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Same language transcription rate
Thread poster: Federica Pojaga

Federica Pojaga
Local time: 20:29
English to Italian
+ ...
Mar 3, 2012

Hi everyone,
I have been approached by a UK company needing a same language transcription (from audio file to text) and as I have never done this before I wondered whether anyone has any idea of current rates.
The propose a rate per minute of original file, so if anyone can tell me more maybe I'll be able to compare and see if it's worth investing my time in this project.
Thank you in advance!!


 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
* Mar 3, 2012

Federica Pojaga wrote:

Hi everyone,
I have been approached by a UK company needing a same language transcription (from audio file to text) and as I have never done this before I wondered whether anyone has any idea of current rates.
The propose a rate per minute of original file, so if anyone can tell me more maybe I'll be able to compare and see if it's worth investing my time in this project.
Thank you in advance!!


15 euro / minute of the sound file


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:29
Spanish to English
+ ...
Caveat emptor Mar 3, 2012

Be very wary. I'd ask for a sample of the audio us text if I were you. Some can be easy enough to understand straight off and others can be well nigh unintelligible; for example, a professional narrator is usually easy enough to understand, but vebatim interviews with "normal people" can be a nightmare. I try to establish a "real-time" rate for this kind of work but it isn't always possible. As a general rule of thumb, I find that agencies usually offer you about half of what the work is really worth in terms of the time and effort you may have to invest in it.

 

Tony Shargool  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
Italian to English
+ ...
GOOD ADVICE - ask for a short sample Mar 3, 2012

neilmac wrote:

Be very wary. I'd ask for a sample of the audio us text if I were you. Some can be easy enough to understand straight off and others can be well nigh unintelligible; for example, a professional narrator is usually easy enough to understand, but vebatim interviews with "normal people" can be a nightmare. I try to establish a "real-time" rate for this kind of work but it isn't always possible. As a general rule of thumb, I find that agencies usually offer you about half of what the work is really worth in terms of the time and effort you may have to invest in it.


***

I've done a lot of work on subject-matters I was producing for TV documentaries, but when interviews are with indigenous populations in Africa, India, Jamaica, etc. or even locally, speaking English to help... I been through nightmares to produce faithfull subtitles.
TONY SHARGOOL

[Edited at 2012-03-03 13:58 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The grounds to say NO Mar 3, 2012

As colleagues here have warned, it may be a mission impossible job. I see too many translators afraid of saying NO to an impossible job. Though it usually implies cryin' over spilled milk, I've published my reply to such jobs, maybe for next time, at http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/lecture_en.html .

 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 21:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
15? Mar 3, 2012

Alexander Onishko wrote:

Federica Pojaga wrote:

Hi everyone,
I have been approached by a UK company needing a same language transcription (from audio file to text) and as I have never done this before I wondered whether anyone has any idea of current rates.
The propose a rate per minute of original file, so if anyone can tell me more maybe I'll be able to compare and see if it's worth investing my time in this project.
Thank you in advance!!


15 euro / minute of the sound file

Do people seriously pay that much money for audio transcriptions? I find it hard to believe. Companies that specialize in this line of work charge in the 1-3 euro/minute range depending on what the tape is like, so the fee you cited there is at least 5-10 times the going rate for this type of service.

http://www.transcriptionsservice.com/estimate.php
http://www.franklin-square.com/transcription_per_line.htm
http://www.accentance.com/transcriptrates.html
http://www.productiontranscripts.com/transcripts/services/one-on-one-interview-transcription.htm
etc.

Anecdotally, I can easily transcribe 10 minutes of reasonable quality audio in an hour, so your rate would mean 150 a EUR/hr wage... That's obviously unrealistic for a job that requires a much lower skill level than translation.

[Edited at 2012-03-03 17:04 GMT]


 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
* Mar 3, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:

Alexander Onishko wrote:

Federica Pojaga wrote:

Hi everyone,
I have been approached by a UK company needing a same language transcription (from audio file to text) and as I have never done this before I wondered whether anyone has any idea of current rates.
The propose a rate per minute of original file, so if anyone can tell me more maybe I'll be able to compare and see if it's worth investing my time in this project.
Thank you in advance!!


15 euro / minute of the sound file

Do people seriously pay that much money for audio transcriptions? I find it hard to believe. Companies that specialize in this line of work charge in the 1-3 euro/minute range depending on what the tape is like, so the fee you cited there is at least 5-10 times the going rate for this type of service.

http://www.transcriptionsservice.com/estimate.php
http://www.franklin-square.com/transcription_per_line.htm
http://www.accentance.com/transcriptrates.html
http://www.productiontranscripts.com/transcripts/services/one-on-one-interview-transcription.htm
etc.

