What is an Audio Minute?

Jun 23, 2010 | Transcription | 0 comments

Transcription services are charged in several different ways such as hourly, per word transcribed, per line transcribed, per page transcribed, and per audio minute or per audio hour.

So what is an audio minute or hour?

1 Audio Minute = 60 seconds of audio/video recording

1 Audio Hour = 60 minutes of audio/video recording

Paying by audio minute or audio hour offers the most transparency because no matter how long it takes to transcribe a recording, you would pay by length of the recording and not the hours worked or words/lines/pages transcribed.

That said, there rate per audio minute can vary depending on several factors such as audio quality, accents, subject, no. of speakers etc.

Let’s take a look at some of the key factors that affect transcription rates:

Audio Quality

Professionally recorded high quality  audio is the easiest to transcribe and therefore costs the least.

Audio with background noise or recording issues is difficult to understand and may require several rounds of proofreading to ensure accuracy; such audio therefore costs more.

Tip: For those who record regularly, it may be a good idea to invest in a DVR or some other form of recording equipment. This will help generate high quality audio that will bring down transcription costs.


Recordings with speakers that have strong accents require more time and very careful listening to transcribe them accurately. For this reason, accented audio can costs considerably more depending on the accents involved.

Tip: When recording with speakers who have heavy accents, it helps to lay down some ground rules to ensure that the recording is clearly understandable both for listeners as well as transcribers.

Subject of the Recording

Recordings on technical subjects like software, finance, real estate or healthcare would likely have terms and phrases that are not commonly known. These terms need to be researched to ensure correct spelling and context. For this reason, recordings on technical subjects take longer to transcribe and cost more.

Tip: To improve the accuracy of transcripts on technical subjects, it is advisable to provide a list of commonly used terms to the transcription company. See what you should provide your transcription service to get the best results.

Number of Speakers

A single speaker talking at a steady rate of speech is easy to understand and transcribe. However, if a recording involves multiple speakers talking simultaneously (at a dinner meeting for example), it becomes difficult to catch all that is being said. Identifying each speaker by name can also become a challenge in such cases. Multi-speaker audio therefore costs more to get transcribed.

Tip: When planning to record a multi-speaker audio, spend some time choosing a good microphone and DVR. Also instruct the participants to speak one at a time and mention their names before speaking.

See IndianScribes Transcription Rates

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