Rates for transcription + translation
Thread poster: Lauren Higgins

Lauren Higgins
United States
Local time: 04:35
Chinese to English
Mar 17

One of the agencies to which I sent my resume replied saying they don't have a need for my translation combination, but they do have audio transcription work if I'm interested. I sent in my rates and it turns out that what they want is to send me audio in my B language that I would then transcribe directly into my A language. For me this would mean transcribing first and then translating. I doubt I could do it directly! This agency has a good rating on Blue Board and is ATA-certified, but they p... See more
One of the agencies to which I sent my resume replied saying they don't have a need for my translation combination, but they do have audio transcription work if I'm interested. I sent in my rates and it turns out that what they want is to send me audio in my B language that I would then transcribe directly into my A language. For me this would mean transcribing first and then translating. I doubt I could do it directly! This agency has a good rating on Blue Board and is ATA-certified, but they pay GBP 1 per minute of recorded audio. The sample they sent for me to do was nearly four minutes long and took me 50 minutes just to transcribe. I don't really have experience in transcription, and the audio contained some unfamiliar medical terms. Is this a ridiculously low rate, or am I just slow? (Perhaps both?) I'd really like to build up experience, but I'm hesitant to spend a lot of time on this if I'm not being compensated fairly.Collapse


 

Mikhail Kropotov  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:35
Member (2005)
English to Russian
+ ...
That's a low rate Mar 17

If it includes anything other than reading text off a page, it's a very low rate.

DZiW
Christophe Delaunay
 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
That's quite simply disgusting! Mar 17

Lauren Higgins wrote:
it turns out that what they want is to send me audio in my B language that I would then transcribe directly into my A language. For me this would mean transcribing first and then translating. I doubt I could do it directly!

Only if the content is very simple would it be sensible to do it in one go, and the client should accept that it's a "good enough" translation rather than a "best possible" one.

They pay GBP 1 per minute of recorded audio.

That's low for polished monolingual transcription. For transcription plus translation, they're having a laugh!

The sample they sent for me to do was nearly four minutes long and took me 50 minutes just to transcribe. I don't really have experience in transcription, and the audio contained some unfamiliar medical terms. Is this a ridiculously low rate, or am I just slow? (Perhaps both?)

I used to do English (monolingual) transcription and found it took anything from 4 to 10 times the audio time. The variation is enormous. So that's a little slow, IME, but not ridiculously so. Pro software and hardware (foot pedal) would speed things up a little.

But in the real world you'd then quote on top of that for the translation at your normal rate -- except that the word count wouldn't be available until the words were on paper, so it's normally best to charge per target word.

If the client doesn't need to see the transcript you can save a little time as its spelling and punctuation -- even the sentence and paragraph breaks -- don't need to be perfect.


 

Lauren Higgins
United States
Local time: 04:35
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
so I'm not crazy :D Mar 17

I agree that translation should be a separate charge on top of transcription. The sample came out to almost 900 characters, for which I would charge many times more than their quoted rate just for translation into English. Might need to look over the email again and make sure it's not a scammer posing as this agency.

Thanks for the input!


 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:35
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
Probably just a no-value-added broker Mar 18

Many of these brokers that just receive files from a client (often another translation agency) and send them to us simply don't understand what's involved. Their client has a very low budget for the job so they just accept that they're going to be paid peanuts and they pass about half of those peanuts on to us. They neither know nor care about the process involved. You can try to educate them (I tried a few times), you can refuse to have anything to do with them, or I suppose you could get a tas... See more
Many of these brokers that just receive files from a client (often another translation agency) and send them to us simply don't understand what's involved. Their client has a very low budget for the job so they just accept that they're going to be paid peanuts and they pass about half of those peanuts on to us. They neither know nor care about the process involved. You can try to educate them (I tried a few times), you can refuse to have anything to do with them, or I suppose you could get a taste for peanuts .

In my mind is an image of what they seem to think happens: We sit down at the computer with a headset on, press "play", and simply type until the audio runs out. Then we send the text to them -- job finished. Magically, all the spoken words should be there in black and white, but in a different language. In a way, it's a massive compliment. They must think we're superhuman .
Collapse


Sabrina Bruna
Yurim Jung
 

Daniel Williams  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:35
Member (2018)
German to English
+ ...
Unless transcription is paid by hour of your time, it is rarely worth doing Mar 18

No, you're absolutely not crazy! I have extensive experience as a transcriber, and I can even work directly from my B languages into English without transcribing the original first. Despite this, I find I really struggle to make transcription economically viable, because the length of the source recording is not a reliable indicator of how long the transcription will take. A verbatim legal transcript to be used in court will always take much longer than a 'media-ready' voiceover, for example. Pa... See more
No, you're absolutely not crazy! I have extensive experience as a transcriber, and I can even work directly from my B languages into English without transcribing the original first. Despite this, I find I really struggle to make transcription economically viable, because the length of the source recording is not a reliable indicator of how long the transcription will take. A verbatim legal transcript to be used in court will always take much longer than a 'media-ready' voiceover, for example. Payment by minute of source audio doesn't take of factors like these, nor of the huge responsibility that comes with producing a transcript to be used in evidence. This is why I generally insist on charging transcription on the basis of how long it takes me to do the job properly (after all, that's how professionals in most other lines of work tend to operate). Adopting this policy has cost me clients but it has actually increased my income, because much as I enjoy transcription, I find I can make more money doing translation instead.

[Edited at 2020-03-18 12:15 GMT]

[Edited at 2020-03-18 19:27 GMT]
Collapse


 

Lauren Higgins
United States
Local time: 04:35
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Compliment accepted Mar 18

In a way, it's a massive compliment. They must think we're superhuman .


I'd like to think of myself that way! Just wish I knew if Wonder Woman ever got paid


 

Lauren Higgins
United States
Local time: 04:35
Chinese to English
TOPIC STARTER
Good idea Mar 18

This is why I generally insist on charging transcription on the basis of how long it takes me to do the job properly (after all, that how professionals in most other lines of work tend to operate). Adopting this policy has cost me clients but it has actually increased my income, because much as I enjoy transcription, I find I can make more money doing translation instead.


This makes a lot of sense. I think I will send them the sample I transcribed and be upfront about how much it's worth. If they're not willing to adjust their rates, then it's on to the next thing.


 


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Rates for transcription + translation

Advanced search







SDL Trados Business Manager Lite
Create customer quotes and invoices from within SDL Trados Studio

SDL Trados Business Manager Lite helps to simplify and speed up some of the daily tasks, such as invoicing and reporting, associated with running your freelance translation business.

More info »
CafeTran Espresso
You've never met a CAT tool this clever!

Translate faster & easier, using a sophisticated CAT tool built by a translator / developer. Accept jobs from clients who use SDL Trados, MemoQ, Wordfast & major CAT tools. Download and start using CafeTran Espresso -- for free

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search