Factors That Determine Transcription Services’ Pricing


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When looking for a transcription service provider, rarely do you find the service seekers asking or wondering how these service providers come up with their prices. Depending on which services you offer as a business there are definitely factors that help you decide on price ranges. Regardless some will be higher in price, lower in price, or just fair. You will constantly find businesses that offer the same services offering them at different prices and this is because of these underlying factors. Let no one lie to you that businesses just do guesswork on their different prices because that is not the case. 

In this article, we will look at the transcription industry. We will look at some factors that impact how different transcription services are billed.

What Determines The Pricing Of A Transcription Service Provider?

Transcription rates / pricing / charges / fees / calculations - comparison to minimum wage
  1. Type of Work- This is one factor that will affect the pricing on a transcription project. We are all aware that there are different categories of transcription and in all these categories, service providers charge them differently. An example would be, a general transcription’s price will be low when compared with a legal transcription’s price. This is because a specialist transcriber is needed to deliver accurate and perfect transcripts while a general transcript can be handled by a normal transcriber. It goes without saying that a specialist will price their services higher than a general transcriber. The type of work can also be equated to the amount of work being done by the service provider. This greatly impacts on the pricing.
  2. Industry Trends- Pricing of transcription services is also impacted by industry trends. There are service providers who try to compare their prices with other service providers offering transcription services. It is easy to conclude when you have something to compare with. So what happens when you don’t have something to compare with? When it comes to industry trends, there usually industry events and meetings that are held in order for industry big wigs to discuss a way forward and how to better their industry and the services they offer. This is where things like prices are discussed and whatnot. They can agree on specific prices and then it becomes a trend across the whole industry 
  3. Industry Related Practices- This could easily fall under industry trends but it is specific to a particular practice. When one talks of industry-related practices they mean what is common or what is used to. For example, if it is a normal practice and commonly known that freelance transcribers charge $10 for a 30 minutes audio file then that’s exactly what will be the case for all other transcribers. It is something that is a norm and people automatically pick up as they go by. This means that some service providers will come up with prices because that is what all other service providers charge.
  4. Jargon Usage- This is another factor that affects pricing in transcription. Jargon is a set of vocabulary that is used in particular industries and it is usually specific to that. The legal, medical, education industries all have different jargon specific to their industries. The more difficult a set of jargon is the pricier the transcription will be. This is because for a transcriber to know a set of jargon vocabulary related to a specific industry, it means that they are specialists. As I said earlier, any kind of service that needs ta specialist will always be on a higher price range.
  5. Work Complexity – This goes without saying, if a project is simple, then the pricing will be on the lower side. However, if a project is complex, then the pricing will definitely be on the higher side. It is a rule of thumb and that’s exactly how it has been from time immemorial. This only means that if a client comes looking for a transcriber to carry out a project that is complex, the prices that will be quoted will be expensive. It will also depend on what makes the transcription complex. Let’s say if a service provider only deals with English transcription and a client wants a French transcription, this means that the company needs to outsource the services of French transcribers and this might be a complex thing. Depending on what makes a project complex, any complexity means a project shall be priced higher.
  6. Turnaround Time- All clients have different turnaround times. In lay-mans language, this means deadlines. There are clients who would want their turnaround time to be within 24 hours, others a week or two and others can go up to a month. All these different turnaround times will affect the pricing of a project.  A 24-hour turnaround time means that the project needs to be worked on by many transcribers who can transcribe, proofread, and edit and then send the files back to the client. This will cost more compared to when a client has a one-month turnaround request. A one month turn around request means that the service provider can still take on other projects and still have time to work on that client’s request without compromising on quality and this means that the pricing will be lower. 
  7. Audio/Video Quality- As someone who has worked as a transcriber for close to 3 years, I know that some audio and video files we work on are usually inferior quality. This means that you will from time to time end up working on audios that are inaudible or some that are corrupt. In such a case, service providers will charge a higher price when working on projects of low quality. This is because it takes a lot of time, research, and concentrate on them, to come up with perfectly accurate transcripts. The vice versa is true because then the time needed to come up with perfectly accurate transcripts is less because the files are of good quality.
  8. Accent – When working with audio/video files you constantly find that you are working with files that have accents you can barely comprehend. This doesn’t mean that you cannot work on them, it only means that to work on them and come up with good transcripts you need to give 150% of your concentration. In such a case, the pricing for such an audio/video file will be higher when compared to one that has a common accent, that any transcriber can denote with little hustle. Accents on audio/video files will 100% affect the pricing on transcription and the heavier the accent the more expensive it becomes to transcribe it.
  9. Clarity of Voice – There are clients who would want audio/video files that are not clear to be transcribed, and this is a common thing. One of the many reasons people seek transcription services is so they can have access to written transcripts of projects that are not useful when in an audio/video format. This is because these files are usually not clear. When a client takes such files to a transcription service provider, chances are they will be charged more than if their files were clear. Clarity of the files being transcribed affect the pricing for sure.  
  10. Background Noise- Background noises on an audio or video file means that the audio will be distorted and won’t be clear for a transcriber. This means that they will have to be super keen to do their transcriptions perfectly or else they will struggle and still not come up with good transcripts. If a client needs a service provider to come up with quality transcripts, they will have to part with a couple of dollars more than if their audio/ video files had no background noises. Background noises making it hard for a transcriber to do their work smoothly and this means that the client has to pay for the inconveniences if they want perfectly accurate transcripts.
  11. Special Formatting Request – clients will come with different requests for their projects. There are those who will want their files to be transcribed a certain way and the transcripts in a particular format. Normal transcriptions are a particular price and special formatting requests will definitely be at a higher price. If you are a client and you have special requests to ask for, you will need to top up on the usual price, in order for you to get your special requests catered to. So special format requests are usually a price higher than normal formats.
  12. Outsourcing Services- As I mentioned above, there are those services that will have to be outsourced from time to time. In a transcription set up if a particular service is outsourced then the client has to pay for that. So if a client needs a Spanish transcription done and the service providers outsource for a Spanish transcriber, a fee will be included on top of the normal price. 

All of these factors highly affect the pricing of transcription services. Now that you are aware, you should be able to budget for your transcriptions having this in mind.

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