Transcription plus Translation
Thread poster: Alicia Casal

Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
May 12, 2008

How do you charge transcription plus translation of audio files?

In our case, we established a rate per minute including both services.

Depending on the speaker: Spanish Speaker: 120/150 words per minute.

Our Rate: Euros 15 -18 per minute (Transcription+Translation).


[Edited at 2008-05-12 23:02]

[Edited at 2008-05-12 23:51]

[Edited at 2008-05-12 23:51]

[Edited at 2008-05-13 00:00]

[Edited at 2008-05-13 00:09]

[Edited at 2008-05-13 01:15]

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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 04:42
English to French
+ ...
A minute's worth May 13, 2008

A minute of audio takes generally between four and eight minutes to transcribe. My average is about six minutes. Add to that the translation - it probably takes twice as much time to translate a sentence as it takes to transcribe it, if the text is easy and the audio is crystal clear. This means that transcription and translation of a minute of audio would take you about six minutes plus twelve minutes, which comes down to almost 20 minutes. If I apply your most expensive rate (0.18), that means that you would make 0.18 per twenty minutes on average. That would be an hourly average of about 0.60.

In the best case, you could transcribe directly into the target language if the language and vocabulary used are simple enough to justify it, which could probably bring the count of minutes to process one minute of audio from 20 minutes to 15 minutes, in which case you'd be making about $0.80 per hour.

I don't think that even comes close to a viable rate, no matter what part of the world you live in.

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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:42
English to Spanish
+ ...
Audio May 13, 2008

You do not quote audio files unheard, they can be quite variable and quite difficult, sometimes impossible to transcribe. You do not transcribe audio files unless you are experienced at that kind of work, have very good hearing and proper equipment.

Once you have the audio, the best bet is to get someone else to transcribe it who is an expert in that, and they normally charge much less than translators do. Then you merely check it and translate it.

But never, NEVER quote audio without hearing it first.

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Alicia Casal  Identity Verified
Local time: 05:42
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sorry, I made a Mistake: May 13, 2008

Minute: euros 15,8 to 18.

And, we have 2 transcribers who also work for the National Congress.

[Edited at 2008-05-13 01:18]

We use Express Scribe.

[Edited at 2008-05-13 01:23]

[Edited at 2008-05-13 01:37]

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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:42
English to Portuguese
+ ...
What's the purpose of having both? May 13, 2008

As I work mostly with video, not audio, I'll give video examples to illustrate the chain of thought. Then you can consider the options.

If a video translation is required, contrary to what some clients believe, transcription is not necessary. Actually it's useless additional work, if dubbing or subtitling is intended.

Transcription before translation is a money and time saver when the recording is in some rare language, and the intent is to have it translated into several languages. For instance, if the recording is in, say, Tagalog, it makes sense to first translate it into EN, to later have it re-translated into FR, DE, ES, etc.

However if it's just, say, EN>FR, translation can be done directly, without transcribing first. The risk is that one checking tool/step will be lost. If a speaker has some weird accent, for better or for worse might sound like four butter are for wars and, after it has been directly translated into quatre beurre sont pour des guerres, the "dommage" will require someone to search the recording for that point to sort it out, as there is no transcript.

No, I'm not exaggerating. I've seen worse transcription mistakes on stationery from a video transcribing services firm in Hollywood, supposedly a few miles away from the studio where the film was originally shot. And regarding the example, please pardon my French literally, as not so many readers would understand it in Portuguese.

If a client wants me to transcribe and translate a video for dubbing or subtitling, I charge twice my standard per-minute rate, and do both from the video. If they want the transcription and just an accurate translation of the transcribed script, I'll do the latter from the transcript and charge for it at my per-word rate (on top of the per-minute rate of transcribing).

So the general rule is:
1. Working from audio/video = rate per minute of playing time
2. Working from (transcribed) text = rate per word

The client should be given the option to choose. Incidentally, my rate for transcribing or translating audio/video is one and the same. As I work both ways in only one language pair, it's a matter of selecting the IN and OUT languages, two "switches" in my brain. But it doesn't have to be so; you may have different rates for each type of work.

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