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Pricing a Transcription: Things to Consider


Last updated on June 13th, 2023 at 07:07 pm

Even though we are not changing languages, media transcriptions are a type of translation. As with any other translation, there are several elements we have to consider before providing each client with a price.Β  And, this is exactly where the headache starts.

We always consider these elements:

  • Audio quality – Is there loud background noise? Is the recording new or old?
  • Participants – Who are the parties involved in the exchange?
  • Speech speed – Are they talking slowly or quickly?
  • Media – Is it an audio file, which makes it difficult to recognize the parties if there are more than two, or is it a video file, which makes it a hundred times easier?
  • Vocabulary – Even if the conversation is held in the native languages of the translator, are they using daily life vocabulary or is it technical or, perhaps, slang?
  • Setting – Are they in an enclosed setting (a solitary room) or outside (at a park, university campus, etc.)?

Imagine this situation:

A group of three couples is dining at a restaurant, three men and three women. And, let’s not forget the server. They will have a normal exchange of words, as all of us do at a restaurant, which means no one will introduce themselves when speaking. Even if we have a man with a very deep voice and a woman with a very high pitch (both easily recognizable), the translatorΒ will still have four other voices that are hard to recognize; the server’s voice should be recognizable. To that, add the fact it is a Saturday, so the restaurant is PACKED! The background voices of other customers will make it difficult to recognize your target characters. Also, not everyone is familiar with culinary terms, which means that the speakers probably will not pronounce the dishes properly; therefore, the translator may not be clear on their discussion.Β  A complete nightmare, right?

So, next time you find your translator a bit hesitant about giving you a price before analyzing your material, please understand why!

Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie Ruffolo
Jackie was born in Venezuela and has a BS in computer engineering. As President of JR Language, she spends time researching new technology and productivity tools for the Company. She holds a certificate of Localization and Project Management- Localization. Through her many years of experience working in multilingual corporate environments, she understands firsthand the value of bridging language barriers in creating smooth communication that allows for productive and happy work environments. She is fluent in Spanish and English, and is a frequent contributor to both our English and Spanish blogs. 20 Years of experience in marketing Jackie loves nature and to be outdoors.