" Transcription Services "

The UK's Most Secure Transcription Service

UK-based transcription services and world-class customer support alongside the highest standards of security & ethics. We deliver a comprehensive range of online transcription services including Audio and Video Transcription, Video Captions and Live Notetaking.

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Transcription Services

Audio & Video

We have a range of audio transcription services you can trust. These include Verbatim and Intelligent Verbatim. So you can choose the right transcription service to convert your audio or video files to text.

From: £1.09

per minute

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Captions & Subtitles

Video Files

We combine high-quality human transcription and speech recognition technology to create cost-effective captions. We will provide you with an SRT or XML transcript, ready to upload to a video platform or burn into your video. 


From: £1.42

per minute

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Live Minute & Notetaking

Remote or On-Site

Professional, discreet notetakers attend your discussion, meeting or event. Full draft available immediately after, final checked version 9am next day. Notetakers have their own laptop and type at >100 Words Per Min.

From: £85

per hour

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Transcription Services You Can Trust

Why choose Take Note? We realise that there are other transcription companies out there. However, we work tirelessly to ensure that we offer a superior service. But don’t worry, we still maintain a sensible pricing structure to suit your budget.

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Quality & Accuracy

Our 800 strong team of elite transcribers have the skills and experience to guarantee at least 99% accuracy.

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Guaranteed Delivery Times

Fast, fixed & reliable turnaround times that apply to any project of any size, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

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Secure & Confidential

Our reach is global but our team is UK-based, we’re ISO and GDPR compliant and your data is only visible to individuals working on your project.​

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An Ethical Approach

We treat our people as humans, not robots. We recruit expert transcribers, treat them well and pay fair rates.

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Outstanding Customer Service

We take pride in our exceptional customer service, with an NPS always above 75! Our team is here to help from 7am - 10pm UK time.

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How it works

It’s quick and easy to take advantage of our complete set of transcription services.

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Simply Upload

Upload your file with full security assured.
You can simply upload via:​

- ​Our website​
- Our API

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Choose your service

Select your transcription options, turnaround time and whether you’d like to pay as you go or complete our simple account form and place your order. ​

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We do our thing

Our project team will assign one of our highly skilled UK-based transcribers to complete the highest quality transcript in the timeframe you selected.​

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Receive your transcripts​

You will receive a secure link to download your on-time, accurate transcripts in the format you require.​

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Who are we?

We are Take Note. And we’ve been providing the highest standard of transcription services since 2006. We are market leaders in delivering the highest quality transcription services to a range of industries. With guaranteed turnaround times, 7 days a week, for all projects of all sizes and a range of finely tuned transcription options, you’ll never need another transcription partner.

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What makes us different?

In an age of automation, we take great pride in being able to deliver a professional transcription service with a personal approach to customer service. It’s what allows us to offer unrivalled accuracy and turnaround times to fit your needs. We are driven by a passion for quality and a commitment to outstanding customer service, security and ethics.

And with prices starting at just £1.09 a minute, you know you’re always getting exceptional value for money!

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Accurate Transcripts from Audio or Video

Our UK-based team of 600 elite transcribers are equipped to handle a wide range of transcription needs. Get your transcription in a choice of formats to suit your needs. We offer:

  • Verbatim: All the detail but captured with clarity – “errms”, “umms”, false starts and stutters removed, word-for-word accuracy guarantee.
  • Intelligent Verbatim: More to the point and concise – get a cost-effective transcript that delivers all the information you need with just the small talk, filler words and other distractions removed.

If detail is what you’re after, leave in those “umms”, false starts and repetitions. Or add extras like speaker identification or timestamps. We’ll deliver the transcript you need, exactly when you need it!

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Captions to bring out the best in video

We offer a range of Closed Captions and Subtitling services for Film & TV as well as content creators and social influencers. We deliver captions in SRT or the format of your choice ready to add to your video content. We are also more than happy to transcribe video files into a post-production script or convert an existing transcript into subtitles for you.

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Live Notes and Minute Taking

Alongside our suite of transcription services, we can also offer live notetaking and minutes for those important meetings and events. Read more about our Live Notetaking Service here.

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You can trust Take Note with your most critical data

We understand that your data is extremely important and may be sensitive. As part of our unwavering commitment to security and confidentiality, both our customer service and transcriber team are UK-based and your content is only visible to those working on your project.

