Transcription and translation: How is it done and how to charge?
Thread poster:
Local time: 15:19
English to Hebrew
Dec 3, 2013

A couple of our clients have approached us regarding transcription/translation services and we are looking to expand our services to include translation. Our clientele is mostly market research companies. A lot of the companies are medical.

What is the common practice for transcription/translation? Is it done in 2 stages i.e. First the audio is transcribed in the foreign language and then the file is translated, or is it done in one stage - Translating directly from the audio files?

If it is translated directly, what is a good source to find such services? When I search through this Database I don't see a lot of translators with experience in our field of expertise.

How is this service charged? Our policy has always been to let the client know the cost upfront for this project? Is this possible, considering that you don’t know how many words will be transcribed from the audio?

Alternatively, if you do have experience in this field of expertise please let us know and we will add you to our database.

Thanks in advance for any help/information you can provide.

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Ileana Fernandez Oakes  Identity Verified
United States
English to Spanish
+ ...
Transcription/translation Dec 3, 2013


Most of the time the transcription service is paid per audio minute. The process can be done in both ways depending on time, staff and resources available:
1. Transcription of the foreign language first, and then translation of the transcript to the target language. In this way you can control more charging for services.
2. Or Translating the audio file into a transcript directly to the target language. This could be more expensive because not everybody does this are rates are higher.

I provide Spanish-English-Spanish transcription.

Good luck

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Tahira Rafiq  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:19
English to Urdu
+ ...
trascription rates Dec 3, 2013

Client provided me with temporary subscription of Inkscribe software, in which time code is inserted while transcribing the audio file.
Rate is charged/ min of audio. I am native in Urdu & Panjabi.

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Srini Venkataraman
United States
Local time: 07:19
Member (2012)
Tamil to English
+ ...
both ways Dec 3, 2013

I do in Tamil , Telugu and Hindi, with or without time codes
1. transcription in the same language (monolingual)on per minute basis, then translation on per word basis.
2. Directly translate from the audio, on per audio minute basis.
The 2nd method is difficult, as people start speaking as if they have to catch a train/plane, that is upto 150 words/minute. This means you may have to replay again and again.
Personally I prefer No. 1 as I can verify my translation if needed, context etc, but would love to do (2) as the working is much faster.
Of late the agencies have been sending me, not a whole file but multiple selected bits. In this case, the transcription will be like google translate work, as the continuity/context is lost!!!.

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Victoria Britten  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:19
Member (2012)
French to English
+ ...
Translation direct Dec 3, 2013

Ileana Mattison wrote:

2. Or Translating the audio file into a transcript directly to the target language. This could be more expensive because not everybody does this are rates are higher.

Good luck

I don't (or rarely do) straight English or French transcription, for which you really need to be a very hot typist and/or have equimpent/software to help if it's to be worth it financially. However, I find that with transcription straight into English from French the thinking and typing time align. The company I do occasional work for pays by the minute: about 30-40 percent more peanuts for transcribing/translating than for straight transcription.

I'll be happy to be added to your books for French-English

[Edited at 2013-12-03 16:33 GMT]

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