Time it takes to transcribe an hour


New Member
Hi Everyone

I've just started again in the Transcription world. In my day we called it Audio Typing! My question is this. I am doing about 12 minutes audio to 1 hour typing. If I can't understand something I tend to go over it a few times before marking it unclear and moving on. Am I being particularly slow? I can copy type at around 80 - 85 wpm but that will get faster as I get more work. What is the average time that you guys take? I would appreciate any comments as it will help in planning future work.

Many thanks, Jo
Actually, Jo, that sounds about right. I figure 4 to 5 times the length of the audio to transcribe it. If the speaker has an accent, I figure about 10 minutes of audio equals 60 minutes of transcription. Hope that helps...


New Member
Thanks Margie, that's a great help. I was beginning to think that I was very slow! I've managed to get it up to 14 mins audio to 1 hours typing now so I'm getting quicker. That was with reasonably clear audio. I'll keep going..... Thanks again, Jo


New Member
Hi Jo

I did some audio transcription just over a week ago. I don't do it that often. It was taking me 6 times as long as the audio to transcribe it roughly. Then I had to go over it and check it all.

Oddly enough, while typing this post I got a call from them to say that I worked out significantly cheaper than the other lady who was doing the transcription (as I charge per audio minute and not on the time it takes) and that they want to use me in future. I definitely need to increase my speeds now :yikes:

Best regards


I do a fair amount of transcription. When I first did the research to see how long it would take me, I heard one hour of audio takes 4 hours to transcribe. With the help of a foot pedal, and as I do this more and more, I have gotten a bit faster. It really depends on who is talking and how many people are talking. And if it is a recording of a phone conversation, it can get even harder as quality goes down.

Good Luck, ladies!

There are several factors involved:
Number of speakers
Clarity of the audio
The equipment you use - if you have a foot pedal, good headphones, etc
The template/format
Also keep in mind your responsibility for editing/proofreading!

As a general rule I figure 1 hour of audio = 5 hours of transcribing.

The Perfect Word

Community Leader
According to the Industry Production Standards (which I use to calculate my time) the average transcriptionist takes 3.0 to 8.0 times the length of the recording depending on a bunch of factors they have laid out in a chart (clarity, number of speakers, accents, if grammar correction is needed, do you have to stop and research stuff, is it extremely technical, etc.) For the work that I do, my actual time is between 3 to 4 times the length of the recording, most of the time around 3.5. In other words, a 10-minute recording normally takes me about 35 minutes; an hour recording about 3.5 hours.


New Member
It helps a lot Karen, thank you. I'm getting quicker and think that I'm about average now. Thanks again everyone for your advice and comments.


You're doing fine! and its good you really take time to backtrack. A foot pedal does help a lot! Some clients lay the ground rules and adding those rules (noting background noises, voice clairty, accents, etc) also cuts time into your transcription work. You're not doing so bad, pretty standard speed :)


New Member
Thanks for the question Joanna! and to everyone for their responses. I've recently started bidding on Elance (Joanna check it out - lots of transcription projects), and I wanted to take a stab at some of the smaller transcription jobs. I haven't transcribed in ages, (and very little at that), so when I tested myself I wasn't sure if I was marketable. You all have put my mind at ease. Thanks again!


New Member
Thanks for all the information, I've only one transcription per project, as opposed to hourly, etc, and always seem to lose my butt on it.
Hello everyone,

I'm new to the Forums and looking forward to connecting with all of you.

I thought I was crazy until I read these posts. I've done transcription for a while and even though you get better as you do it, it usually takes from 3 to 5 hours to transcribe a one hour audio. I'm so glad I read these posts. THANK YOU!

I do want to ask this question, and you dont have to give me your exact rates but I am wondering what you ladies charge for transcription?? I normaly charge an hourly rate and I'm wondering if it is too high. Per my conversation with a VA on the east coast, I was quoting around $140 for a one hour audio. I included proofing with this as well.

What are you thoughts please?

I do transcription services as well, and I would say you are right on target. For just beginning you are doing great and will get faster as you figure out what works best for you. I tell my clients it takes me 3 to 5 hours to type one hour of audio depending on clarity, number of speakers, how much research I have to put into it, etc.

There are things to consider as well. Sometimes they require time stamps and special formatting which will take longer. I do not do timestamps unless there is an inuadible section then I will timestamp that area if they wish, but that's it. I hate time stamps and won't do them. Of course I do not offer this as my only service and this is not my niche. Just something that I do as an extra service. If you are planning on doing this as a niche then I would imagine you would need to be more open to doing time stamps and special formatting.

I also transcribe files into Excel and the format on those takes a about 2 x's longer than it does on the average audio files. So you will need to keep that in mind for special formatting circumstances. So my one hour may turn into 5 or more hours of transcribing.

Always, remember to double check your work. Edit/proofread it very well when you are finished. I find sometimes when I go back over it there are silly errors that will not look good if you do not edit it before turning it in.

I know many people promise same day or next turn around as well. I do not offer that. I tell them 3 days for more than hour, and adjust that depending on how many audio hours there are. I have other clients that pay on retainer and have blocked time off for them each day and this time is dedicated to them if they send me something on the spot I will stop doing the transcription and work on that project. That's why I do not do same day turn around. Now if I get it done early that's fine, but in that case I usually wait till next day to proof as I find it easier to proof at least the day after with a fresh set of eyes. That's just me though. The point is you need to understand your limitations and set that with your clients in advance.

I have a simple transcription format that I follow for general audio files and supply that to my clients and in it describes my rules and formatting. Best of luck to you. There is decent money you can earn doing audio files if you don't undersell yourself.


New Member
I charge "per recorded minute" - I find it's easier for the client as they know upfront how much it's going to cost regardless of the time it takes.

I also find it easier for myself so if I need to take a break I can take one without having to log it each time and then try and work out exactly what time I've spent typing.
Hi Birdie,

I read your post and want to make sure I understand. If you charge per recorded minute, does that mean you charge your clients $60 for a 1hour audio? So your hourly rate would be between $10 and $18 per hour of actual time spent? Is this correct?

Hi Rhonda,

Thanks for your info. I'm glad to know that I am on the right track.

Hope everyone is doing well. Thanks for all your replies.

Hi Rhonda,

I actually did have a couple of jobs at that rate, but I'm wondering if it is too much. Apparently Karen Riddick is getting those rates. You could probably google her for her website if you wanted to check her out. In all honesty, I haven't really been targeting transcription but plan to. Do you think that is too high? Let me know what you think is reasonable.