Is Hiring a Transcription Company Really Faster Than Doing it Myself?

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In the world of transcriptions, there’s one thing we hear quite a lot, and that is, ‘Well, I could probably do it faster myself.’ This is a widely held belief, and most people think that transcription can’t possibly take very long. After all, if you only have an hour of audio, shouldn’t it only take you about an hour and a half to transcribe it? The short and simple answer to that is ‘No’.

In this blog we want to explain why transcription takes more time than you would expect, and why hiring a transcription company to do the transcribing for you will indeed be faster than doing it yourself.

Let’s Look at the Data…

Transcription is not always a one-size-fits-all thing, and various factors can impact how long it takes someone to transcribe an audio or video file. As a general rule of thumb, we find that it can take even an experienced transcriber around 6 hours to transcribe 1 hour of clear audio. This can be done a little faster by an expert professional transcriber who knows the subject matter well, but for someone with less experience or skill, or if the audio quality is less than ideal, this could easily be doubled! That might seem like a long time until you consider the process. A transcriber will need to start and then stop the recording very frequently – often after every few words – as they type what they have just heard. Then they’ll need to rewind a little to check that they correctly typed what was spoken, making any necessary corrections, before starting again from where they left off. All of this adds up to a surprising amount of time.

Here are just some of the things that can impact how long transcribing a recording could take:

  • Knowledge of the subject matter in the recording, and the experience of the transcriber
  • The transcriber’s typing speed and accuracy
  • The hardware and software used for recording the original content as well as for controlling the playback of the audio during transcription (both are more important than one would think)
  • The quality of the original audio or video file
  • Background noises such as machinery, traffic, voices in a public space, babies crying, etc., will all make hearing every word more difficult
  • Any regional accents or local sayings/phrases that are unfamiliar to the transcriber
  • The number of speakers in the conversation, and if they are speaking over each other
  • The time needed to research unfamiliar terms such as place names or industry-specific terminology
  • How coherent the speakers are – for example if speakers slur their words, more attention is needed to ensure that what is captured is correct
  • The time required for editing and proofreading, including checking the transcript for mistakes and mishears, and that everything written is accurate when compared with the original recording

It’s easy to see that as more of these factors come into play in your audio file, it will extend the time needed for you or someone else to transcribe it.

What’s the Alternative?

Consider using a professional transcription company which has a team of expert transcribers who do this type of work every day. It may well be the case that your transcription project is required in a very short turnaround time, and when choosing a professional transcription company, you need to ensure that they can work accurately and according to your schedule. Your recordings are crucial and significant to your industry, and so you need a professional company that recognises and respects that importance.

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At McGowan Transcriptions we appreciate the need for timely completion, and we usually aim for a 24-hour turnaround for all transcription projects from the time we receive it. In fact, our team of highly skilled professional transcribers can usually get that same 1 hour of audio expertly transcribed in around 4 hours before passing it on to our experienced quality control team. We’re dedicated to reaching all our clients’ deadlines on time, without compromising on quality and accuracy. In over 30 years we’ve never missed a client deadline – not even once! Our client feedback speaks for itself.

Why You Should Choose a Professional Transcription Company

Ultimately, 3 things make a professional transcription company faster and more accurate when transcribing spoken audio content:


While it’s true that you could transcribe an audio or video file with just a computer, a keyboard and a mouse, along with basic audio playback and word-processing software, it’s most definitely not the most effective way to do it. When you constantly have to use the mouse to click back and forth through the audio, this repeated action alone takes up a lot more time than you would think and can add anything from 15 to 20 minutes of your time for every hour of audio content. A professional transcription company invests in the right equipment for their teams to ensure they can transcribe quickly and efficiently without wasting time. This includes high-quality computers that can run a wide range of programs, transcription software that can play many recorded file types with pinpoint timestamping precision, headsets, foot pedals (which pause and start the audio by tapping your foot so that you can continue typing uninterrupted), countless technical dictionaries, and more. Our professional transcribers are fully trained in using their equipment. All of this means that a professional transcriber can transcribe more audio recordings during their normal working day than someone without access to these vital tools.


Professional transcribers make their living by being experts in their field. Practice makes perfect, and the team at McGowan Transcriptions have a combined 46 million minutes’ worth of audio transcriptions under their belt. Imagine that! Keeping up to date with the latest software, terminology, and acronyms – and being phenomenal at their job – means they can be more accurate, work at a faster pace, and understand phrases and subtle nuances that someone else might not necessarily get.

Dedicated Time:

At the end of the day, getting your transcription project done isn’t the only thing you have on your to-do list. You’re likely to have many other important tasks that need your attention, not to mention all the unplanned events that happen during any workday such as the phone ringing, someone popping into your office for a chat, or emails pinging. There are lots of distractions around, so it’s likely you won’t be able to focus all your attention on getting your transcription project finished. This is one of the reasons it can take busy individuals a few days to complete even a short transcription. However, our team of professional transcribers are focused solely on transcribing audio and video files, all day every day. This means they can give your transcription project their full attention and have it done as fast and as accurately as possible, with no distractions or delays.

At McGowan Transcriptions, we’re incredibly proud of our 30-year record for meeting client deadlines. We work hard to make sure we always deliver. Our dedicated transcription team are on hand to take transcription projects off your plate and give you the freedom and peace of mind to work on other things, confident that it will be finished and in your inbox before you know it. For more information, just get in touch with the team today. Call 080015883747 or email

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Blog written by The OutSec Team