How long does it take to transcribe interviews?

Many of our customers are surprised how much time it takes to transcribe recordings of interviews by themselves. Transcription is a process that requires a lot of concentration and focus. Next to that, transcription takes even longer if you don’t have the right tools at hand.

How can I transcribe my interviews into text? 

1) Manual transcription - Do it yourself!

2) Use automatic transcription software.

3) Hire a transcription agency to do it for you or:

Below, you’ll see a comparison of the 3 ways on how to transcribe your interviews.

How much time does it cost to transcribe manually? 

Manual transcription of one hour of audio-recording can easily consume 4-6 hours of manual work. Depending on how fast you type, how many speakers are involved, how fast they speak and how experienced you are in transcribing, you might be able to speed up the process (or take even more time). Although many researchers value the fact that they become extremely familiar with the recordings, manual transcription is a  time-killer and very hard to speed-up. Especially when a deadline is coming closer.

How long does it take to transcribe with transcription software? 

Software is a key-element to save time transcribing. There are 2 types of software: Software with Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) and software without automatic transcription.

Software without Automatich Speech Recognition 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 easier. 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 also offers these handy functionalities, but on top of that provides you with an automatic, machine generated transcript. You upload the audio / video and after a couple of minutes, you’ll receive an automatic transcript. Of course, the text won’t be perfect (it’s still a machine, after all ;) ), but with good audio-quality, the text can be up to 90% correct. Afterwards, you’ll listen back into the text to find the errors that need adjustment.

Our users report that transcribing 1 hour of interview takes between 1 and 2 hours of time. That’s quite some significant time savings (50-70%!). I bet you have better things to do than transcribing all day long ;)

Learn more on how to use AmberScript here and try AmberScript for free !

How much time does it cost to hire an agency?

If you want to outsource transcription, you can either hire a freelancer or give the project to a specialized agency. When you hire freelancers, you run the risk that the freelancer won’t finish on time, that he/she doesn’t have enough capacity or that the quality will be lower than you expected.

That risk is significantly lower when you hire a specialized agency. The agency takes all the coordination efforts from you, you deliver the audio and a couple of days later you’ll receive your transcript. The downside of this: As there are specialists working on your transcription, the cost of transcription is of course higher. The market price of transcribing 1 hour of audio in Europe is somewhere between 78€ and 120€.

At AmberScript we deliver the Perfect Transcription in around 4-5 working days and we can offer competitive prices because of our sophisticated software.

To sum up…

How long does it take to transcribe? 

  • Transcribing manually: 4-6 hours for 1 audio hour

  • Using an automatic transcription software (like AmberScript): 1-2 hours for 1 audio hour

  • Having a company make your transcriptions: around 5 days

Learn more about all transcription methods here !