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The Facts

The Facts about Transcribing

  • Transcribing audio and/or video recordings verbatim – is difficult and can be an expensive exercise in both time and/or money.

  • Normal speech is around 160 to 170 words per minute. A professional transcriber will reach speeds of about 85 to 100 words per minute, and may be able to type quickly from clear audio, but this is not always the case. The transcriber often needs to stop, rewind and check unfamiliar words or unclear speech, and revise the finished work.

  • The benchmark for transcription is 10 to 15 minutes of speech takes one hour to transcribe by a professional transcriber, therefore a 1 hour recording should take between 4 and 6 hours to transcribe, based on clear audio without factors that may cause the audio to be difficult to hear, and therefore difficult to transcribe within that time scale.

  • In-depth transcription of a one hour recording including every utterance and interjection, side comments, sometimes including time coding, internet research required or technical jargon unfamiliar to the transcriber or multiple participants, can take up to 4 to 6 hours for a one to one interview and up to 8 to 15 hours for a focus group with multiple participants.

  • Retaining the services of a professional transcription business that specialises in the management of qualitative research projects will guarantee a successful outcome.