The definition of a human audio transcriber

Professional transcribing software that is often mentioned by transcriptionist’s, or transcription services, is not speech recognition software (SRS) or AI transcription that transcribes the speech for you. Incorrect when you do not understand the process of audio transcription. Although artificial intelligence is a popular way to turn taped speech into text, it is often overlooked when necessitating speech-to-text services you still have to address the issue of accuracy. Someone has to proofread the automatic transcription transcript. At Virtuadmin a professional transcriber for over 20 years, I do not see how this is even possible to be cost-efficient for business. Especially true for businesses using transcription services regularly.

What is transcription software?

A Professional transcriber’s software: what you need to know. When submitting a proposal for a freelance transcription project, as an example, the speech-to-text program assists the audio typist speed-up the manual transcription process. It does not automatically transcribe the audio. The transcriber replays the audio and types what he/she hears direct into a word processing document.

A Transcriber’s foot pedal

During the transcription process, should the audio typist miss a word, they can stop and replay using a foot pedal. (People speak at varying rates, but faster than the quickest of transcribers). Their foot controls the playback of the audio, they do not need to take their hands off the keyboard. Or, take their hands off their ‘home keys’ on the keyboard to look for the ‘F’ function keys.

An alternative that many free transcription software programs have, as not usually compatible. For foot pedals to operate by the transcriber’s foot, they need the appropriate software for the foot pedal to operate the playback of audio. Many other functions that are available in professional software versions. Virtuadmin professional transcription utilises software to manually transcribe digitally recorded speech into a digital or electronic text document, called a transcript.

The software plays digital audio files at a suitable speed for the transcriber. The transcription software used by Virtuadmin is Express Scribe Professional and have been using this program successfully with no issues for over 5 years, since freelancing digital transcription and typing services.

How long should it take to transcribe 15 minutes of audio?

Trying to determine how long audio will take to transcribe includes several factors. When looking for a transcription service, these elements you should consider.

  • Audio quality recording
  • Number of participants
  • Is there any background noise?
  • Speakers clarity (are they speaking over one another?)
  • Do the speakers have an accent?
  • Straightforward or complex terminology that requires research during the transcription process
  • Special additional requirements such as time-stamps, strict or intelligent verbatim transcription

The level of experience of the transcriber. Their typing speed, do they use professional software for replaying the audio or video? Are they familiar with the subject? These aside, they’re worth remembering. Especially when outsourcing to a transcription service, or freelance transcriber.

Related post: See our infographic for more tips on hiring a freelance transcriber “7 Tips to Outsource to The Best Freelance Transcriptionist”

Virtuadmin transcribes at a regular and consistent touch typing speed of 70-80 words per minute. It would take 1 hour to transcribe 15 minutes of clear recorded audio.


Transcription Industry Standard

The industry standard for 15 minutes of recorded dialogue would take 1 hour of transcription time. This is with no complications in the quality of the audio file, or speakers with accents, for example. Transcription is undertaken with a foot pedal and professional transcribing software. This helps the audio typist play the audio and type. Otherwise, the transcription process would be a lot slower and tedious without these. As an alternative, when a foot pedal is not available, or the computer program is not compatible with one is to use the ‘F’ function keys. But, the transcriber would have to take their hands from the keyboard to stop, rewind five seconds and play the audio again. That’s why it can be time-consuming without a foot pedal.

Most transcription service providers charge by the audio minute in their native currency. Virtuadmin provides transcription, typing and other administrative services from the UK. The rate for audio transcription is in Great British Pounds (GBP) and starts at 70p per audio minute. This is for a clear audio recording with up to two speakers and no background noise. The average price per audio minute in the UK is between 0.90p and £1.50 per audio minute.

It can and does with most other providers of transcription services. There are transcription vendors that determine their rates by turnaround time. In short, the more time they have for the transcription process, the more cost-effective it is for you.

How quick you want or need your audio conversion turned around will be something to consider. This is of course if you don’t use our services here at Virtuadmin. The different aspects to the audio recording listed above will determine the rate. We always ask if possible for a sample of the audio before committing to transcribing the file. This is so we can transcribe it for your preferred delivery time without delay or disappointment. Virtuadmin does not like to miss deadlines.

All transcription undertaken is with attention to detail with every transcript produced. If a word or some brief part of the audio is difficult to comprehend, we will replay it several times, at a slower speed when necessary. We want to always try and catch what the person is saying. We don’t like ‘inaudible’ parts in transcripts and endeavour at all times not to use them.

How to find a
transcription service

When converting recorded speech into text, a foot pedal and software supports this. However, the equipment and software come at a cost. By outsourcing your audio for transcription to an experienced transcription service, or freelance transcriber, means they are already (hopefully!) equipped. This saves you time and money not having to buy and install the necessary software. Or the foot pedal for speed and accuracy.

  1. Google ‘transcription service’ and follow it from there.  The search results will display lots of transcription services. What is it specifically that you are requiring for your transcription?  Will you need it as a regular service or a one-off project? It is a specialist topic or business area?
  2. Search for reputable freelance websites in your home country and globally. Virtuadmin is successful with freelance transcription services on two British freelance platforms. People Per Hour and Fivesquid.  Currency and time-zones may, or may not be a benefit when looking to hire and pay from outside of your home country.
  3. Word of mouth.  Ask colleagues and acquaintances if they use a transcription service or know of one.  It is always worth exploring and more reliable as you are using a service that comes recommended.
  4. Search for transcription services on networking platforms such as LinkedIn. Or, social media channels like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and the many others on the web.

It can also be dependent on the type of transcription service you are looking for. Specialist industries, medical or legal, construction or business, for example. A quick turnaround time and cost is always the first thought I’m sure, but analyse your audio as listed above. Can you hear what the people partaking in the recording of the audio are saying? Is there any static on the recording or background noise? Do any of the participants speak with an accent?

Virtuadmin has extensive experience in providing freelance transcription services. Having transcribed many hours of audio over the last 20 years, and heard many accents. The maximum number of speakers in one audio recording that we have transcribed is five.

We aim to be flexible in our approach when completing transcriptions for clients. Experienced at converting the spoken word into text. We’ll capture your important information, for accurate decision-making and future reference. Focused on delivering you, our important client, an accurate transcript.