Our platform is guaranteed to be highly secure and uses state of the art encryption. We are also ISO 27001 and GDPR compliant, meaning that our data management practices have been rigorously inspected by a third party. All of our work is carried out with complete confidentiality and our compliance team is happy to help with any additional security agreements required.  

Anonymisation Service

The Anonymisation Service removes respondents' personally-identifying information, making it perfect for GDPR compliance.

This includes names, addresses, contact details and reference numbers, as well as other details such as job titles, workplaces and club & group memberships that could be used to identify an individual. Information is replaced with "redacted" and the timecode for reference. If you've requested Speaker Identification, the respondents will be identified with a unique ID, rather than by name, enabling you to follow the conversation with ease.

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Our Accreditations

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What our clients think

Expedia logo

I would like to publicly declare my love for Takenote. They have great people and a wonderful staff who work with you to develop great transcripts. Very fast, thorough and professional. A must-have tool for serious video marketers and SEO practitioners.

The academy of midical languages logo

Very professional and excellent service. Will continue to use for our note-taking!

Kcl logo

We were extremely happy and impressed with the quality of the transcripts. Take Note provide reliable, professional and efficient services. They also give excellent support to their customers throughout every step of the process. Their online system is intuitive and easy to use, which allows to upload files within minutes. We will continue using their services without a doubt! Thank you.

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Take Note offered a highly professional service that was fast, efficient, and of a high standard. They were exceptionally quick in their communication, which was key in achieving the results we needed. Many thanks, look forward to working with your team again.

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I recently used Take Note for transcribing a series of focus groups and would highly recommend them. The transcriptions were to a good quality and were turned around very quickly. The Take Note portal was very easy to navigate and it was clear when my transcriptions were ready. I particularly like the Quote Generator function, which makes it really easy to play around with functions and costs. I also found everyone at Take Note to be really helpful and quick to respond. I had an issue with video files being too large to upload to the portal. After contacting Take Note, someone helped me with compressing the file so it could be uploaded.

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I work for a research company and Take Note supply us with transcribtions for: audio calls, online focus groups, face-to-face focus groups etc. They work very efficiently and I've always had great service from all the members of their team. I would **highly recommend** this company to anyone looking for really fast transcribing turn-arounds. Thanks for all your help!

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Speedy, accurate transcriptions with great customer service. Totally recommend.

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What a great service from end to end! The online portal to upload the files was simple and clear and the delivery time was really quick too. The quality of the output was top-notch - even with some "testing" content to be captured. Take Note are now my #1 supplier of choice for typing services. Thank you!

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I just wanted to extend a big thank you for the quality of work produced – please see below for some great feedback from one of my most senior colleagues here. Really high praise and makes me look good to have such great suppliers so THANK YOU! Please can you contact the transcriber and say how great these transcripts are. Not sure if they ever get thanks, probably only complaints, but these are really fabulous and hugely helpful in their richness. The transcriber has really captured the rhythm of language and so the spirit of the group, not just what they said. Excellent work. Like to give credit where it’s due.


We use Take Notes services regularly and are always completely satisfied with the level of service we receive. The note takers are friendly and professional and the notes are always of a high quality standard and delivered in a timely fashion. A joy to work with!

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I have been genuinely impressed by the level of service offered by Take Note. From the moment I first contacted them for a quote, they have been friendly, helpful, and proactive. All of my queries have been answered quickly and fully, and they have been very accommodating of the needs relating to our project. I heartily recommend Take Note, and will certainly be using them for future transcription work that I and my colleagues need.

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Professional, friendly and most importantly, high quality. The project is managed from start to finish, and there is always help on hand if you have any questions. I am looking forward to working with the team again.

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Portail intuitive, easy to access, easy to use, fast & efficient upload, fast & efficient quote system, a great choice of services, high quality complete notes, good quality service received. Great team to work with, patient, pro-ac

Pixel bin

Very professional, very quick turn around and speedy communication. Would highly recommend.

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Take Note have always been my first choice when booking live note-taking or transcriptions for my clients. Take Note are really responsive to requests and have never let me down. All of my clients are really happy with the transcriptions/note-taking we have had. Also costs are very reasonable. Excellent and would thoroughly recommend. Lucy - Source Fieldwork

The nursery

Take Note are absolutely brilliant. Always seem to deliver quicker than they say they would. Good customer service too. I called them with a query and they were both friendly and helpful

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Take Note have been my go to agency for transcription ever since I began working at Acacia Avenue. I've been offered free trials from various other transcription agencies, and I'm yet to experience a portal that's as user friendly and streamlined. Our contacts do a brilliant jobs of managing our requests too. Highly recommended.