Anecdotally, I can easily transcribe 10 minutes of reasonable quality audio in an hour, so your rate would mean 150 a EUR/hr wage... That's obviously unrealistic for a job that requires a much lower skill level than translation.

[Edited at 2012-03-03 17:04 GMT]


So let's everybody does his own work. I will only appreciate if someone else will do this and they give me the written text for translation.

In any case I will not do this for 1 dollar/minute.


 

LucyPatterso (X)
English
I wonder if it's the same agency Mar 4, 2012

An agency kept asking me recently if I would do some same-language transcription work.

I turned it down because of the low rate (I could be earning far more by using this time for translations) but also because I find transcription work utterly soul-destroying. It might be bearable if it were paid at EUR40 per audio minute, but as we all know that is far from the truth.

What really puzzled me was: why are they asking translation professionals to do a job like this?? They could get any native speaker in the country to do this work - why a translator who has a specialist skill-set and is not just a "clerical assistant"?

It made me wonder how these agencies really perceive their suppliers.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:29
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Depends on the file Mar 4, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:


Anecdotally, I can easily transcribe 10 minutes of reasonable quality audio in an hour, so your rate would mean 150 a EUR/hr wage... That's obviously unrealistic for a job that requires a much lower skill level than translation.

[Edited at 2012-03-03 17:04 GMT]


Although I agree that 150.00 Euro/minute is quite unrealistic, I cannot whole-heartedly agree with your statement that transcriptions require a "much lower skill level than translations."

Last week I had to transcribe the original English wording of one sentence as part of an interview- which took me nearly 10 minutes. Why? Because the file had already been dubbed in German since the orignal program was for a German audience. But the client needed the exact English words for dubbing the entire file in English. Not owning a program (yet) to filter several sound tacks, transcibing this one sentence turned into hard labor. Separating and understanding two different languages, German overlapping English, required not only a higher skill level than "just" translating a sentence, but also a maximum of concentration and listening skills.icon_smile.gif


 

Alison Sparks (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:29
French to English
+ ...
I agree with Lucy Mar 4, 2012

Any competent audio-typist should be able to do a straightforward job. Maybe that's the problem. Perhaps they already know that the audio is going to be very difficult to decipher.

I'd follow up on neilmac's suggestion and ask for a sample.


 

Federica Pojaga
Local time: 20:29
English to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
disparate opinions/rates Mar 4, 2012

LucyPatterson wrote:

An agency kept asking me recently if I would do some same-language transcription work.

I turned it down because of the low rate (I could be earning far more by using this time for translations) but also because I find transcription work utterly soul-destroying. It might be bearable if it were paid at EUR40 per audio minute, but as we all know that is far from the truth.

What really puzzled me was: why are they asking translation professionals to do a job like this?? They could get any native speaker in the country to do this work - why a translator who has a specialist skill-set and is not just a "clerical assistant"?

It made me wonder how these agencies really perceive their suppliers.


thank you everyone, I was not expecting so many replies so quickly.... Interestingly I am receiving emails from quite a few other translators who were on the list of this company's potential 'transcribers' and who are also asking for more info both on the company and on transcription.... Incidentally the rate I've been offered is GBP0.90/audio minute for recordings of 3 hours which, in the words of the company, should not take longer than 8 hours to transcribe....
This actually makes me wonder about the quality of said audio files, as pointed out by some of you: given that a translator presumably types at a fair speed I would assume that this could only mean that the audio files are not easy to understand or of poor quality. Also, as pointed out by one of the other translators who contacted me, why did they contact professional translators for this job? And there was no mention of the kind of context/use.... I am beginning to think that, as suggested by Lucy, I could employ my time more usefully if I translated, which is my job, particularly considering that this company is asking me to complete a lengthy test AND study their transcription guide.....


 

FarkasAndras
Local time: 21:29
English to Hungarian
+ ...
transcription Mar 4, 2012

Thayenga wrote:

FarkasAndras wrote:


Anecdotally, I can easily transcribe 10 minutes of reasonable quality audio in an hour, so your rate would mean 150 a EUR/hr wage... That's obviously unrealistic for a job that requires a much lower skill level than translation.


Although I agree that 150.00 Euro/minute is quite unrealistic, I cannot whole-heartedly agree with your statement that transcriptions require a "much lower skill level than translations."

