How long does it take to transcribe an hour of tape? [Number of characters/work time/market price]

Dec. 27, 2023

How long does it take to transcribe an hour of tape? [Number of characters/work time/market price] | AI character transcription service - Mr. Transcription

I want to shorten the time it takes to transcribe a tape, even if it's just one minute or one second.

Anyone who has been asked to do this by their boss at work, or someone who does transcription as a side job, probably thinks so.

However, if you are too anxious to finish quickly, you will end up making more mistakes and misspellings.

In the end, it may take more time than normal work.


I wonder if other people are transcribing tapes more efficiently...

There are probably many people who have such doubts.

Therefore, this time, I have put together a guideline for a one-hour tape transcription (number of characters, working time, market price) to help people like you.

We will also explain the main reasons why tape transcription (transcription) takes time and solutions, so reading this article will make work efficiency and process management much easier.

Please watch till the end.

Tape transcription (transcription) Number of characters per hour, working time, market price

First, let's look at the number of characters, work time, and market price for an hour's tape transcription .

How much does the hour-long audio you're transcribing be considered work?

How many characters per hour for interviews and minutes?


The average number of characters per hour of audio is said to be around 15,000 to 20,000 characters .

However, this is just an average (estimate).

If you are an elderly person who speaks slowly, the number of characters will be less, around 13,000 characters, and if you are having a conversation with friends, who tend to speak quickly, the number of characters can be as long as 25,000 characters.

In conversations with a lot of silence, the number of characters can be drastically reduced.

When transcribing a tape for work, it is recommended to check in advance what the content is and who is speaking .

How long does it take to transcribe an hour of audio?

How long does it take to transcribe an hour of audio?

When typing on a keyboard, the time it takes to transcribe an average number of characters is:

1 hour of sound source: about 4 hours

It is said that

Let's actually calculate it.

  • For a 1-hour interview: Average character count 17,500 characters
  • Number of characters that can be entered in 1 minute: 70 characters (word processor certification level 1 level)
  • 17500 characters ÷ 70 characters = 250 minutes

In this way, even with simple calculations, it would take 250 minutes = approximately 4 hours to transcribe a one-hour interview.

If there are typos, mishearings, poor sound quality, or having to listen to the song over and over again, it can take 7 to 10 hours .

If the recording is in good condition, such as a lecture, the work can be done in as little as 3 hours.

However, if the sound quality is poor or there are many speakers, it may take 7 to 10 hours. The number of characters will be approximately 16,000 to 20,000.


If someone who is new to tape transcription or someone who is not used to typing is given a low-cost contract for a transcription request with a short turnaround time, it can be difficult.

What is the average price for accepting (requesting) a job for "one hour of tape transcription"?

When outsourcing tape transcription (transcription), there are three main methods:

  • Automatic transcription by AI
  • Make a request to an individual on a crowdsourcing site
  • Manual transcription by a specialized company

Prices are often quoted in 1-minute increments, so if you do a simple calculation,

  • AI: (150 yen to 2,400 yen/1 hour)
  • Crowdsourcing (360 yen to 12,000 yen/1 hour)
  • Specialist (6,480 yen - 48,000 yen/1 hour)

It will look like this.

*Please use this as a guideline only, as it will vary depending on the specialty of the content and delivery date.

If you are in the position of accepting a job, in most cases the word count, remuneration, delivery date, etc. have already been determined for publicly available jobs, so you will have to look for one that matches the conditions.

It is best to refer to the market prices above and avoid jobs that are too cheap or that pay unnaturally too high .

Three reasons why tape transcription takes time

Three reasons why tape transcription takes time

It takes 4 hours to transcribe 1 hour of audio, which is fast. It would cost me many times more than that...


If you look at the average (estimate) written above and feel depressed, don't worry.

Here we will introduce the reasons why tape transcription (transcription) takes time .

  1. The quality of the original audio data is low
  2. The content is specialized (lots of technical terms)
  3. typing speed is slow

These are the three main factors. I will explain each in detail.

1. The quality of the original audio data is low.

If the important speaker's voice is low or muffled and difficult to hear, it may be necessary to play it many times, or there will be many missed or misheard sounds, which will slow down the work speed. .

The same goes for audio data that contains surrounding environmental sounds and noise.


Depending on the quality of the audio data, the work time can change many times over , so be careful not to easily promise a short delivery date until you have actually listened to and confirmed the audio.