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I am undertaking a doctorate and I used Take Note for transcription of my interviews (8 in total - due to upload another 2 this week). The Take Note dashboard is very comprehensive compared to others that I have used, but most of all it is very user friendly and there is help on hand should you need it. The price is VERY reasonable - compared to other transcription services that I have used in the past. The quality of the manuscripts is excellent, and they are available for downloading in different formats. I have and will be using them again! I used Take Note again, for further interview transcriptions - again, they were efficient and provided an excellent service! And VERY reasonably priced too! I have recommended the service to a colleague who is also undertaking doctoral study - and she has also used the service! (and is very happy with Take Note!)

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We have used Take Note over the past 3+ years, and they have produced over 1,000 hours worth of transcripts for us (over 10,000 A4 pages). Some of the recordings were difficult, and the content specialised. Over that time, the staff has proven to be professional, easy to work with and quick to adjust according to our specifications. Couldn't say enough good about them or rate them more highly. You won't be disappointed if you choose them for your transcription work.

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The company I work for has been using Take Note for a number of years and in the 4 and a half years I've worked here, I have dealt with them on a regular basis. I can honestly say they have never let us down! Any time of day (or evening) I will receive a prompt response- with the answer always being 'of course we can help and meet your deadline.' The staff are so friendly in emails and on the phone and yet always professional- you know you're in capable hands.

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Take Note are always incredibly professional, swift and friendly. My go to service for quick turnaround transcriptions for MTV and Comedy Central.

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Take Note are really helpful and responsive and always turn around transcripts really quickly (good communicators too)

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I have TakeNotes services on numerous occasions now and they have always done a wonderful job every time. It was on time, completed at a really high use-able, clear standard and the cutting down of the unnecessary parts of the transcript were really successful and saved a lot of my time. You can see that the person transcribing has a high level of understanding of the purpose of the transcription. Thanks so much

The research house logo

Take Note are our go-to company for all of our transcript needs for over 5 years now. Their transcripts are high quality and accurate. The portal to upload audio is very easy to use and so handy to login into to see the stage our transcripts are. We also use Take Note for Notetaking and their note takers arrive promptly, smartly dressed and ready to work. We have great feedback from our clients, and of course the TN team are lovely to work with too. Highly recommend.

Little wing

I couldn't be happier with TakeNote - friendly efficient service, really reasonably priced, with excellent note takers who deliver accurate transcripts at seriously impressive speed (first thing the morning after a late evening of note taking).

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Takenote offer a range of transcription services to suit differing needs. They are extremely responsive to queries and have an efficient online portal to upload recordings and download transcripts. I would highly recommend their services 🙂

Ppl insights logo

I contacted Takenote via the chat on the website. Lucy was really helpful and gave me quotes really quickly for a few different options. Once my client approved the costs the set up on the online portal was done in minutes where I then uploaded everything ready to be transcribed. Although I only paid for turnaround in 7 days I started receving completed transcriptions back the next day. The quality of them was great and the support via email and the chat was great, everyone was really friendly and helpful. I was also surprised at just how good the price was for 40 transcribed videos! I wouldn't go anywhere else after this.

Plum films logo

Take Note have been a great find! Their team was so helpful, responding very quickly - and the process of uploading files to their portal is simple, and clear. The transcriptions were very accurate … and these were supplied ahead of the 48 hours turnaround time too! So all round, I'd highly recommend them

Kantar logo

Service is fantastic, even though i quite often book VERY last minute they do everything they can to help me out. Transcripts are always good quality and note takers at f/w always do a great job. Would highly recommend

Polar insight logo

Take Note provide very high quality transcription. I've used them many times for both the 24 hour and 48 hour turnaround services. The transcripts have been returned earlier than expected and are always accurate. The portal is easy to use in terms of uploading audio files, and inviting colleagues/clients to read and download the transcripts. The staff are always quick to respond and very helpful whenever I've had queries. I'd recommend them to any market or social research agency who needs good quality transcripts, quickly.

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Everything You Need to Know Before You Make Your Decision About Transcription Services

So, you want to use transcription services, and you know you'll need to partner with a great team and process in order to get that done. But are you ready to upload that file yet? This guide will take you through all of the things you need to ensure that you get the transcription services fit for your requirements — from picking the right file formats and the difference between software-led and high-quality transcription services, to the questions you should ask your transcription partner.

