Business is good, am I asking the wrong price?
July 27, 2006 11:16 PM   Subscribe

How much to charge for podcast transcription?

I have been working very hard to start a podcast transcription service. One of the first questions people always ask me is "How much?" ... It's a fair question and probably the first I would ask, too.

I know that several companies charge $1 per audio minute for transcription and that seems a little steep to me.

The question is...what is a reasonable price for podcast transcription. What would you pay?
posted by jlstitt to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Who are your customers?
posted by Saucy Intruder at 11:17 PM on July 27, 2006

I know the people who are behind CastingWords. They seem to have struck a nice balance with their rates.
posted by FlamingBore at 12:11 AM on July 28, 2006

It really depends on your customers. If you're transcribing a podcast that has a hundred thousand listeners a day, you could charge more than for a podcast with 100 daily listeners.
posted by antifuse at 2:04 AM on July 28, 2006

Turnaround is also a factor.

If someone wants thirty minutes of audio transcribed overnight, that's different from the same amount of transcription in a week.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 3:21 AM on July 28, 2006

How much do you want to earn? That seems to be a factor too.

Say your target is 30 $ an hour, and you work two minutes for every minute of transcript. You should be able to type that fast if you want to make transcribing your job, I think. Especially if you just have to transcribe and don't have to clean up any language like you would if you were a journalist.

Given all that, you can charge 0,50 cents per minute of source material. That is, provided you have no overhead costs. Take in account that every job needs some time setting up (negotiating, reporting back, asking questions). I think it would be better to raise your rate than add a flat administration fee on top of every job.

Be advised that 30 $ is on the low side for freelance writing work, especially if you want to outsource it at some point, which is the way to go if you want to make real money in this kind of business IMHO. Find students, housewives, etc. who work at .50 $ for you, charge 1 $, you get the picture.

I think 1 $/minute is not that steep, if you take all that into account. And like ambrose says, if you have to work at night or weekend, double or quadruple your rates.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:10 AM on July 28, 2006

Okay, I screwed up big time.

Obviously, working 2 minutes on 1 minute of tape for .50 $ would only earn you 15 $ an hour.

Want to make 30 $, then charge 1 $ per minute.

Want to make 60 $, charge 2 $ per minute, etc. etc.
posted by NekulturnY at 4:16 AM on July 28, 2006

I have been working very hard to start a podcast transcription service.

Some of the prior answers mistakenly assume that you're definitely the one who has to do the work.. and that isn't the case. Ultimately, if you can get transcription customers, your time is better spent getting MORE customers than actually doing the monkeywork.. almost anyone with keyboard skills can be paid to do that part.

Do the same as CastingWords and use Amazon's Mechanical Turk.. or, hey, use CastingWords! If you can semi-automate the process and make a profit by charging X cents more per minute than CastingWords, you're in profit.

Money comes in volume and automation, not in doing low-level grunt work when your time is better spent getting customers. (This assumes you're not the world fastest / best transcriptionist, and instead assumes you know how to run a business.)

Get customers, take money, pay someone less to do work, rinse, repeat, get rich.
posted by wackybrit at 4:35 AM on July 28, 2006

I check on Mechanical Turk yesterday, and someone is paying about $4.50 per 20 minute podcast, IF the transcription is acceptable.
posted by muddgirl at 5:08 AM on July 28, 2006

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