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Manual VS Automatic: General Transcriptionist Salary All Over The World

Transcriptionist Salary

From the dawn of time, people have been trying to preserve and pass on information. Little has changed in that we still find the safest and most efficient way to relay information is in written form.

From the ancient scribes to modern-day transcriptionists, the concept hasn’t changed much, but the tools, oh the tools have grown in efficiency, precision, and diversity. The digital revolution has touched nearly all fields of work and communication, and speech to text transcription wasn’t left out.

What is transcription? To describe in simple terms, it’s the process of conversion of any type of speech, recorded or live, into text. 

Different from the times gone by where manual transcription was the only option, today technological progress has blessed us with digital automatic transcription. According to Statista, some of the industries using automated transcription the most are:

  • E-Learning;
  • Market research;
  • Advertising;
  • Education;
  • Medical;
  • Legal.

About 17% of people in Media and Entertainment use transcription services weekly and about 21% of those professionals polled from the IT and Internet industry, said they had to turn to transcription software quarterly.

Professions using transcription software

In the United States, the transcription market size was proposed to go over $21.5 billion in 2020. The medical transcription market, in general, was anticipated to go over $60 billion by then.

As per Technavio, the medical transcription market is poised to grow by USD 16.64 billion over 2020-2024. Based on these stats, one can imagine how many businesses and individuals use transcription services worldwide.

Despite the availability of the automatic option, however, some businesses and professionals still stick to manual transcription. So what is the difference between the two and what are the pros and cons of both automatic transcription and manual transcription?

Manual Transcription

This type of transcription usually requires a highly-trained human specialist to convert speech into a written transcript. These people possess unique skills of extracting the most important information, deciphering it, and laying it out in a concise text at a great speed.

One of the biggest advantages of using a manual transcriptionist would be their ability to self-edit and proofread. However there’s a growing shortage of highly-qualified transcriptionists due to the growing popularity of automatic transcription, so when even the general transcriptionist salary is up there with the decent ones, the transcription rates per hour for a good stenographer can be quite high. 

It’s also safe to assume (and that assumption would be correct) that even manual transcriptionists use automatic tools in their work to make the process faster. But it is the possibility to proofread and self-correct that gives them a headstart on fully automated transcription in this business.

Automatic Transcription

Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence are making leaps in advancing the art of digital transcription yearly, but it’s unlikely that even the best transcription software could replace human stenographers and transcriptionists in the near future.

There are, however, advantages to automatic transcription, it just really depends on what the priorities and the desired results are for the customer. 

Automated transcription is most definitely an option to save money. There is little to no manual labor involved, hence the pricing plan is lower. The amount of time required is also much lower in this case, so sometimes this is a good option for people who have a transcribing task and they want to do it themselves, but fast. The machine does the most time-consuming part, then you do your human proofreading and final editing.

Let’s Talk A Little More About Transcriptionists

What do transcriptionists do? These are people who listen to recorded or live speech and turn the audio into written text.

A transcriptionist works with many types of audio with different file formats – these can be legal, medical, or educational records; they can be as following:

  • Interviews;
  • Manuscripts;
  • Reports;
  • Dictations;
  • Script correspondence;
  • Speeches;
  • Teleconferences;
  • Telephone conversations.

The skills required are not that unique, but those need to be developed at a super-level, so transcriptionists are uncommon folk and are very sought-after.

How much do transcriptionists make then? They can make good money, too! Naturally, the transcription rates per hour vary around the world – from quite low in India and the Philippines, for example ($2-5 per hour) to rather high in the Western countries and Australia (between $20 and $45 per hour).

The rates will, of course, also depend on the language in question, the time frame given, and the level of the transcriptionist’s experience.

Lets take a look at transcriptionist salary in different countries.

CountryAverage Transcription Rates (per hour)

Factors affecting income

Just like other jobs, many factors can affect how much do transcribers make. We have compiled a list of the most crucial factors that must be taken into account when talking about transcriber salary.


The country of residence is the first factor that influences how much does a transcriptionist make. If you live in English native countries, there is a higher chance of getting a good income using the transcription. American transcriptionists are making 35 dollars an hour. In contrast to that, the Indian transcriptionist has a median salary of five dollars for an hour.


If you know advanced terms, you can get a high income using transcription. Medical transcription is one of the highest paying transcription jobs. Some medical transcribers are making thousands of dollars every week.

Personal stamina

If there is no limitation of the availability of work, the income is dependent on stamina. One person may transcribe an hour of audio recording every day. Other people may transcribe more than two hours. A person with the ability to work more can make two times the income.

So while, for those looking to become a transcriptionist, this data on transcriber salary is probably good news, for those looking to have their stuff transcribed, this may be a harsh realization and a push towards automatic transcription.

Why is automatic transcription not a bad idea at all?

First and foremost, the answer to that is “Time”. A machine can transcribe pretty much as it ‘listens’, while the average transcription speed is about 1 hour of transcription work per 15 minutes of recorded speech. This means an hour-long interview would take about 4 hours to transcribe for an average (!) transcriptionist.

Another advantage of automatic transcription comes from how much the transcriptionists make, of course. As you can see above, if you have something to transcribe, that 1 hour-long interview might cost you up to $180. Now imagine, some people’s professions and businesses accumulate a constant and steady flow of things to transcribe:

  • Journalists;
  • Students;
  • Lawyers;
  • Podcasters;
  • Filmmakers;
  • HR professionals;
  • Marketers.

This is where automatic transcription comes in. It can allow for all the things for the above-mentioned professionals to be transcribed at a fraction of the time and the cost required by the manual transcription. It won’t be a perfect transcript, but in many instances, the job does not require the perfect transcript, but rather the gist and a fast one.

What Tools To Use?

Today there are numerous transcription tools available on the interwebs. Some of the automated transcription software was developed and is offered by the experts at Audext.  The app converts speech to text online using advanced AI technology to help researchers, businesses, journalists and other professionals transcribe and systemize their audio research. The tool is extremely cost-effective and about 200 times faster than manual transcription.

Businesses create a lot of content today, and not even in the marketing sense of this word. A lot of things happen within companies, a lot of those things in turn, are related to audio and need to be recorded, then stored. All the customer calls that are recorded alone amount to hours of audio files that are challenging to store in audio format. Transcription is the solution here. And don’t forget, you can search for the transcriptions, too!

Then, there is also valuable data discussed during meetings, presentations, and conference calls. By opting to get these audio and video files transcribed, you can improve your security, your HR efficiency, and your company’s task distribution. 

Transcription with Audext will save your business a lot of money. Not only will it do the work times faster than a human transcriptionist, but it can also just free so much time from any employee who has anything to do with manual transcription, allowing them to invest that time into other tasks to benefit the company.

To draw the line here, automatic transcription, while not 100% precise, can help you do what you need to do, faster, cheaper, and free you of the burden of gigabytes and terabytes of audio recordings needing storage. So, if any of these issues have been a bane of your business, consider trying automatic transcription and Audext.

Katrin Deres 03/12/2021
Katrin runs her own podcast show, and interested in best ways to transcribe audio recordings into text.
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