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How Do Transcription Services Work?

Transcription services deliver speech to text, but how does it work? Most commonly, this is through digital audio files. But, video to text services are common. A few services provide specialist in-field notetakers or stenographers that will come to you and transcribe events as they happen.

On the face of it, transcription services are simple and straightforward. You find the best rate online, create an account, send in your recording and download a text transcript. There are, however, important distinctions between the types of transcripts you will receive and why certain services cost more than others.

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Are All Transcription Services the Same?

No, they are not. The most obvious difference is quality or usefulness and cost. This can range from automated transcription software services with free ‘basic’ options, to human-based services with fees over £2 per minute of recorded audio. Fundamentally, these are different products that represent two distinct categories within transcription services.

Transcription Services vs. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) Software (Speech to Text)

Human transcription services produce accurate transcripts that you can count on — automated speech to text software does not. For an ‘ideal’ and high-quality recording, the difference can be slight. However, independent comparisons demonstrate that audio to text software transcription services struggle to hit accuracy rates above 80% under any circumstances. That number can decline to as little as 3% accuracy for complex audio with multiple speakers and poor sound quality. Even at the 80% level, it is painstaking to correct the errors!

Reasons You Should Use Human Transcription Services

Human transcription services consistently hit accuracy rates above 99%, even when dealing with poor audio quality, multiple speakers and complex language. If you are willing to pay for it, even better outcomes can be guaranteed. Most human transcription services will remove ‘ums’, false starts and stutters to create a smoother reading experience without damaging meaning. Using transcription services allows for customised outcomes and the transcription of audio files that would be indecipherable for software.

Audio quality, multiple speakers, the speed at which individuals are speaking, accents, background noise and the complexity of language all impact automated transcription quality. For human transcribers, these complications will slow down the process and can drive up costs, but a quality outcome will be delivered. For speech to text software, one or more of these complications can create nearly unintelligible outcomes. Fundamentally, you will need to review and edit any transcription made using an automated service.

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What Will My Transcript Look Like?

Transcripts take many forms so it's important to ask yourself: what will my transcript look like? With automated transcription services, it is always possible that your transcript will look like gibberish. All software transcription platforms attempt to deliver a verbatim account of your audio file (including ‘ums’, ‘errs’ and false starts), and attempt to distinguish between different speakers. Although most automated transcription services claim to be able to distinguish between speakers, this is one area where they struggle — along with deciphering a clear transcript when there is background noise, poor audio quality or certain accents.

What Do Human Transcription Services Deliver?
Access to different types of transcription services and transcripts

Human transcription services deliver error-free transcripts with different speakers accurately distinguished, even with poor audio quality. They also deliver options.

So what transcript do you really need? There are three main categories of transcript: word for word, summary/notes and verbatim. These offer different levels of detail vs. readability at a number of different price points — allowing you to tailor results to suit your needs.

  1. Word for word transcripts, also called ‘intelligent verbatim’, deliver an edited but detailed transcript. ‘Ums’, ‘errs’, false starts and direct repetitions are removed. However, the word for word account of the recording is retained. They are easier to read and easier to create than strict verbatim transcripts, and often cost less per minute of recorded audio to produce. They are the most common format delivered by human transcription services.
  2. Note transcriptions are an abridged account. They do not focus on capturing direct phrasing and instead summarise the sentiment, meaning and conclusion of a conversation. This is a valuable option when transcription is being sought specifically to enable the faster consumption of information. They are cheaper per minute of audio than other options with the understanding that the result will be rougher, condensed and in ‘note’ form.
  3. Verbatim transcription covers a few options that are more precise than intelligent verbatim transcripts. This can reintroduce all ‘ums’, ‘ahs’, repetitions, coughs, and the phonetic use of colloquialisms such as ‘cos’, ‘gonna’ etc. Pauses can also be included and denoted in length by (.), (..), (...), along with comments on tone and laughter. When extreme details matter, you can always pay more for their inclusion.

Think About Who Is Transcribing Your Recording

When your professional reputation is on the line, it is important to think about who is transcribing your audio for three reasons: quality, accountability and security.

The content that businesses and individuals want transcribed can be sensitive and confidential. It is vital you answer security conscious questions for transcription services in order to find suitable services for you. It is important to look into the reputation of transcription firms and their encryption/online security protocols. You should also think about who is transcribing your file.

