Information is power, and if you don’t do your research well, you might end up paying more for your transcription service than you should have.

But how do you know when you are being conned versus when you are getting your money’s worth?

In this article, we deliver a breakdown of everything you need to know about paying for the right transcription services. Some of the topics we will discuss include:

  • Where to find the best transcription professionals in the industry.
  • What to look out for when hiring expert talents online.
  • How much is a transcription service?

The Best Transcription Services

Depending on your budget and project scope, you can get transcription services from either human professionals or transcription machines (speech-to-text software).

It is cheaper to use transcription software compared to hiring actual human experts.

Average transcription service rates vary from $0.45 to $2 per minute for human transcription, and $0.07 to $0.10 for transcription software.

Transcription Software

You have the software that charges for their services, and we have the free-of-charge software.

The difference between the two is the quality of the outcome, and the security protocols in place to ensure you get the best possible results in the least amount of time.

Why Choose Transcription Software Over Human Transcription?

  • Transcription software is very convenient to use.

Since these programs can exist in the form of an app, users can upload their projects on the go and get fast results.

These apps save you the time it would have taken to manually type long passages of text – hence increasing your productivity.

  • It is cheaper to use the software.

Speech-to-text software are faster – perfect for someone who wants fast and accurate results.

No-one wants to stay typing for long hours when they could achieve the same results in just a few minutes with transcription software.

But before jumping onto the trend, you should know exactly what you are getting with speech-to-text programs.

Advantages of Free Transcription Software Over Paid Transcription Software

  • Well, free software is free.

This makes it perfect for anyone who wants to try transcription for the first time, or perhaps a student who doesn’t have the budget for manual transcription services.

You could probably use speech-to-text software to transcribe the content an instructor shares during a class.

  • Free software is less complex.

They are perfect for projects of a little volume and come in handy even when you want to record and transcribe an informal conversation.

  • If you choose to use a free transcription program, there is a variety to choose from.

As long as you are familiar with your project needs, best believe there is free transcription software out there for you.

Disadvantages of Free Transcription Software

Free software can end up costing you in other ways.

The programs can be inaccurate in their transcriptions, forcing you to go back and make changes yourself. That said, they are not the best to use particularly in a professional setting. Highly technical fields, including the medical and legal industries, all call for high levels of accuracy in transcriptions.

Using free software (and then NOT taking the time to edit your work afterward) might hurt your credibility as a brand.

Besides, free speech-to-text software has limited features.

Unlike paid transcription software that uses algorithms to better understand accents and transcribe content – free paid transcription services are not as flexible.

You might have to do the work yourself, especially if you are transcribing content from a language other than English.

Free transcription software limits your language customization options and fails to include necessary transcript features like timestamps.

Most paid software comes with a free trial period that allows you to test the app before you decide to pay for it.

Why Use Human Transcription?

With the transcription software charges being much cheaper you may wonder why human transcription experts even exist in the first place.

Here’s your answer: Even with high-quality audio, transcription software is still not able to attain the level of accuracy that human transcriptionists can achieve.

Decoding audio with accents, multiple speakers, and background noise using transcription software can take hours. And did we mentioned the time it would take you to edit that content?

Both human transcribers and transcription software have the capacity to deliver high-quality results. But they also have the potential to deliver poor-written, unformatted, and illegible transcripts.

How Much is a Transcription Service?

The rate of transcription services offered by trained experts varies from one professional to the other.

Experienced talents get to set their own rates.

With a lot of years under your belt, you can charge as high or as low as you want – keeping in mind that your rates might reflect on the quality of your work.

The basic transcription services offered by human transcriptionists include:

Summary Transcript

This transcript only highlights the important details of the recording.

For this type of service, the rates for expert transcribers start at $0.75 per minute.

Verbatim Transcription

A verbatim transcription includes all the details of the recording, from pauses to coughs to laughter.

The rate for this service might start at $1.50 per audio minute.

how much is a transcription service

Intelligent Verbatim Transcription

This is the edited version of the recording, also called a clean verbatim transcript. It is cleaner and easier to read without the stutters, the ‘umms’ and ‘aahs.’

Pros either charge by the audio minute or hour, by the page, per line, or per hour of the transcription time.

Per audio minute or hour

Most professional transcriptionists will charge you for every minute or house they use to transcribe the recording.

This costs anywhere between $0.45 to $2 per minute.

Per line

Transcribers in the medical field often apply this method of billing. A single line constitutes about 65 words, and the transcript can cost anywhere between 7 to 14 cents per line.

Per hour of the transcriptionist time

Experts charge between $20 and $50 for every hour they use to write the transcript.

What Determines Transcription Service Rates?

Professional set their own rates, and while they are mostly constant, the following factors might cause you to either pay less or more for a transcription service:

Bad Audio

Anything with a lot of background noise or muffled sounds is bad audio, and you may have to pay more to transcribe it.

You may also want to give the expert more time to get the work right.

Number of Speakers

If there is more than one speaker on the recording, you may have to pay a starting rate of $0.25 per person per audio minute.

The rule is; as the number of speakers keeps increasing, so does your transcription service charge.

How to transcribe an interview: a crash course.


How fast do you want your work? If you want a fast turnaround time of fewer than 24 hours, you will have to pay an extra fee.

The standard charge for a 24-hour turnaround time is about $1.25 per audio minute.

Technical Transcripts

Technical industries use jargon that only professionals can understand. Transcribing a technical recording will cost more. Medical, legal, financial, and academic content is best transcribed by experienced experts who are familiar with the technical terms.

Additional Instructions

Would you prefer the transcript in a special format? You may incur additional costs but never compromise on the quality of your work.

Beat the System!

Maybe the budget is too tight, or you need a quick turnaround but can’t quite cover it.

The big question is: can you pay lower rates without compromising on the quality of your work?

And the good news is that you can!

You can essentially beat the system by following these tips:

Submit good audio

The first way to do this is to use professional and proper recording devices.

Distorted audio will cost more to transcribe, so ensure you record in a quiet environment. Record a trial run and play it back to test the quality of your audio.

Try and have most of your recording done in person rather than on the phone.

If it is a group recording, you can appoint someone to ensure that everyone talks in turn to avoid overlapping audio.

You can also decide to forgo the ‘extra’ services like having timestamps, identification of speakers, or a fast turnaround time.

And if you want the whole package, it is cheaper to go for transcription companies that include multiple services in their baseline rates.

One More Thing

It is not enough to know how much a transcription service costs.

You also need to hire the right professional for the job.

Here are some top qualities to look for in the transcriber you hire;

  • You need someone you can trust. Hire a transcriptionist you feel secure with. Check their past experiences and recommendations from previous clients.
  • Ask for samples and check their accuracy levels. The best transcriptionists know how to deliver error-free and well-formatted transcripts.
  • Good and open communication is important. Go for an expert that relates well with you.

Remember to provide experts with specific instructions on what to deliver. For instance:


If you are looking for quality work, go for a human-based transcription service.

But if you are looking for lower prices and experimentation, then speech-to-text software might be for you.

The cost of transcription services varies depending on a lot of factors. You can get high-quality transcripts regardless of your budget, but it is important to do your research either way.

Both human transcribers and transcription software have the capacity to deliver high-quality results. But they also have the potential to deliver poor-written, unformatted, and illegible transcripts.

Are you ready to hire the best transcriptionists in the industry?

Bunny Studio provides you with all your transcription needs at affordable prices.