aug 5, 2014

You could pick up a book, start a timer for one minute, and start reading aloud. When the minute is up, look at the amount of text you read. That is the number of words in a minute.
It can change, a fast-talking person can produce more words per minute, and a slow talker will say less. If this is still about the transcription job you mentioned in your other posts, get a sample of the file before you commit to anything. That way you will know what you are up to.
It is very risky otherwise, as others have already pointed out in your other threads and in past threads that were linked into yours.

[Edited at 2014-08-05 22:20 GMT]


Hedwig Spitzer Cáceres  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:16
Member (2018)
French to Spanish
+ ...
150 words per minute Aug 5, 2014

That is the average word count per minute of audio. It is also used to prepare speaches.



Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 07:16
English to Spanish
+ ...
Don't commit... Aug 5, 2014

...until you hear it all. There is no way of telling, and the quality of the recording also makes a big difference. There are no general rules for audio transcription, so be careful.


Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:16
French to Spanish
+ ...
Simple question... Aug 6, 2014

Does he/she/they speak a lot or not?

As Henry says, beware.


Paul Brown  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:16
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Agree with Hedwig Aug 6, 2014

I agree with Hedwig, you're looking at around 150 words per minute. 100 words if slow speech or lack of speech. It's unlikely that it would exceed 200 words.


Orrin Cummins  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:16
Japanese to English
+ ...
It could be something like this Aug 6, 2014

494 words per minute in the first verse:

Just sayin'.


Kay Denney  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:16
Member (2018)
French to English
What do you need this info for? Aug 6, 2014

There's no point timing yourself because you'll be over conscious of your speed the whole time you're talking. Much more to the point would be to take a couple of samples of the actual text you'll be working on. And just as you're supposed to at least skim through a written text before committing to its translation, you should really listen to the whole thing, even if with one ear.

And what does the client want exactly? a transcription? a written translation of the spoken text? sub-titles?
Because depending on what you're going to do to the text you'll need to bear in mind just how audible the speakers are, how articulate they are, whether they are native speakers or not. I have wasted hours listening to snippets of non-native nonsense, trying to make head or tail of the message they are trying to put across.

I also remember a horrendous videotape of the then hottest rock star in town mumbling and jumbling and contradicting himself, peppering the lot with an inordinate number of "you knows" and "likes" and "somehows" and "in some fashions" and "I s'poses".

As a warning to you: I did smooth out the text a whole lot, however I left just enough of the mess in to avoid giving the impression that he could talk proper. The client kicked up a terrible fuss when she got her transcription, because suddenly this rock god was revealed to be an inarticulate hick, which was unbearable for her, so her gut reaction was to shoot the messenger - me.


LilianNekipelov  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:16
Russian to English
+ ...
It depends. Aug 7, 2014

All I can tell you is that to translate 60 min of audio may take at least 8 hours, and sometimes more like 10 or 12.


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How many words approx. in 1 min of audio?

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