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3 Jul 2019   Last updated 9 April 2021

How long does it take to transcribe 1 hour of audio?

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Automatic transcription

A well-drafted interview transcript allows having always at hand all the information needed for the project. But how long does it take to transcribe 1 hour of audio and what are the options out there?

How long does it take to transcribe an interview? Here are some options:

An interview can be an extremely useful source for fresh and up-to-date information that is often hard to find. Especially for researchers, interviews are the cornerstone of their discoveries. However, referencing back to audio or video recordings is never easy and no researcher has time to listen over and over to interview recordings. To get the absolute most from your recorded information, interview transcription is the perfect solution!

No researcher has the time to work on the interview transcript manually. Many first-time researchers are, in fact, surprised by how long it can take to transcribe interview recordings by themselves. Manual Interview transcription is a time-consuming process that not only requires a lot of effort but also a great deal of concentration and focus. Moreover, the transcription process takes even longer when you don’t have the right tools at your disposal.

  • Manual transcription: do the interview transcript yourself! How long does it take to transcribe 1 hour of audio manually? Making the interview transcription yourself takes approximately 5 – 6 hours for 1 audio hour. This option is the cheapest one but also the most time-consuming.
  • Automatic Transcription Software (like Amberscript): our software, for example, takes up to 1 hour (usually only a few minutes) to transcribe your 1-hour long interview. It is a good balance between saving both time and money. The accuracy of the interview transcript varies from software to software. Amberscript has one of the highest accuracy rates in the market. Try it for free and see it for yourself.
  • Hire a freelancer or a transcription agency: having a company make your interview transcription can take around 5 working days, depending on the provider chosen. Amberscript also offers a manual review of your transcripts, by one of our language experts, to be delivered with 99% accuracy. Learn more about our Perfect Manual Transcription service.

Let’s break down these three options in greater detail.

Manual interview transcription – Do it yourself

Manual transcription of one hour of audio-recording can easily take you 5-6 hours of work. Depending on how fast you type, how many speakers are involved in the dialogue, how fast they speak and how experienced you are in transcribing, you might be able to speed up the process (or take even longer!). Although many researchers value the fact that throughout the process of the interview transcription they become extremely familiar with the recordings and their content, it is a time-consuming process, especially when a deadline is getting closer!

Using an automatic transcription software for your interview transcription

Software is a key-element to save time when speaking of interview transcription. There are two types of transcription software:

  • Softwares that aid you in the transcription process but without the option for automatic transcription
  • Softwares equipped with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR)

Software without the Automatic Speech Recognition technology can be used to play the audio faster, slower or to repeat the last seconds again so that you can grasp what was being said more easily. It allows you to define shortcuts that can play/pause the audio and insert timestamps or speaker-names. Don’t underestimate how many times you’ll hit play or pause if you are transcribing a group discussion. Speeding up that process with shortcuts can save a lot of time.

Software with Automatic Speech Recognition offers these handy functionalities as well as providing you with an automatic, machine-generated interview transcript. You upload the audio or video file and, after a few minutes, you’ll receive an automatically generated text. Of course, the interview transcript won’t be perfect (it’s still a machine, after all!), but with good audio-quality, the text can require minimal adjustments. If you use software like Amberscript, the text editor will make it easier to find and fix any mistakes.

With Amberscript you can have your interview transcript ready in up to 1 hour! That’s a huge time saving (50-70%) opportunity. I bet you have better things to do than transcribing all day long 😉

Learn more about how to use Amberscript and try it for free!

Outsourcing interview transcription to a specialized agency

If you want to outsource your interview transcription, you can either hire a freelancer or give the project to a specialized agency. There are great freelancers out there, but as it happens with freelancing work, it could be a bit challenging to evaluate the quality of the outcome or guarantee consistency.

Agencies usually work better for a tight deadline or a higher volume of transcriptions. If you work with a transcription agency, you can normally deliver the audio and wait a few days to receive your interview transcript completed and proofread. This option is a bit more costly, as there would be specialists working on your interview transcription. The market price of transcribing 1 hour of audio in Europe is somewhere between 78€ and 120€.

For those who need perfectly transcribed texts, Amberscript offers the option to have your automated interview transcript reviewed by experts in 29 languages, with a turnaround time up to 5 business days, at €1.90 per minute. Learn more.

Do you need an interview transcription?

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  • Automatic or manual speech to text
  • Edit and export text or subtitles
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