A lot of companies will outsource transcriptions abroad to bring down costs. If you find human-based transcription fees starting at less than £0.75 ($1) per recorded minute, you can pretty much guarantee that offshoring is how those fees are achieved. From a cost perspective, this is great. It is not optimal from a security or quality standpoint.

Quality of transcription services

Accents and local colloquialisms present challenges. Meaning can be missed and less accurate results delivered. This is particularly important when relying on the industry standard of ‘intelligent verbatim’ and even more important if you get a ‘summary’ transcription.

The use of double negatives, technically incorrect conjugations and slang are all regionally relevant. Industry jargon is professionally relative. It is important that the person transcribing your audio understands the meaning in order to make an accurate transcript. Look for transcription services that offer transcriptionists in your area and those that offer transcriptionists with relevant professional experience.

Hidden costs when using transcription services abroad

When engaging with offshore transcription services, it is possible that you will suffer extra fees because of accents, removing the cost-saving advantage of using offshore labour. Check to see if the transcription service reserves the right to increase their fees based on ‘difficult’ audio, look into how that is defined.

Security and accountability when using transcription services

By engaging with a transcription service (rather than transcribing the material yourself), you lose a degree of control. It might be wise to get your transcription partner to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement) — most are willing to do so. However, you need to think about their ability to enforce that agreement and your ability to pursue violations.

If your files are sent abroad, it becomes more difficult to prosecute any breaches in security — a reality that increases the likelihood that such breaches might occur. Fundamentally, your transcription service partner will have degraded their ability to guarantee compliance by offshoring their labour.

If you are concerned about the security of your data, it is important to think about who is transcribing it. This is especially true if you opt for a less reliable or cheaper transcription service that uses speech-to-text software. Try to keep data in regions with high ethical business standards and robust legal systems. You will often find it easier to prosecute violations in your home country.

The moral high-ground of not using offshore transcription services

It is important to pay fair wages. If you work with a company that keeps transcriptions local, you know that you are not engaging in exploitation. Although companies that employ offshore labour charge less, they also often keep a more significant percentage of that fee. Think about the types of working practices you are supporting.

If you pay people a fair wage, they will do a better job. If you want someone creating your transcripts who feels valued and is interested in their job, you are going to have to find a company that keeps its employees in-country. You are also probably going to have to pay a premium. The advantage is that you will get a better product that someone spent more time and effort creating.

Why UK transcription services are better

World leading European data protection regulations (GDPR) make UK transcription companies a particularly safe option for exporting English transcriptions — delivering greater security and accountability. This also helps companies subject to the GDPR feel confident that their transcription partner is following all of the relevant regulations.

The UK has a long local history of pursuing privacy violations and a robust legal system that ensures high ethical business standards and a low probability of security breaches. Culturally, the UK is accommodating to accents. The wide variation across the country, large multicultural populations, and proximity to European accents has created a population accustom to parsing the fine details of different English dialects and guarantees the ability to capture the nuance of your recording. The weak pound makes it cheaper than you think!

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How Much Do Transcription Services Cost?

There is a lot of variability in the cost of transcription services and an equal number of variables in outcomes. Automated and human transcription services sit in somewhat different product categories.

Rates For Automated Transcription Services (Speech to Text Software)

Automated transcription services are relatively straightforward with pricing, although different companies use different models. Some operate on subscriptions, others have additional or standalone per minute fees. With the exception of platforms that have relatively generous free packages, you can expect to pay around £0.08 ($0.10) per minute of recorded audio time. Subscription models range between £12 to £7 per month.

When subscriptions are an additional fee, they often bring with them premium services such as timestamping that would otherwise cost extra. When subscriptions are the sole cost, they are often limited by time restrictions per month, as are free services. In all cases, the price differences in automated services are mostly driven by the quality of the interface — export options, online editing, mobile syncing and support. The quality of the transcriptions are all relatively similar, and all equally volatile depending on the quality and nature of the audio.

Time caps and fees can create pricing complications if you use software transcription services a lot. However, the options and quality control guarantees that fluctuate costs with human transcription services are not present. The real challenge with automated services is determining how compatible your audio quality is with a quality outcome. It is worth exploring the free trials on offer if you think automated transcription services will suffice for your transcription needs.

Are Human Transcription Services Too Expensive?

