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Automatic audio transcription service provider brings you useful tips, trends and inspiring ideas on how to transcribe recordings easier.
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How Long Does It Take To Transcribe An Hour Of Audio?

How to transcribe
how long does transcription take

The majority of people use computers on a daily basis. Though, just because you spend hours in front of the computer screen does not necessarily mean that you can type at lightning speed and with a high degree of accuracy. 

If you are considering a career as a transcriptionist, the ability to type fast, without compromising the accuracy, is fundamental.

You will not be as competitive as your fellow transcribers if you take longer than the industry standard to convert an hour of audio to text

At the end of the day, if you can transcribe faster, you can also make more money by taking on multiple transcriptions.

What Is The Average Transcription Speed?

To cut a long answer short, according to the industry standard, it takes more or less four hours of manual work to transcribe just one hour of audio.

In other words, to transcribe 15 minutes of audio, you will need about an hour (even if you work with foot pedals that help to free your hands so that you can type faster).

foot pedal for transcription process
Foot Pedal Example

Though, if the audio recording is not that clear and not loud enough, it can take quite significantly longer.

As a matter of fact, it can even take double as long! So, spending an entire standard working day just to manually transcribe one hour of audio is not unheard of. 

transcription speed standart
The Average Transcription Speed

That being said, the reverse is also true. If the audio file has been recorded professionally and the speakers speak very slowly and clearly, it can take faster than four hours.

A 60-minute high-quality audio file could possibly be transcribed in three hours or even two! This works out to about one hour needed to transcribe 20-30 minutes for an hour of audio by a transcriber.

Taking all of this into consideration, a transcriptionist will then need anything between two hours to about nine hours to transcribe an hour of audio.

As transcribing an audio file can be quite a time-consuming task, it will make a lot more sense to opt for the automatic approach as opposed to completing it manually. 

Fortunately, there is a couple of transcription software programs available that can cut the work (and time spent) in half. A software solution like Audext powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and transcribes the audio recording into text automatically

Whereas transcribing it manually would take a couple of hours, Audext can complete it in just a couple of minutes. The process is really simple.

1. Login to your account (and get free minutes of transcription for trial)

2. Upload your audio recording in one of these formats.

Upload Your File
Upload Your File

You do not even need to add the names of the speakers after the transcription, as Audext offers you to complete that beforehand and add automatically to your transcription.

3. Enter the names of the speakers

Enter Speakers` Name
Enter Speakers` Name

The only thing that is left for a transcriptionist to do when using Audext is to format and edit the transcript that it has been generated. It can be easily done with the built-in editing feature that saves changes automatically. 

4. Edit the transcript and download it in TXT or DOC format.

Audext transcript download
Audext Download Process

What Can Affect The Average Transcription Speed?

As mentioned earlier, the quality of the audio recording plays a major role in the transcription speed.

  • If there is any background noise, it can distract the transcriptionist from that what needs to be transcribed – the actual dialogue. 
  • The number of speakers can also affect the average transcription speed. If there are more speakers, it becomes more challenging as you first need to identify which speaker is currently speaking

That is why if you know that there are going to be many speakers, it is good practice to ask the speakers just to say their name out loud before they speak further.

Also, if there are more speakers, there is also a greater risk that they will talk over each other which makes the job of the transcription a lot harder

  • While still on the topic of speakers, accents can also affect transcription time. If one of the speakers has a very strong regional accent, it will take longer to transcribe.

And, if they speak rather quickly too, the transcription task at hand has become even more difficult. Not only do the speakers affect the transcription time, but also the actual content.

  • If the interview uses a lot of specialized terms and proper nouns, like the names of people and places, it will call for more research which translates to more time. 
  • Lastly, the type of transcription required also plays a role. Specific instructions like true verbatim (when everything, in other words, every laugh, sneeze, or pause, needs to be transcribed exactly) and timestamps call for more work which also means more time. 

In short, if there are more of these factors that the transcriber needs to consider, the transcription will take longer to complete. 

Freelance Transcription Rates Per Audio Minute

Depending on the quality of the recording, the topic, and the number of speakers, it can cost anything between $2-10 per minute of audio recording.

In other words, transcribers usually do not charge per hour worked, but instead per audio hour that they need to transcribe.

The majority of professional transcribers will charge less for something such as a podcast. That kind of content usually does not have as many speakers and is recorded with professional recording equipment.

Meanwhile, transcribers will charge more for a conference call where speakers tend to interrupt the other participants and often do not finish their sentences before starting a new train of thought.

So How To Increase Your Transcription Speed?

When it comes to transcription, an hour of audio does not translate to an hour of work as there are a couple of factors that will affect how much time is needed to convert an hour of audio to text

Factors like the typing speed in words per minute, the transcriptionist’s experience, specific requirements for the transcription, and the quality of the audio file can all play a significant role. 

Though, even when you have a high-quality 60-minute audio recording with only two speakers discussing an easy-to-understand topic without industry-specific terms, it can take about two to four hours to complete. 

Therefore, to complete transcription faster you can make use of automation tools and software, like Audext, that can complete the bulk of the work for you automatically in just a couple of minutes.

Katrin Deres 09/27/2019
Katrin runs her own podcast show and is interested in the best ways to transcribe audio recordings into text.
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