How Long Does It Take to Transcribe One Hour of Audio or Video?

When making the choice whether to transcribe an audio file by yourself or use a professional company, money is a big concern. Depending on how many audio files you need to transcribe, the added costs might be prohibitive. 


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The other major factor to consider is how long does transcribing take. If the transcription time per audio hour is too high, it may be impossible for you to DIY audio transcriptions and still meet your deadlines.  

To help you make the best decision for your audio transcription projects, take a look at the average transcription speed for professionals and the average person.  

How Long Does It Take to Transcribe One Hour of Audio or Video?

Transcription time, no matter how long you’ve been creating audio transcriptions, can be greatly affected by a few factors. Of course, a professional will overcome these obstacles faster than the average person, but one hour transcription can be doubled or tripled in time depending on audio recording quality, background noise, regional accents, and potential research needed.  

Audio Recording Quality 

The overall quality of the audio recording has a major impact on the transcription speed. It’s important to test your devices, especially the placement of the microphone, before you begin your recording. Make sure that your audio is clear and no speaker is muffled when they talk.  

Background Noise 

Another major factor to consider is the environment where you’re recording. Background noise can make it impossible to hear important phrases or entire sections of your audio recording. If the transcriber has to rewind constantly to try to decipher what’s being said, the transcription time will most definitely go up. 

Regional Accents 

Depending on the transcriber’s native language, regional accents can have an effect on average transcription speed. The closer an accent is to their native language, the easier time they will have transcribing your audio file. However, speakers with thick accents or those who switch between two languages as part of their speech pattern might make the transcription more difficult. Consider this when you’re thinking about how to transcribe your audio file.  

Potential Research Needed 

Tough topics can also add to your overall average transcription time. Students, professors and law professionals can be affected by this hurdle most often. If the topic of your audio file is particularly complicated, or the speakers use complex words, it will add time to your transcription speed. Of course, if you know the topic well and don’t need to do additional research to understand what’s being discussed, this might not add to your transcription time.  

Transcription Speed for the Average Person 

Now that you know what factors contribute to transcription time, here is how the speed breaks down for the average person and the professional.  

The average person can transcribe one audio hour in about 4 hours. It takes most people about one hour to transcribe 15 minutes of a clear, slow audio file. If any of the factors we mentioned above change the quality of the recording, that time might go up. 

Transcription Speed for the Professional Transcriptionist 

For professional transcriptionist, the average time to transcribe one audio hour ranges from 2-3 hours. Some of the most qualified transcriptionists can transcribe up to 30 minutes of audio in an hour. When time is an important factor in your decision, there’s no way to beat the speed of a professional transcriptionist.  

Learn More About Audio Transcription 

Learn more about why you should invest in audio transcription, plus the different options available to you by checking out our website. We offer the lowest prices and the fastest turn around times so you don’t have to choose between your time and your budget. 

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