What is Transcribing: The role of a transcriber

What is Transcribing

What does transcribing exactly mean? Transcribing is a process wherein a transcriber listening to a recording of a meeting, interview or a court proceeding ,types the contents up into a document. The typed document is then returned to the client, giving them a written record of what’s on the recording.

Meetings are conducted in a business setting to give a full report about the achievements and overview for the following year. Business meetings are recorded in mp3 or m4a format. Interviews are conducted by journalists and research scholars in order to collect samples and establish the facts. Court proceedings are audio recorded so that it can be transcribed accurately.

Transcribing process may look very simple, but in reality it is not so. Most of these audio recordings are made with the intention of transcription from audio to text. Transcribing needs careful listening and excellent typing skill. Transcription from audio to text can be very time-consuming, even for the professional typists. There are times you don’t catch what was said the first time. In this case the transcriber needs to go back just a few seconds to catch it again. Transcribing is very difficult without professional transcribing software and a foot pedal.

For this simple reason the business people, journalist, research scholar or an advocate looks for professional transcriber or a professional transcription service provider. A transcriber or a transcription service provider saves the time, budget of their clients and offers accurate transcript in a document.

The Role of a Transcriber

A transcriber is a professional who transcribe from audio to text for easy access and record keeping. Or to put it in a nutshell a professional transcriber is a typist who types-out all that is spoken in an audio recording. Earlier they were called as secretaries who wrote things down in shorthand. Due to the advancement of the technology the art of note-taking is no-longer used.

Now you can record your meetings in a digital audio recorder, your interviews in your laptop or smartphone and share it to your professional transcriber or transcription service provider quickly through email or upload via cloud sharing application like Transferbigfiles, HighTail, DropBox or Google Drive. When you send your audio or video files to us, you can directly upload it to our website. These audio files will be uploaded to transcribing software player and the content will be typed out to become a legible written format.

Transcription from Audio to Text Formats

Transcription from audio to text formats comes in two different styles depending on the client’s requirement. They are full verbatim transcription and intelligent verbatim transcription.

Transcription from audio to text formats differs based on the industry or personal requirements. Legal transcription mostly requires full verbatim transcription. Full verbatim transcription is typing out absolutely everything that is said in the audio including the grammatical errors, filler words, laughs, cries, and false starts.

Intelligent verbatim transcription is required in academic circumstances like, lecture, seminar and research interviews. In intelligent verbatim transcription we transcribe everything that is recorded while leaving out the filler words (ums, uhs, you knows, etc.), stutters, false starts, repetitions, non-verbal communication, and ambient sounds.

How Much Time Does it Take to Transcribe an Hour of Audio?

Any researcher, journalist or a student who has few audio recordings for transcription think within themselves, “How much time does it take to Transcribe an hour of Audio?” The question may come to their mind due to the limitation of the budget or time constraint. Also professionals like journalists will want to learn to transcribe as this is going to be part of their life.

So, how long does it take to transcribe one hour of audio?

Transcribing one hour of audio requires four hours for a professional transcriber. Generally any transcriber who is trained takes four hours to transcribe one hour of clear audio with maximum of 3 speakers. However, a professional transcriptionist (the same transcriber will) require 5 to 6 hours for one hour of recorded meeting.

Now, you may wonder what is the difference between three speakers and meeting. It is not only the number of speakers, there are several other factors that affect the transcribing time. They are:

  • The quality of audio recording.
  • The rate of speech or the speed at which the people talk.
  • The number of people engaged in the audio.
  • Overlapping speech.
  • Background noise (recorded in a public place like market, stadium or phone interview etc.).
  • Regional accents of the speakers.
  • To research specialized terminology, names or places.

Transcribing audio is a fun job, as long as you have good ears to listen. A professional transcriber can get the work done accurately in a quick turnaround, so you can save both time and money.

Rates for Transcription Services

Transcription rates or rates for transcription services is a major concern for anyone before outsourcing the transcription project.

Rates for transcription services may vary based on the quality of audio, the number of speakers involved in the recording and the turnaround time.  As you know a transcriber will need to spend more time for a recording that has background noise or overlapping speech. There are various factors that affect the transcription rates.

They are:

  • Audio quality or clarity.
  • Accent of the speakers.
  • Number of speakers or participants in a recording.
  • Turnaround time.
  • Transcript style like verbatim or intelligent verbatim and time-code.

Usually transcription companies charge between $0.80 and $1.50 per recorded minute for transcription. For value added services like verbatim transcription and time-coded transcription there may be additional charge of $0.25 to $0.50 per recorded minute. Below are the rates for transcription services by various companies.

Service ProviderTranscription Rates per
Audio Minute
Verbal Ink$1.503-5 Business Days
NYC Transcription$1.503-5 Business Days
TranscriptionWing$1.295 Business Days
Transcript Divas$1.297 Business Days
GMR Transcription$1.253-4 Weeks
Voxtab$1.255-10 Business Days
Transcribe$1.005 Business Days
Transcribe Interview$0.803 Business Days
Transcription US$0.703 Business Days


A permanent written copy of audio files provides an invaluable resource.  Written copy allows meetings, events and interviews to be searched for key terms. Transcripts are required by many professionals like doctors, those in the legal field, radio programs, academicians and researchers.  Podcasters choose to publish transcripts of the content as the written word can be found by search engines. Therefore, it is wise to outsource your audio and video files to a professional transcribing company that will assure accurate transcript.

We as a professional transcription company listen to your audio recordings with carefully trained and experienced ears. We consider it an art to transcribe as we know it is more than just typing. We want to create a longtime relationship with all our clients by providing precise transcription.

9 thoughts on “What is Transcribing: The role of a transcriber”

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