Last week I had to transcribe the original English wording of one sentence as part of an interview- which took me nearly 10 minutes. Why? Because the file had already been dubbed in German since the orignal program was for a German audience. But the client needed the exact English words for dubbing the entire file in English. Not owning a program (yet) to filter several sound tacks, transcibing this one sentence turned into hard labor. Separating and understanding two different languages, German overlapping English, required not only a higher skill level than "just" translating a sentence, but also a maximum of concentration and listening skills.icon_smile.gif


Transcription requires a much lower skill level than translation. You need to understand what is said on the tape and type it up, and perhaps add some metadata (identify the speaker, add "laughs"/"cuts off other speaker" etc.). Overall, it's a clerical job.
There may be instances when a transcription job is tricky, but the same can be said about translation - multiplied by a factor of ten.


 

Ledja  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:29
Member (2008)
English to Albanian
+ ...
Not worth it, Federica Mar 4, 2012

Federica Pojaga wrote:

Incidentally the rate I've been offered is GBP0.90/audio minute for recordings of 3 hours which, in the words of the company, should not take longer than 8 hours to transcribe....
This actually makes me wonder about the quality of said audio files,


Even at its best audio quality, a 3 hour recording may be impossible to complete in 8 hours - unless spoken words occur here and there and all you have to do is sit, listen and wait to hit the keyboard once in a while... or once in 3 hours as the situation has it.

If the audio recording is an interview, then you can be sure that there will be a great deal of typing to get on with, therefore a lot of hitting the pause button and quite some rewinding. If the quality of audio, on the other hand, is appalling, then brace yourself for some late and end-of-your-tether nights, where you swear to yourself you never will agree to a project like this again and why oh why did you not say 'no' to begin with (as happened to me on a 3 hour transcription which took 12 days!!!icon_smile.gif ).

One very strong reason I would not touch this project with a barge pole is the rate of £0.90 per audio minute. Absolutely unacceptable! You need to be negotiating your rates at something in the range of £3.00 - £4.00 per minute for the job to be worth your time and effort. But if you can strike a higher deal, then that'd be great.

Best regards,
Ledja

[Edited at 2012-03-04 13:40 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 16:29
English to Portuguese
+ ...
That's the entire issue Mar 4, 2012

LucyPatterson wrote:

It might be bearable if it were paid at EUR40 per audio minute, but as we all know that is far from the truth.

What really puzzled me was: why are they asking translation professionals to do a job like this?? They could get any native speaker in the country to do this work - why a translator who has a specialist skill-set and is not just a "clerical assistant"?

It made me wonder how these agencies really perceive their suppliers.



You can certainly use a F-1 pilot to drive a taxicab, yet it should much more expensive than having a regular cabbie doing it, i.e. to have someone trained and skilled to drive a car at 200 mph doing it in the 35-55- mph range.

I charge the same rate per minute for transcription as I do for translation. It's like flipping two virtual language switches in my brain, one labeled IN, the other labeled OUT. If they are both set to the same language, it will supposedly take me the same time to do it as it would otherwise. Were it not so, I shouldn't be translating.

Last week a colleague called me, and during the conversation he was quite puzzled at the fact that I charge the same rates in my pair, irrespective of direction. I told him that this was a decision I made decades ago, because if a change in direction between my working languages should imply a change in cost, I shouldn't be doing it, at least the most expensive one. The very same concept led me to relinquish from ever working into/from three other languages that I speak, in which my somewhat limited knowledge would lead me into charging higher rates to translate into them, as compared to translating from them.


Bjorn Brondsted
 

Alexander Onishko  Identity Verified
Member (2007)
Russian to English
+ ...
Ironically Mar 5, 2012

FarkasAndras wrote:

Companies that specialize in this line of work charge in the 1-3 euro/minute range depending on what the tape is like, so the fee you cited there is at least 5-10 times the going rate for this type of service.

http://www.transcriptionsservice.com/estimate.php
http://www.franklin-square.com/transcription_per_line.htm
http://www.accentance.com/transcriptrates.html
http://www.productiontranscripts.com/transcripts/services/one-on-one-interview-transcription.htm
etc.



Ironically, I am inclined to think that these are they who are the "prospective customers"!!!

One of such companies that offer transcribing at the price of one Euro per minute has approached the topic starter in an attempt to outsource the service for 0.5 Euro.

See also

http://www.proz.com/forum/money_matters/219550-transcription_rate_offered_feedback_needed.html

(!!!)


 
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