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Thursday, March 11, 2021

How much to charge for transcription services in India: Writers and Journalists

#LongPostAlert #howtochargefortranscriptioninIndia #writers #journalists 

Taking off from my previous #longpost about how much freelance writers, photographers, artists, designers and editors should charge for their work in India, here's another guide to transcription. The current trend even for college research is to get all interviews on video. This creates a lot of footage that you have to sift through for research, quotes or data for your stories, books, infographics, etc. How do you know how much to charge when someone asks you for your transcription services? 10 minutes of video takes 50 minutes to an hour to transcribe. That is, if it's one single language. That means, you charge an hourly rate. Work it out. A 60 minute video will take you say at least six to seven hours to transcribe (I am talking about top-quality transcription). Maybe less, but you're a human so you need to take breaks for those aches. 

Most Indians, even on camera, speak a mix of two or three languages. There'll be English, some Hindi and a smattering of words from any of the regional languages. There maybe more. The more the languages you hear in the video, the more difficult it becomes to transcribe because the sound, words and tones keep changing. I am talking about only transcription here. You may transliterate or transcribe, as your role deems fit. The challenge is how long it will take to do that. If there's too much of Hinglish, bear in mind that you're transcribing two languages. It costs extra, depending on how long the tape and how much you have to strain. You could mark up 20-50%. 

Also, many clients want transcription done perfectly but in a hurry. If you can maintain quality and speed, you may very well get paid for it. Charge per hour you put in. It can be anywhere from Rs 800-2000 an hour depending on your experience. If, for some reason, you cannot tell a client how long it will take for you to do the transcription (as it happens with a lot of academic institutions, where you might have 50 two-hour videos to go through over months), either ask for a monthly fixed-rate or fix a rate for per hour of video, for example, for an hour's video footage, you charge about Rs 2000+. Again, I am talking about English-language transcription but I see no reason why you should be paid less in any other language. Institutions have budgets so they may not be willing to pay wholesome. Work with that. Quantify what you can deliver over a time period and create a payment schedule that keeps you and your morale afloat. I hope people who opt to outsource transcription services understand that there's a lot of work that goes into it and so they must pay.

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