Human transcription services offer more options than transcription software platforms, creating more complex pricing models. However, they deliver certainty and control over what you get. Many pricing variables are linked to quality control. If you need quality and options around the detail captured in your transcription, then human transcription services are how you get that — no matter what it costs. This is particularly true when you require high levels of accuracy, have complex requirements or poor quality audio files.

Factors impacting the cost of transcription services

Starting prices vary based on the type of transcription you want. Strict verbatim transcripts cost more, summaries cost less. Intelligent verbatim is seen as the industry standard. In most cases, transcription services will level fees for poor audio quality, multiple speakers, timestamps, and accelerated turnaround times. These kinds of hidden fees in transcription services are what you need to look out for when selecting a service.

Transcription services: rates per minute

Human transcription services start at around £0.40 per minute of recorded audio. But, rates below £0.75 per minute probably come with a caveat — turnaround times in excess of a week, offshore workers or easily triggered and steep price increases based on audio quality.

To get a detailed and quality transcript of complex audio in under 24 hours, you should look at prices less than £1.50 per minute of recorded audio as a good deal. If using a company for the first time, or concerned about a tight budget, it is a good idea to call and get a direct quote regarding your specifics. Research is the best way to get a good deal on transcription services. The benefit of human transcription services, however, is that although it can be hard to tell exactly how much it will cost, you know exactly what you are going to get — a high-quality transcript of your audio file. This is effectively the opposite of what software transcription services deliver.

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How Long Do Transcription Services Take?

Turnaround time for transcription services depends on the type of service and your budget. Automated transcription services are nearly instantaneous. Most platforms can turnaround an hour of audio in a few seconds. However, you are likely to need to spend a significant amount of time cleaning up that file yourself to meet accuracy standards or even make the transcript legible. Automated transcription services struggle with background noise, poor audio quality, accents and multiple speakers.

Turnaround Time For Human Transcription Services

You can expect to wait about a day for the transcription of an hour of audio using human transcription services. Some services offer lower prices in exchange for slower turnarounds (sometimes more than a week), while others will provide fast turnarounds in exchange for a premium — delivering transcripts in as little as 12 hours.

For custom jobs, you might be able to get even faster turnaround times. However, you eventually hit the limits of human capabilities. Skilled transcribers need about one hour per 15 minutes of recorded audio to transcribe a high-quality document — maybe more if the audio quality is poor. Some transcription services offer ‘notes’ options where a typist transcribes live, without pausing the recording. This type of service can be done faster, and normally costs less per minute, but delivers a ‘rougher’ outcome. As a base rule, per hour of audio, anything less than 24 hours is likely to cost you a premium fee, and anything less than 4 hours might be impossible.

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What Impacts Transcription Service Quality?

Most human transcription services guarantee quality control under all realistic circumstances, although poor audio quality may incur fees. But, there are limits to reason. If the audio quality is too poor, some segments of the transcript might be lost. When it comes to software transcription services, audio quality will significantly impact the output. High audio quality and clear speech without accents are absolute necessities when using automated transcription services.

Will Accents Impact My Transcription Service?

Yes, they probably will. However, accents are relative. This is one reason to seek out local transcription services. Most automatic speech recognition (ASR) software only excels with neutral American accents. Human services have a wider range of capabilities.

How Can Customers Help Improve Transcription Services?

The main thing customers can do to improve the transcription process is to ensure high-quality audio. Get a dedicated audio recorder (such as a dictaphone or microphone attachment for your phone), make recordings in-person, in a quiet space and (when possible) get individuals to speak slowly, clearly and avoid speaking over each other.

If you can do all of that, you might be able to effectively use automated transcription software. That choice will limit your other options around ‘verbatim’ and intelligent verbatim transcripts offered by human transcription services. But, it will cost less. Under all circumstances, however, when turning audio files into text, clean audio files will be quicker to turn around and will cost less to transcribe.

If your recording is of a complex subject and includes a lot of industry-specific or technical jargon, some transcription services will allow you to submit a vocabulary list/glossary. This doesn’t have to include everything. However, simply writing down any acronyms, brands or other jargon likely to come up in the recording will ensure that those words and phrases are transcribed correctly.

Is Proofreading Important to Transcription Services?

Most human transcription services come with proofreading included. Your choice is more about subtracting proofreading from the fee. Sometimes, however, you can pay extra for an ‘expert’ proofreading that will improve a 99% accuracy rate to a 100% guarantee.

