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Compare Transcription vs Translation Service Costs

Transcription Service Service Overview

The terms transcription and translation are often mistakenly interchanged. In reality, they couldn’t be more different.

Transcription typically involves converting spoken or recorded words into written form. Often, transcription is used to make a text copy of a speech, presentation, hearing, meeting or audio/video recording. However, it can also be used to reword, paraphrase, summarize or clarify a written document.

The key to transcription is that it’s always monolingual, meaning the spoken words and written text are in the same language.

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How Much Do Transcription Services Cost?

Transcription costs vary from service to service. They also vary based on the complexity of the material. For example, a one-on-one interview will cost less to transcribe than a focus group of four or five people, simply because it’s more difficult to keep track of a conversation among multiple people.

Transcription services can charge by the line, word or page. Some charge by the hour and others charge by the audio minute. Per-line prices tend to run $.10 to $.25, while per-hour prices range from about $50 to $250. By the audio minute, rates tend to run $1 to $2.

Translation Services Overview

Translation is bilingual. It is used to convert text from one language to another - say English to Spanish. For example, a translator might convert a book, reference material, court document or user manual from language to another.

Many people also confuse translation with interpretation, but those term are not synonymous, either. Interpretation refers to the verbal translation of one language to another, allowing people who don’t speak the same language to communicate with one another. For example, an interpreter might be hired in a courtroom setting to repeat the testimony of a Spanish speaker in English.

Translation Services

How Much Do Translation Services Cost?

Most translation services charge by the word. Standard rates range from about $.05 to $.15 per word. More common languages fall on the low end of that price range because it’s easier to find translators, while obscure language fall on the high end.

Some translation services charge by the hour, with rates varying from about $25 to $100 per hour. On the low end of that price range, you’ll get a basic translation without meticulous attention to proper grammar and spelling; the purpose is basic comprehension. On the high end of that price range, you’ll get professional-level translation that has been thoroughly proofread.

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