2.The content is specialized (lots of technical terms)

Keywords you are unfamiliar with, conversations about fields you don't know, etc. In this case, there will be cases where the tape cannot be transcribed accurately no matter how many times you listen to it.

In addition to getting into the habit of voraciously gathering all kinds of knowledge and information on a regular basis, you should also take precautions such as listening to the audio data several times in advance and checking out any areas of concern .

3. Typing speed is slow

Here is something that is often overlooked.

If your typing speed and audio playback speed don't match , you'll have to pause and stop many times, resulting in a huge loss of time.

However, if you try to force your typing speed to be faster, you will end up making more typos, which is not efficient. Let's explore the optimal balance.

5 tips for increasing efficiency in transcribing as many characters as possible in the shortest possible time

white laptop


I understand why it takes so long, but how can I actually transcribe it efficiently?

For those of you who have such questions, we will introduce 5 specific techniques to improve the efficiency of tape transcription (transcription) .

  1. Clear audio data
  2. Have a glossary prepared in advance
  3. Master touch typing
  4. Use a dedicated player or high-performance earphones
  5. Utilize AI transcription tools

The five mentioned above will be discussed here. I will explain each in detail.

1. Clear audio data

Clear audio data

Audio quality is important in order to complete tape transcription in a short time.

When you receive an audio file to be transcribed from a tape, you should not immediately start transcribing it, but instead use specialized noise removal software to eliminate any disturbing sounds in advance.

If the speaker's voice is low, it would be a good idea to adjust the volume at the same time.


Furthermore, if you know your typing speed, you can create the data at this point with the playback speed slowed down accordingly , so that your work can proceed more smoothly.

*Also make a backup of the file before noise removal or speed editing.

2. Have a glossary prepared in advance

If you receive a job of transcribing tapes as a side job, etc., when communicating with the request

  • General content (agenda, theme, etc.)
  • List of technical terms (with simple explanations)

It would be a good idea to have as much detailed information as possible for these two items.

There is also a way to check only the parts you don't understand later, but this often requires more time and effort, so asking in advance will likely save you a lot of time overall.

It will be easier to get the client to cooperate if you tell them, ``This is necessary in order to deliver accurate data as quickly as possible.''

3. Master touch typing

Master touch typing

The skill most directly connected to improving the efficiency of tape transcription (transcription) is touch typing (blind touch) .

It's useful for all kinds of work that involves using a computer, so there's no harm in training it even if you don't do transcription .

There are a variety of training tools available, including free typing apps and typing software with a lot of gameplay, so choose the one that suits you.

4. Use a dedicated player or high-performance earphones

Do you play the audio data with a regular music player app when transcribing it?

In fact, there is a useful tool called a ``transcription player'' for transcribing tapes.

Not only can you pause/play, fast forward/rewind with one touch, but you can also edit the audio itself, and some even have a transcription editor.

We also recommend using earphones/headphones that are specialized for audio playback or equipped with a noise canceling function .

You can concentrate only on listening without worrying about surrounding noise.

Please try once.

5. Utilize AI transcription tools

Use AI transcription tools

The last tool we recommend is “AI transcription.”

When transcribing tapes, there is no need to do all the work manually.

In recent years, the performance of AI speech recognition has improved so much that even individuals can easily use tools that automatically convert voice data into text.

By uploading the recorded audio to an AI transcription service and transcribing it to tape , you can save an hour or two at once compared to typing it into a keyboard and transcribing it.

We will introduce recommended AI transcription services below, so please give them a try.

Reduce transcription time with useful tools

If you can master the tools introduced above, the efficiency of tape transcription will increase dramatically.

Before manually transcribing the audio data, you can load the audio data into a dedicated transcription tool and transcribe it automatically, which allows you to easily understand the whole thing, so you can kill two birds with one stone.

In some cases, a product can be delivered to a quality that can be delivered with just a few minor modifications.


7 tips to dramatically improve the efficiency of transcription (tape transcription) | Mr. Transcription

5 Recommended Tape Transcription Tools/Apps

Finally, we will introduce tools and apps to speed up tape transcription!

From AI transcription services to recommended earphones, try out tools and apps that can cut your transcription time by an hour or more.

1. Mr. Transcription

Mr. Transcription

The first thing we recommend is an AI transcription service.

Mr. Transcription is a transcription (tape) service that automatically converts audio files into text using AI.

