Rates for transcribing directly into target language
Thread poster: Mohamed A. Moustafa

Mohamed A. Moustafa  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2009)
English to Arabic
+ ...
Oct 14, 2011


A company has contacted me for a transcription job. They say that the transcription should be done directly into the target language. I am not required to do monolingual transcription. Do you have an idea how much I may charge for this kind of job?


[Edited at 2011-10-14 15:49 GMT]


Ty Kendall  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 07:31
Hebrew to English
Seems like 2 jobs in one really Oct 14, 2011

Hello Muhammad!

To me, this seems like a translation + transcription type deal (only calling it transcription directly into target language makes it sound like one job).

Don't sell yourself short, charge at least what you would for translation plus a surcharge for the transcription in my opinion.

This has been discussed previously, check out this short thread, it deals with the same situation:


Hope this helps!


Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:31
Member (2007)
+ ...
Be realistic Oct 14, 2011

Hello Muhammed,

It's a shame that experienced transcribers haven't (yet) replied. I can only speak from the basis of common-sense and life experience. The thing that you are NOT is a machine that hears in one language and types in another. You have to make that very clear to the client.

I don't know whether you will actually opt for two separate steps for this job or to do the whole thing in one step. But I'm sure it will take longer than either typing what you hear (i.e. transcribing) or translating a text from one language to another. Even if you translate directly from the audio, you will need to listen to the source sentence (or perhpas two or three sentences) several times before you are ready to type the target version. I've never done it, but I think I'd have to do it in two separate steps. But then, I've always been in tremendous awe of interpreters: the couple of times I tried interpreting, I got terribly confused and ended up speaking a mixture of the two languages!

The best advice I can give is to insist on having the audio before you give a final quote. Try a sample before deciding how much to charge them.



Mohamed A. Moustafa  Identity Verified
United States
Member (2009)
English to Arabic
+ ...
input appreciated Oct 15, 2011

Thank you Sheila and y Kendall for your feedback.


jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 02:31
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
I once did it Oct 15, 2011

And I charged $10 per tape minute. It is a direct client though. They were happy about my rate and immediately assigned the job to me, which contained four 90 minute auodio tapes.


nordiste  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:31
English to French
+ ...
there is no such thing as "transcription into a different language" Oct 16, 2011

Transcribe = put speech into written form
Translate = express the sense of text in another language
(Source: Oxford concise dictionay)

What you are asked to do is the combination of transcrption + translation.

It's up to you to decide wether you prefer to transcribe + translate, or record a simultaneous translation (like a conference interpreter) + transcribe the result.

But in any case you have to charge for the 2 tasks.

If you have no experience and no specific equipment, transcription can be really tricky. It took me more than 3 hours to transcribe 15 mm of technical conversation in my target language, using 2 computers: one laptop playing the video and the other one for me to type in Word.


Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:31
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Other threads Oct 16, 2011

There are several threads on this subject. In the money matters forum, search for "transcription". Here is one such thread:


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Rates for transcribing directly into target language

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