How long will your transcription take?

When you submit an audio file for transcription, you likely want it returned to you in as fast a time as possible.

You want to have an accurate text of your audio back in your hands without having to wait weeks and weeks for the result.

But, how realistic is a quick turnaround time for transcription?

If you are trying to have one hour of audio transcribed into a text file, how long should you expect to wait?

Before we dive into the actual time you can expect a transcription to take, let’s take a look at some factors that will affect this.

Namely the actual content and quality of the audio itself.


It depends on the quality

If an audio file has poor quality, it will drastically increase the turnaround time for transcription.

This is because it is simply more difficult to identify the speech and parse out what is being said.

Things like wind, broken speech patterns, choppy audio, etc,. can all affect how long a transcription will take.

The content matters as well

The content of an audio file will impact the turnaround time as well.

An audio that features multiple speakers will take longer time to transcribe than an audio which only has a single speaker.

Likewise, an audio that features uncommon dialects or perhaps even singing may take a bit longer to transcribe as well.

These are things to consider when paying for a transcription of your audio file.

How long does one hour of audio transcription take?

If you want to have an audio file transcribed, say perhaps an interview you conducted, you are going to have to choose the method you want to use for this service.

Each different transcription method will have a different outcome and turnaround time.

Automatic transcription services

As speech recognition software becomes more advanced, automated transcription is becoming more viable.

This is where you upload an audio to a service, and an A.I. program transcribes it for you — much like here at Focus on Listening.

Automatic transcription usually only takes around 25 minutes for one hour of audio.

However, it can take up to a full hour as well depending on the audio quality.

You can generally expect around 85-95% accuracy with an automatic transcription service.

Professional transcription

Your other option for getting audio transcribed is to send it off to a professional.

This can be a freelance transcriber or a transcription agency. 

This process takes a bit longer, and in some cases it can take up to 5 – 7 business days to get your transcription back.

This is due to the transcribers having more work in addition to yours.

Manual transcription

Finally, if you don’t feel like shelling out cash, you can simply transcribe the audio yourself.

Manual transcription is very time consuming and can lead to a lot of frustration if you aren’t an experienced transcriber.

It generally takes about six hours to transcribe one hour of audio. However, if the audio is poor quality or difficult to understand, it can take upwards of 10+ hours per one hour of audio.

The main benefit here is that you save money, but you lose time that could be used on other tasks.

In addition, for inexperienced transcribers, accuracy might not be that great.

Final thoughts

In general, it can take anywhere from 25 minutes to a week to have one hour of audio transcribed.

This all depends on the method you choose.

At Focus on Listening we pride ourselves on an excellent automated service, high accuracy, and fast turnaround time.

So, if you have an audio file that you need transcribed, go ahead and test our service for free.

Create an account for free to start transcribing audio to text.

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