Not only is the recognition accuracy very high, but you can also choose from two types of the latest AI,

  • PerfectVoice: 1 hour of audio can be transcribed in about 10 minutes, supports 100 languages
  • AmiVoice: Has a speaker separation function (tape transcription for each person who spoke), so you can also record meeting minutes.

In this way, you can use it conveniently depending on your area of ​​expertise and the situation where you want to transcribe the tape.

Supported files include not only audio, but also videos, images, and PDF transcription.

You don't need to register or log in, and you can use it for free for up to one minute , so it's important to check the quality of the transcription (tape transcription) before you use it.

It has such high performance that you can sometimes achieve a quality that can be delivered with just a few tweaks, so if you are at a loss as to how to transcribe it, why not give it a try?

2.Express Scribe

Express Scribe

Express Scribe is a tape transcription player that is compatible with both Windows and Mac OS.

In addition to basic functions such as changing the playback speed without changing the pitch and controlling playback using hotkeys, it also supports operation using a USB foot pedal.

In addition to audio data, the compatible files can also play videos .

Automatic transcription is also possible if speech recognition software is installed on your computer.

*Please note that by default, the OS default voice recognition system is used, so the accuracy is not very high.

Express Scribe

3.Sound Engine


This is software for editing the audio file itself .

  • Delete all unnecessary parts
  • Remove disturbing noise
  • Volume/speed adjustment

It mainly has these functions.

Express Scribe, which I referred to above, also has a noise removal function, but this specialized software seems to be more accurate.

You can edit multiple audio files at once, which is useful when dealing with large amounts of data at work.

SoundEngine Free/Pro



Enno is an app called a "grammar proofing tool" .

It has a function that automatically detects typos, misspellings, and expression errors in sentences.

When you are asked to format the text for transcription work, using these tools can greatly reduce the effort of revising the text.

It is also useful for discovering typos, etc., even when you are only working on drafting and removing fluff.

Although the software is free to use, its accuracy is relatively high, but if you are looking for a more serious high-performance tool, there are also paid services such as ``Just Right! Pro'' and ``Bunken''. We also recommend that you consider it.

5. AirPods Pro

AirPods Pro

The last tape transcribing goods we will introduce are earphones .

The recommended earphones are AirPods Pro .

It goes without saying that these are Apple's genuine wireless earphones with noise canceling, and are suitable for listening to audio as there is no peculiar tuning.

Furthermore, since it is equipped with an automatic ear detection function , there is also a function that allows you to pause and play audio by putting on and taking off the earphones.

If you use the live listening function, you can also use it like a sound collector.

This may be useful for interviews in adverse environments.

Of course, since these are genuine Apple earphones, your ears won't get tired even if you wear them for more than an hour.

AirPods Pro

How to save time on 1-hour tape transcription Summary

This time, we have summarized the approximate time and number of characters it takes to transcribe one hour of audio to tape, and explained how to proceed with the work as efficiently as possible.

Finally, I would like to review five points for increasing efficiency .

  • Clear audio data: noise removal/volume/speed adjustment
  • Have a dictionary prepared in advance: Request it as early as possible.
  • Master touch typing: It's a versatile skill, so it's recommended to learn it.
  • Use a dedicated player or high-performance earphones: Immediately improve tape transcription efficiency
  • Utilize AI transcription tools: Realize fundamental time savings with the power of AI

By paying attention to these points, even those who have suddenly started work without much preparation will realize how much time they were wasting by putting in a little effort. maybe.

Even now, while we are doing this, precious time is passing by and disappearing moment by moment.

Even if you start for free, you can instantly reduce the time you spend transcribing tapes.

Please give it a try.

■ AI transcription service "Mr. Transscription"

"Mr. Transcription" is an online transcription tool that can be used from zero initial cost and 1,000 yen per month (* free version available).

  • Supports more than 20 file formats such as audio, video, and images
  • Can be used from both PC and smartphone
  • Supports technical terms such as medical care, IT, and long-term care
  • Supports creation of subtitle files and speaker separation
  • Supports transcription in approximately 99 languages ​​including English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, French, Italian, etc.

To use it, just upload the audio file from the site. Transcription text is available in seconds to tens of minutes.
You can use it for free if you transcribe it for up to 10 minutes, so please try it once.

It is "Mr. Transcription" who can easily transcribe from audio, video, and images. Transcription allows you to transcribe for up to 10 minutes for free. You can copy, download, search, delete, etc. the transcribed text. You can also create subtitle files, which is ideal for transcription of interview videos.
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