The importance of proofreading in quality transcription services depends on what you want. If you need something error-free, then proofreading is critical. If you just need something that is legible and conveys the meaning of the recording, some services will offer you a cheaper alternative. When it comes to automated transcription software, you are going to have to do the proofreading yourself and take any actions to remedy the inaccuracies.

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How Do Transcription Services Ensure Confidentiality and Security? Steps To Ensure Your Protection

Confidentiality and security are essential to many people and businesses seeking transcription services. Google reviews to make sure the company is legitimate. Only use websites that have an ‘https’, rather than an older ‘http’ address. ‘Https’ encrypts communication between the website and your browser. This is an important thing to watch out for when entering any details online.

Make sure that transcription services use SSL encrypted login portals for sharing data and store information in encrypted formats across browsers and servers. Encrypted data storage is essential to ensuring that you are protected against a breach. This might also be vital to keeping you in compliance with data protection acts. This is particularly true for European companies that are subject to the GDPR.

The two big indications of a safe data environment are ISO 27001 & 9001 certifications. Be wary of engaging with transcription services that don’t possess these accreditations. If concerned about GDPR, it can help to contract with transcription partners based within countries covered by the GDPR. For companies subject to European jurisdiction, it is essential to make sure that your transcription partner follows all GDPR requirements, not just those regarding data protection.

Do Transcription Services Sign NDAs?

Most transcription services are willing to sign an NDA (non-disclosure agreement). This is a good idea. If you are concerned about security, however, you should think specifically about who is transcribing your data. Secure login portals can only go so far. Information can always be copied. Try to keep your data within regions that have high ethical business standards and robust legal systems that pursue violations and enforce privacy laws.

This will mean paying a slightly higher fee. But, if security is a concern, it will be worth the cost. If location information is not advertised, call up the transcription service and ask where they intend to send your data. Starting prices less than £0.75 per recorded minute are a good indication of offshore and unsecured labor.

When it comes to automated transcription software, be cautious about how exactly your data is stored. Look to see if you can delete your files once they are uploaded. If you cannot, then your digital exposure to risk is significantly increased. You should also investigate privacy policies and make sure that ‘automated’ actually means no humans will look at your data.

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File Formats That Work Best For Transcription Services

Different digital file formats offer you options between compression and data loss. But, file formats don’t actually matter that much. If your recording has particularly low audio quality, preserving data will help human transcribers use editing software to clean up the audio, and may marginally improve results delivered by automated services. The cost is a larger file that will take longer to upload.

If you have a lot of recordings with relatively clean audio quality, MP3 or AAC files are fine. Both are compatible everywhere, they are compressed and easy to use. If concerned about audio quality, keeping your data uncompressed or using a ‘lossless’ compression file format might be a good idea. The two most common and widely interoperable of these are WAV and WMA. In general, however, different file types should not be a prohibitive issue.

File Formats for Video Recordings

Compression becomes more important for video files — the size of digital videos can get really big, really fast. MP4 (MPEG-4), FLV and AVI are all common and compressed video formats that are safe choices.

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Who Needs Transcription Services?

You need transcription services. Why you need transcription services is more complicated. Some people need transcriptions for record keeping, others need to digest and analyse large amounts of recorded information. Listening to audio is slow, and analysis can be difficult without the information on paper.

Transcription Services for Market Research

It is critical for market research firms to create and access detailed accounts of focus groups and in-depth interviews. Video and audio recording is great, but it is slow to sift through. Access to reliable human transcription services that pick up small details, contextually understand ‘meaning’, and accurately distinguish between multiple speakers is key to the industry. When looking for transcription services for market research, you should place a premium on accuracy, contextual understanding, data security and fast turnarounds. You can also create transcription partnerships, in order to ensure you are always delivered the outcomes you need. 

Legal Transcription Services

The legal industry generates a lot of records through depositions, interviews, and discovery. It is critical for both record-keeping, in-court evidence, and review to generate a large volume of high-quality and timestamped transcripts. Under certain circumstances, third-party legal transcriptions are a requirement. Confidentiality, accuracy, and due-diligence are of paramount concern. It is important to find transcription partners that will guarantee proofreading and access to transcribers with legal experience in order to get high-quality legal transcripts.

Transcription Services for Academics

Academics and students take a lot of notes. Sometimes making a recording is the best thing to do. For review purposes, academics can benefit from the summary and notes options available from human transcription services. If every detail is needed, academic transcription services provide an answer to that as well.

