How do transcription services bill for their services?

No matter what method of billing or transcription rate structure is used, there are certain questions that should be addressed.

  • How does the transcription service charge?
    • By the word?
    • By the line?
  • By the page?
  • By the hour?
  • By the project?

When transcription rates are quoted for any of these billing methods, questions should be raised, such as:

  • How does the transcription service define length of words? Average number of words per line? Per page?
  • How many lines are on a double-spaced page? (There is a major difference between 24 and 26 lines per page – 8.3% to be precise.)
  • Does the transcription service use 10-point, 12-point or larger font size?
  • What margins do they use? 1″ all around? 1 1/2″ left margin, 1 1/2″ bottom margin, 1″ top and right margins?
  • How fast do their transcriptionists type?
  • If the audio is less than stellar quality, does the transcription service still charge the same rate?
  • If they charge by the project, will they guarantee their bid, or insert a “not to exceed clause” in their contract?
  • What premium does the transcription service charge for rush or emergency jobs?
  • If by the page, do they charge extra for less than stellar audio?
  • If they charge by the page, who eats the extra time for additional audio – the company or the transcriptionist? (It’s a loaded question.)


Low transcription rates – whether they be by the word, line, page or hour – don’t necessarily mean lowest costs.