best audio transcription service

How to Choose the Best Audio Transcription Service

You’ve held a business meeting, webinar, or conference and you want to make sure everyone takes all of the information away with them. You hope they pay attention and listen, but is this enough?

Unfortunately, no. The average person only remembers 25% of the content two months later. So how do you make sure that attendees can remember and reference the valuable content from the meeting months later?

The answer is to find the best audio transcription service. This kind of service can create a paper trail of what was discussed in the meeting.

But, how do you find a transcription service worth the money? Fear not, follow our guide to finding the best transcription services available.

Accuracy Rate

A lot of transcription companies make lofty claims about their high level of accuracy. The best way to verify these claims is by asking a colleague or reading reviews about others’ experiences.

Sometimes you can ask the company for a free trial. You’ll send the company a short clip that they will then transcribe so you can see the quality of their work.

When it comes to accuracy, look for qualities such as “100% native English speakers” and “100% done by hand.” This means that the transcriber will be a real person who understands the language, not an automated service or a company that uses voice-to-text software.

Turnaround Time

While super-fast turnaround times are desirable, you don’t want a company to sacrifice quality for speed. Look for a company that has the ability to scale their services to accommodate the size of your project.

Ask the company if they have a RUSH specialty service. You won’t use this all the time, but it is great for that one time when something pops up last minute

What Is the Content?

Some companies will specialize in certain types of audio recordings. The best transcription companies will offer services for all kinds of audio. Here are just a few:

  • podcasts
  • academic research
  • business meetings
  • church sermons
  • webinars
  • interviews
  • conference calls

Old Audio Formats

Find out what type of media the transcription service can work with. There are two elements to this: old tape formats, and new digital formats. If you used an old tape recorder, be sure to use a company that can convert the audio to digital first. It’s like two services in one! Here are a few older tape formats:

  • reel-to-reel tape
  • cassette tape
  • microcassette tape

Once your old tape has been converted, your file will be in one of the formats below.

New Audio Formats

Most new devices record in the MP3 format. However, there are many other formats of digital audio. Any transcription service worth their salt will be able to handle all kinds of audio formats. Here are a few:

  • MP3
  • WMA
  • WAV
  • VOX
  • WMA
  • DSS

And, they should be able to extract audio from different types of media and devices.

  • DVD
  • Audio-CD / CD-ROM
  • flash media
  • DVR

What Will You Get Back?

Don’t forget about the format in which you will get your transcription back. All that work is useless if you can’t use the transcription once it’s returned to you.

Look for a service that offers the transcription in a variety of formats. This ensures that at least one of them will work for your needs.

  • MS Word or WordPerfect
  • RTF
  • HTML
  • TXT

And how do they deliver the transcript?

  • FTP
  • password protected download
  • email
  • on a drive or disk


Pricing works by charging you for each audio-minute that you need transcribing. You will find that pricing varies widely among different companies.

Here’s the thing though, cheaper isn’t always better. The cheaper services will use automation or non-native English speakers to save money. This means that their quality is certainly on the low end. Avoid these companies.

The trick to finding the best company for your transcription needs is to balance price and accuracy.

Hidden Fees

There is a difference between the advertised price and the actual price. Make sure to ask about additional fees that get tacked on after you agree to the service.

You should expect to see two standard pricing levels: verbatim and non-verbatim. Where things get expensive is if the company tries to charge you for multiple speakers, technical content, faster delivery, or heavy accents.

If you aren’t careful, these added fees can take that super low advertised price and multiply it by 100 or 200%. This makes what started out as an affordable service, one that is now very expensive.

Insist on pricing in advance. Everything should be included before work is started. There should be no surprises.


If you are having business meetings, conference calls, or audio with sensitive information transcribed, you will want a company who has the best security. Ask the company what precautions they take to prevent hacks.

Remember, you’ll have to upload your audio to their website, so how are they going to protect your audio during this process. Also ask about how they ensure their transcribers maintain confidentiality.

Customer Service

Look for a company that offers you personalized service and support. You want your transcription service to be more of a partner and less of a vendor.

Ask if the company offers any kind of guarantee. The best companies will have no problem standing behind the quality of their work. This means that they should offer free fixes if you are unhappy with the transcription, for any reason.

Best Audio Transcription Services for Your Needs

When looking for the best audio transcription service you’ll want to find one that fits your format and pricing needs. Try to find one that offers the best service for a price that you can afford.

You don’t want to sacrifice quality for price or fast turnaround time. You’ll also want to choose a service that can ensure your audio stays confidential between you and the service.

No matter what company you choose, they should provide you with personalized customer service. They should work with you as a partner, and not like a hired vendor churning out work.

Interested in having your files transcribed, contact us today and we can help you get started.