Transcription service businesses convert live or recorded speech into an electronic, written text document. Companies in the business, legal and medical industries frequently rely on transcription services for accurate record keeping. Transcriptions can be done for audio, video and phone files.

Interested consumers can find a transcription service that meets their needs by considering turnaround time, accuracy, security and price. Services exist to meet every consumer’s need and budget.

Top 10 Most Reviewed Transcription Services

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What features matter most?

Turnaround time

Certain industries need their transcriptions done faster than others. Knowing the general timelines for most transcription companies can make it easy for you to make a decision on which one to choose.

  • Standard: Standard delivery time can range between three days and one week. The price is usually lower for standard delivery time, so it’s a good option if you don’t need your transcription immediately.
  • Overnight: Many transcription services offer overnight or 24-hour delivery. This might come at an additional cost, or it could be part of the general package, depending on the service you are using.
  • Hourly: Some transcription services can have your document ready within hours. This generally comes at a premium price, but it can be worth it if you need at time sensitive transcription.

Accuracy

An inaccurate transcription won’t help your business much. Accuracy is key to any transcription service.

  • Editing/Proofreading: Make sure your transcription service has some form of proofreading/editing protocol in place. This ensures that a professional editor has reviewed your transcription for accuracy.
  • Guarantee: Many transcription services offer a money back guarantee if your document is not returned with a minimal level of accuracy. Find out what their level is and what you can do if that minimum is not met.

Freelance vs. full-time transcriptionists

Many transcription companies hire freelance transcriptionists, while others only hire full-timers. This can make a difference in the accuracy, price and turnaround time for your transcription.

  • Freelance: Freelance transcriptionists work from home and pick and choose which projects they want to work on. A benefit for transcription services using freelancers is that they are able to transcribe a greater volume of work. Services can also charge customers less money per minute because they pay freelancers less than a full-time transcriptionist would demand. One potential downside is that the work might not be as accurate as it could be.
  • Full-time: Full-time transcriptionists have certification and experience transcribing. They can offer more accuracy and efficiency, which is a bonus for transcription services and their clients. They also demand a higher pay, which means transcription services that use full-timers as opposed to freelancers will charge customers more money per minute.

Price

Generally, transcription services charge by the minute. There are a few factors involved in determining your total cost.

  • Length of file: Transcription services generally charge per minute, which means a longer file will cost more. Some services offer a bulk discount for a certain amount of hours, so be sure to do some research if you have a lot of files that need to be transcribed at one time.
  • Turnaround time: Expect to pay more for the fastest turnaround time a service can offer. If you’re trying to save some money, opt for the standard turnaround time.
  • Transcriptionists: Services that hire global freelance transcriptionists tend to charge the lowest amount to businesses since they don’t need to pay their transcriptionists top dollar. They might not be as accurate, so tread wisely if your project demands 100 percent accuracy.
  • Add-ons and customization: Extras like a customized format, time coding and a speaker with an accent will likely cost more. Always be upfront about what is on the file to get a realistic quote for how much your total cost will be.

Privacy/security

When you submit your audio or video file to a transcription service, you want to make sure the information contained in it is kept secure. There are different things to look for to ensure the security and privacy your file deserves.

  • Encryption: Encryption is essential to ensure all digital files and documents are safe from hackers and other security breaches.
  • Nondisclosure agreement: Your transcription service should be ready to sign a nondisclosure agreement. Some services do this automatically, while others only do so upon request.
  • US-based servers: US based transcription services generally keep all information stored on a server within the country, minimizing the chances of an international security breach. Make sure to verify this with your transcription service if you are concerned about keeping your file secure.

Additional features

Some transcription services charge extra for additional features and add-ons.

  • Extra speakers: When an audio file has two or more speakers, it can be more time consuming to figure out which person is speaking and add that into the transcription. Because of this added time, some transcription services charge more for additional speakers. The price can go up for each additional speaker, or they may charge a flat fee for two or more speakers.
  • Time-coding: Time coding (also called time stamping) can be a useful feature for subtitling videos, SEO optimization, panel discussions and legal transcripts because it provides a marker of where in the audio or video the text is found. However, it is more time consuming to add in, so most transcription services will charge an additional fee for time-coded transcriptions.
  • Background noise: Sometimes additional background noise can make it difficult for the transcriptionist to hear the main audio on a file. In some cases, transcription services will charge extra for extreme background noise.

