This is a reprint of an article I wrote in September 2004. I feel it’s important to bring this topic back up since there are new VAs on the scene all the time, and new clients.
The team and I had an interesting discussion online the other day, which resulted from a client and team member having a different understanding about something. And that something was the time involved, and related costs, in transcribing a recording. What the client hadnâ€™t understood was that there is a difference between an audio hour and a transcription hour, and therefore the fee he thought heâ€™d accepted ended up being considerably more and he and the team member had to negotiate for something that was acceptable to both. After all sheâ€™d put in a lot of hours, but he wasnâ€™t expecting to pay as much. Which brings me to the point of this article.
We always try to explain as best we can what is entailed in any job we take on for our clients, but on occasion that may fail because we havenâ€™t asked you (the client) enough questions or perhaps the other way around.
In transcription work there is a vast difference between the audio hour (the recording) and the transcription hour (the typed manuscript) because the ratio between the two can be anywhere between 1:3 â€“ 1:6, i.e. it could take up to 6 hours to type one hour of recording (worst scenario). The reasons for this are many and include:
* Speed and clarity of speech
* Background noise
* More than one voice speaking
* Poor quality recording.
Experienced transcriptionists who are also fast typists may charge somewhat more per transcription hour than another who types slower, but it usually works out much the same in cost to the client. If you (the client) get quotes for transcription work that vary vastly however, then it is worth asking questions why â€“ the difference may well be that some transcriptionists charge by the audio hour (much higher rate) than by the transcription hour. The first gives you a guaranteed price; the second gives you an approximate price for the completed job, however if the work took fewer hours than more, you could end up with change in your pocket.
Perhaps in your own industry you find client understanding of what you do may also differ considerably and it is important that we all help to educate each other in our particular specialties. There have been times when Iâ€™ve spoken to people on the phone about something I didnâ€™t understand and Iâ€™ve had to remind them that they know their own business, and I donâ€™t and they need to explain it to me in a way that helps me to understand. Unfortunately often these people are new staff, or in a role that has vast turnovers of staff with hurried training, and therefore seem to be inexperienced or untrained in explaining properly how something works or worse, they assume the customer knows. The customer doesnâ€™t always know and we should never assume they do. That doesnâ€™t mean we treat them like theyâ€™re simple or an idiot, but rather we should take time to ask them do they understand thatâ€¦â€¦â€¦..and quickly and clearly explain what is involved. It makes for a happier life all round for everyone involved. KMT
audio transcription, transcribing, digital transcription, audio hour