Podcast Transcription Services

Michael Arrington points out a podcast transcription service which priced at $10 for a half hour of audio is really really cheap, too cheap I think if someone wanted to make money from doing this. 30mins audio to me would mean around an hours work. $10 an hour is minimum wage in Ireland. How can someone hire a person to do this and make any money?

In the comments of the TechCrunch post people suggest that voice to text software be used and then someone goes over it to check for errors. That doesn’t make the work any faster as you still need a human to check the words and listen to the podcast.

I left the following in the comments of the TechCrunch post:

Perhaps if the transcriber had the right to sell on the transcriptions then she/he could recoup costs that way. Or another way of recouping costs and maybe using a free model would be to offer free transcriptions in return for a share of ad revenue on the page that hosts the transcription.

If I were a transcription company I’d be contacting the main podcasters and offering my services for free to them for 6 months in return for a link back to my service.

Tom, as a podcaster who is getting serious heavweights in the tech world to do interviews with you, would you be open to such an idea?

7 Responses to “Podcast Transcription Services”

  1. Phill Glau says:


    You’re right in assuming that $10 for 30 minutes is too low. But it might not be too low if the work is going to India. We’re a domesitc transcription company and our rate reflect those costs.

    In general 30 minutes of pristine sounding audio will take between 90 and 100 minutes to transcribe. Somebody very fast and very familiar with a particular speaker would be faster, perhaps 60 minutes. So, after subtracting out overhead and profit, lets say 30-50%, the transcriber is getting probably $5 to $6 for 30 minutes of audio or about $3.30 per hour.

    Ask yourself what part of the world $3.30 per hour buys you a skilled transcriptionist.

    Voice to Text via computer plus proofreading is almost as expensive as transcribing it correctly the first time. Until Voice to Text gets a lot better, that’s not the answer.

    FYI the qualititaive difference between a domestic transcriber and a ‘very-far-offshore’ transcriber is context. A domesitc transcriber will actually ‘understand’ more of most conversations than somebody who is not familiar with American culture, current events, history, etc. We did some testing of off-shore a while back and you wouldn’t believe the error rate. We ended up spending more proofing the material than having it done correctly the first time.

  2. Phill Glau says:

    Forgot to mention on last post, that you can find more information about our services here:


  3. eileen Unger says:

    As an established web-based transcription service, I can assure you that there is no way to transcribe an hour for audio for 10 and make any type of profit. The technology to be able to transcribe that podcast would eat up every penny, even if you were to outsource to India (and then you would definitely go broke just in the time it took to edit and make those manuscripts readable. Contact us and we’d be happy to work on a link for transcription exchange or maybe just a little education on how much more than just typing what you think you’re hearing is all about. Remember, deadlines are always a part of our business and that means you never sleep or you pay independent contractors. Now, we’re down to 1.50 an hour in payment. Let’s chat about the realities. Do yourself a huge favor and learn from others mistakes (ours being one of those initial horror stories). Sustaining this business takes motivation, and unfortunately having the lowest price on the Internet won’t matter if you don’t return a quality product. Always happy to help a friendly competitor. We were new once to.


  4. In the modern history of civilization the impact on human life and interaction has been the most due to two revolutions, the first industrial revolution and the second brought about by information technology. The advantage of doing business offshore in all aspects has been utilized by all free thinking unbiased business people all across the world. Be it Manufacturing or blue collar jobs or be it in IT with INTEL investing the most in India and China in R&D. However, the risk of doing business remains the same as it is anywhere else that you do business with the right people who are willing to work with you on individual basis and providing you a customized service. If you are not biased towards sending work off shore then email me and I assure you we will try to provide you with the best services.



  5. Niv says:

    Not even in India, can someone do transcription for $10 an hour. I run a reasonable sized transcription company in India. After three years into this business, ive realised that people who make such claims are no where seen about three to six months down the line.

    I was pitching for a project recently, and they sent me back someone’s work from India saying that he was quoting half my rate. We evaluated his transcript and found that his transcript was only 20% as accurate as mine. I sent them back an email saying that he shouldnt quote you half, he should actually quote you one-fifth. I got the job.

    People do know that services come for a price. If they want it, they’re ready to pay. In anycase, we are cheaper than our US counterparts.


  6. Swapna says:

    If someone says that $10 per hour isnt sustainable then they must definitely have a look at this transcription company called http://www.isourceindia.com .They provide transcription services for as low as 10 to 12 USD and this variation is to factor in the difficulty level in transcribing some audio recordings.Accuracy is also very good and the TAT is around 6hrs….

  7. Eileen says:

    I sincerely hope that everyone will take a good look at the posts on this page and realize why we opt to work with only United States based transcriptionists and do not outsource our work under any circumstances. If you intend your podcast to be published on your website and wish to be taken seriously, you will have to seriously pay for it, otherwise you will get the same spelling and punctuation mistakes in your transcripts that you are seeing on this message board. We realize that everyone is working on a limited budget, and the decision becomes a matter of quality versus cost. In our experience, of which we now really have quite a bit of, our customers have realized that quality is worth the cost. You are only as good as your initial impression on paper is, and that impression should be one free of spelling and punctuation errors.

    Feel free to contact us at any time to see how we can help you achieve a presence that is both professional and believable.