Corporate and HR Transcription Services

Meetings generate notes. Transcription services enable detailed record keeping and the creation of overview summaries to update senior management. Transcription services for HR can ensure important meetings, such as disciplinary hearings, go smoothly, which can also help protect a company's reputation. Trained live notetakers can even be hired to record meetings as they happen that can help HR departments maintain a level of professionalism and efficiency. 

Transcription Services for TV and Film

The television and film industry need transcription services for both subtitles and closed captioning, along with time-coded post-production scripts. Quality, detail and always-available services allow post-production teams to assess scenes on the go, without having to watch every second. Quality services are key to subtitles and closed captioning. Captions online make content more accessible, increase engagement in boost SEO.

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What Transcription Service Is Right For You?

There are two categories of transcription services: automated speech to text transcription software and human transcription services. To determine what type of transcription service is right for you, you need to ask yourself six questions:

  1. What is the nature of the recording that you need transcribed?
  2. How accurate and professional does your end product need to be?
  3. How sensitive is the information you are having transcribed?
  4. What is your budget?
  5. Do you want something other than a verbatim transcript?
  6. How much time are you willing to spend reviewing the final transcript?

The nature of the recording and your involvement in finishing touches

If you need to transcribe a complex recording of poor audio quality, you can basically rule out audio to text automated transcription software. Multiple voices, recordings made over the phone, background noise, complex subjects, accents and (particularly) poor audio quality will produce garbled and often indecipherable content when using automated transcription services. If only one or two of these issues are present, the transcript can be saved by going back through and editing it yourself. Often, however, the data is completely worthless.

If you need a professional and accurate transcript, you should expect to spend some time editing a transcript produced by automated speech to text software no matter how ‘ideal’ the audio file.

Security and safety of your transcription data

If you are having sensitive information transcribed, you should consider high-end human transcription services. Higher fees mean better-paid transcriptionists who are more likely to adhere to professional standards. They are also more likely to be based within your own country. This will improve your ability to pursue privacy violations, and decrease the likelihood that such violations occur.

Types of transcripts that can be delivered

Sometimes you don’t want a verbatim transcript. Sentences that are easy to understand in conversation can be perplexing to read. Often, part of the motivation for transcribing a recording is to increase the speed at which that information can be digested and analysed. If that is the case, you will benefit significantly from an edited version of the transcript. A simple summary of the recording might be even more useful. When using human transcription services, these options are all available to you. As you move away from a verbatim transcript, costs often decrease. If that is what you want, it is a win-win.

Cheap transcription services on a budget

If you are working on a tight budget, you can sometimes find yourself in a jam. Is it possible to get cheap transcription services? Ultimately, quality transcripts are difficult and time-consuming to produce. If circumstances allow you to make recordings in-person with a quality sound recorder, and you can get participants to speak clearly, slowly and one at a time, it may be possible to use cheap automated services. However, you should still be prepared to spend some time editing the transcript.

If transcribing every word isn’t critical, some human transcription services offer ‘notes’ style transcriptions or summaries at lower costs. Accepting slow turnaround times will often bring lower prices. Other transcription services offer bulk discounts or subscription options that will deliver higher value per transcript if the service is used regularly.

If your recording is not suited to automated speech to text transcription software and you have no budget to engage with human transcription services, you can always try to transcribe the audio yourself. Platforms such as oTranscribe provide a free interface that you can use to alter the speed of playback and pause/rewind without leaving the text document. As a guideline for what you are getting into, quality typists with experience transcribing generally spend about 4 minutes transcribing 1 minute of standard-quality audio. Be prepared and allow yourself the necessary time.

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Getting Started With Transcription Services Online

Now that you know everything there is to understand about transcription services, you need to start using transcription services and pick the best transcription company partner. If you have a high-quality/simple recording, are on a budget and have time to experiment, try the free versions of automated services to see if they work. When that fails, look at human transcription services.

If you plan on having a lot of audio transcribed or have started a new job where transcriptions are going to be a regular part of your life, put in the effort to make a good choice now. Look for opportunities to get bulk transcription discounts or sign up for priority services. If you just have one thing to transcribe, just pick someone. If security and detail are not an issue, pick the cheapest service you can find. You just need to make sure that you aren’t going to get price gouged for an unexpected reason. If you care about specifics, context, and data security, spend a bit more on the premium end of the market. No matter what, always do your research and contact services directly if you have questions.