What are different types of transcription services?

Audio

Audio transcription is the process of converting audio files to text format. This is mainly used by legal firms, courts, media, academic institutions and other public relations companies, though other industries may use audio transcription. Audio transcription can be done verbatim, which is a word by word transcription, or clean, in which only the actual message being conveyed in the audio is transcribed, without extras like coughing, laughing or other random noises that appear on the audio file but are not relevant for the transcription.

Phone

Phone transcriptions are dictated using a phone call recording. These are most common among medical professionals, call centers and in legal cases. Accurately recorded phone call transcripts can be accepted as evidence in court in some states.

Video

Video transcription is the process of putting content from film and videos into text format. This usually includes adding captioning, subtitles and time coding, which will cost extra.

Who's it for?

Television and film studios

Television and film studios that need captions and/or subtitles will want to use a transcription service that specializes in captioning/subtitles in multiple languages.

Legal offices

Transcriptions can be important for evidence in court cases and other legal matters. That’s why legal professionals rely on accurate and reliable transcription services.

Medical field

Medical professionals often use transcription services for record keeping. They will want to work with a transcription service that is HIPAA compliant and understand the unique needs of the medical industry.

Students

Students can benefit from transcription services that can transcribe their audio notes into an easy to read text. Some transcription services offer discounts to students.

Journalists

Journalists can save themselves time by having a transcription service transcribe their audio and/or video notes into text.

Company review

  • Speechpad

    Speechpad combines human and computer technology to deliver accurate transcriptions to businesses in several industries. They offer companies fast turnaround time on most orders with flexible options.

    • Best for Speechpad is best for television and film studios and other businesses.

  • iScribed

    iScribed provides translation, transcription, content writing and caption/subtitle services to customers in a variety of industries. They offer fast turnaround time and a 99 percent accuracy rate.

    • Best for iScribed is best for businesses that need transcriptions done in 48 hours or less.

  • World Wide Dictation

    World Wide Dictation is a second-generation family owned business. It began in 1964 to serve the medical field, and today it continues to provide accurate, fast transcriptions to members of the medical field and other industries using state-of-the art technology.

    • Best for World Wide Dictation is best for medical providers.

  • Tigerfish Transcribing

    With over two decades of transcription experience, Tigerfish Transcribing delivers fast and accurate transcriptions to businesses in a wide variety of industries. Their latest feature is Tigerfish Air, which guarantees a fully edited transcription in two hours.

    • Best for Tigerfish is best for businesses in a wide range of industries who need fast transcription services.

  • Verbal Ink

    Vebal Ink has provided accurate and affordable transcripts to thousands of customers around the world since 2003. Their human transcriptionists are U.S.-based for all English speaking projects, and they have a 98 percent or higher accuracy rate on all transcriptions.

    • Best for Verbal Ink is best for all businesses, especially those needing multilingual transcription services.

  • Transcripty

    Based in Santa Monica, CA, Transcripty has provided audio transcription for hundreds of businesses and organizations around the globe since 2014. They guarantee delivery within 48 hours.

    • Best for Transcripty is best for businesses who need fast transcriptions at a low price.

  • Rev

    Rev offers transcription, translation, caption and subtitle services to companies around the world. They offer 24 hour turnaround time and a 99 percent or higher accuracy rate.

    • Best for Same Day Transcription is best for all businesses, members of the military, students and educators.

  • Quick Transcription Service

    Quick Transcription Service (QTS) is an ISO certified company that delivers fast and accurate transcriptions to companies around the world. They provide high quality transcriptions for many industries, including legal, medical, higher education and media.

    • Best for QTS is best for businesses that need multilingual transcriptions.

  • Scribie

    Scribie manages the process of transcription end-to-end and provides quality, accurate transcriptions to businesses worldwide. They offer flexible pricing and turnaround options.

    • Best for Scribie is best for businesses that need bulk orders in all industries.

  • Same Day Transcriptions

    Same Day Transcriptions was founded in 2008 by army veteran Robert J. Foley. It is a VA Verified Service Disabled Veteran Owned small business. It is incorporated in Delaware and has offices in Florida, New Jersey and Michigan.

    • Best for Same Day Transcription is best for all businesses, members of the military, students and educators.