What is the Best Way to Transcribe Audio?

So, you’ve gotten yourself into a bit of a pickle, haven’t you?  You’ve got an hour of audio sitting inside your computer, phone, recorder or tablet and now you need to get all of those 60 long minutes converted into an easy-to-ready format.  So, what do you do?  You search for the best way to transcribe audio and, well, you’ve found it.

First, let’s look at the options

Do It Yourself

If you’re a real go-getter you might decide to transcribe it yourself.  This option means sitting down and attempting to type up every single word spoken into either Full Verbatim or Intelligent Verbatim.

The thing is, a lot of people don’t realise that the average English speaker will speak at around 150+ words per minute and the average person only types at around 40 words per minute.  It’s a very difficult thing, transcription, I know we all make it look so easy.

best way to transcribe audio

Believe it or not, the best way to transcribe audio is with a computer and not a hammer and nails.

If you’re lucky this option will only take you about 10 hours of non-stop typing and before you start, make sure you’re aware of these 5 transcription mistakes and how to avoid them.  So, what’s the next best way to transcribe audio?

Freelance Transcriber

If you’re not in the mood to dedicating 10 hours of your time to typing up a transcription, the next option is to offer it up to the Freelancers.  I’ve spoken about this at length but for a short summary, you can usually get a cheap rate from freelancers but it’s very difficult to find a reliable, consistent and good quality freelance transcriber for less than you would pay a typical Transcription Service.

There are plenty of freelance options available but be warned, there’s no quality check for these transcribers.  They don’t have an in-house proofreading service nor are they held to a specific high standard like some of the better transcription services are.  You can get an amazing quality transcription for very cheap, or you can get a very poor quality transcription for cheap.  There’s no way to tell before you’ve already paid for the service.

best way to transcribe audio

Five more jobs and this freelancer will finally be able to afford a computer.

Transcription Service

Finally, a dedicated Transcription Service.  With a dedicated transcription service you can get very high quality work for brilliant prices.  A transcription service will have a very high standard for work and have a team of proofreaders ready to check and double-check your transcription before it is sent back to you.

Usually a Transcription Service will have different levels of turnaround times for the transcripts and can have it back to you from anywhere between 12 hours and 7-10 days.  Naturally, the longer the deadline the cheaper it becomes, with some Transcription Companies offering prices as low as 6 AED per minute of audio!

You could send off your 1 hour audio file on Sunday and have it typed up into beautiful Intelligent Verbatim by the following Sunday for as little as 360 AED.  Wouldn’t that be wonderful?


So, whether you’ve got an audio recording of a lecture, meeting, medical transcription, legal transcription, interview or anything else, you can have it typed easily, accurately and affordably.

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