Thinking about increasing transcription rate
Thread poster: Gregory Lassale

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
English to French
Dec 3

I currently charge $5/audio minute, but transcribing is pretty time consuming and I'm not making all that much when it's all said and done. I was thinking about hiking up my fee to $7/audio minute and was wondering how that would stack up against what other people doing transcriptions are charging. Good enough? Go higher? too much?

Thanks for the input.

Cheers,

GL


 

Lincoln Hui  Identity Verified
Hong Kong
Local time: 07:05
Member
Chinese to English
+ ...
High Dec 3

It's very high. Transcription is not an especially rare skill and it's really more of a skilled menial labor.

If it takes you 10 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of audio ($30/hour at your rate), you really should look for other things to do.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:05
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
$7 per audio minute is still low Dec 3

If you are transcribing it from your source language to your target language, $7 per audio minute is still low.

Monolingual transcription is a different story, which would cost anywhere between $2 and $4 per audio minute.



[Edited at 2018-12-03 19:26 GMT]


 

Darwin Escobar  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
Member (2016)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't increase your rate, increase your productivity. Dec 3

From my experience, a rate any higher than that might scare away potential clients. Instead, see if there are other ways to increase your productivity so that you earn more money in less time, without having to change your rate. Riding on Lincoln's comment, I believe the average speed of someone doing a transcription task is 6 real time minutes for every 1 minute of audio (an hour of real work for 10 minutes of audio, more or less).

Just a few examples of ways to increase productivity, these aren't necessarily methods I employ either, but I know they work for other people (forgive me if these are methods you already utilized).

1. Some people claim diction programs like Dragon allow them to finish transcriptions a little bit faster because they can speak translations faster than they can type them.
2. Others combine programs like ExpressScribe with the use of a USB foot pedal accessory. This way you can rewind, pause/play and fast forward using your foot while your hands concentrate on the typing. This saves you the time and frustration of constantly switching windows back and forth between your audio player and your Word document and makes the transcription flow a little smoother, with less interruptions.
3. With or without a USB foot pedal, you can also use ExpressScribe and other programs to create hotkeys from your keyboard for the same functions others might use the USB foot pedal for. This is the method that I chose, I found it faster to just focus on having all of my controls on just the keyboard, for both audio control and typing the transcription itself.


Zuzana Greksakova
 

Gregory Lassale  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 17:05
English to French
TOPIC STARTER
? Dec 4

jyuan_us wrote:

If you are transcribing it from your source language to your target language, $7 per audio minute is still low.



[Edited at 2018-12-03 19:26 GMT]


What would you say a more reasonable rate would be?


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:05
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
1 audio minute may contain more than 100 words Dec 4

Gregory Lassale wrote:

jyuan_us wrote:

If you are transcribing it from your source language to your target language, $7 per audio minute is still low.



[Edited at 2018-12-03 19:26 GMT]


What would you say a more reasonable rate would be?


You use your regular per word translation rate X 100, plus $3 to compensate your time in listening to the tape. That is how you charge per audio minute.


Anna Augustin
Pamela Cruz
 

Barbara Carrara  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 00:05
Member (2008)
English to Italian
+ ...
Please don't do that Dec 5

jyuan_us wrote:

If you are transcribing it from your source language to your target language, $7 per audio minute is still low.

Monolingual transcription is a different story, which would cost anywhere between $2 and $4 per audio minute.


By quoting like you do, you just encourage agencies to take advantage of you.

Transcription and translation are two different jobs and must be treated – and quoted – separately and on a per-job basis.

So, I would strongly advise you to refrain from offering these as a 'joint' service, as you would only do yourself a disservice.


Sheila Wilson
Gloria Teixeira
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 23:05
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Two jobs, each taking your time and therefore costing money Dec 5

Barbara Carrara wrote:
Transcription and translation are two different jobs and must be treated – and quoted – separately and on a per-job basis.

Monolingual transcription is what is known as audio-typing in the monolingual secretarial world. Text comes in your ears and flows out through your fingers, with very little in the way of interpretation other than punctuation. So it's a fairly low-paid job -- when it's done by an audio-typist. If the client specifically asks for it to be done by a translator then they must be prepared to pay more. They may feel it's worthwhile to have a translator work on it if there are non-native speakers (common in English). Or they may need the transcript in a second language and feel it's easier to get one person to handle the whole job.

If the audio-language transcript is to be delivered to the client, it must read perfectly. After transcribing the audio and re-listening to check your work, you'll need to spend time getting the punctuation correct: sentences and paragraphs must be logical. Also, factor in time for time-stamps if the client wants them. If the audio-language transcript is not being delivered, you can save a few minutes as you don't need to check for spellings and typos or worry overmuch about punctuation. The transcription would normally be charged by audio minute. It can take anything from 4-10 minutes to transcribe one audio minute, IME. You need to listen to random samples throughout the audio before giving a firm price. If a road drill sets up outside, or a mic starts to play up, you're going to need to charge more!

Then the translation needs to be quoted for separately, in the normal way. You could maybe charge slightly less than normal, because you'll have become familiar with the source text during the previous step, but basically it's a translation like any other.


 

jyuan_us  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 18:05
Member (2005)
English to Chinese
+ ...
Not neccessarily so Dec 5

Barbara Carrara wrote:

jyuan_us wrote:

If you are transcribing it from your source language to your target language, $7 per audio minute is still low.

Monolingual transcription is a different story, which would cost anywhere between $2 and $4 per audio minute.


By quoting like you do, you just encourage agencies to take advantage of you.

Transcription and translation are two different jobs and must be treated – and quoted – separately and on a per-job basis.

So, I would strongly advise you to refrain from offering these as a 'joint' service, as you would only do yourself a disservice.


Some clients would prefer to having a linguist translating directly from the audio tape. With the way how I calculate the fees for both transcribing the script and translating it, I would get a reasonable compensation for each of these steps. And I would get a higher volume of work than if the audio tape were transcribed by someone else. The client is happier because they don't have to have a transcription specialist involved, which is in their favor in terms of project costs and time management.

I don't see why not.

[Edited at 2018-12-05 17:46 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-12-05 17:47 GMT]

[Edited at 2018-12-06 01:58 GMT]


 


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