Transcribing Services

My favorite transcriber, an ex-IBM programmer in Rhode Island, retired not long ago. This left me without a proven way to turn customer telephone interviews into text.

Then, while reading the SEOMoz blog, I note that each of their Whiteboard Friday series of instructional videos has accompanying transcription. (This is wonderful on its own – scan the text before deciding whether to watch the video. And it helps a little bit with onpage SEO.)

Anyhow, there is a credits link to…



The Speechpad website is schizophrenic. On the one hand it has easy registration and several ways to send them your audio.

It almost seems like this is a slick new web app.

On the other hand, it does a half-baked job of converting visitors into buyers. Visit their site and the guessing begins. Who are they? What does it cost? What is the turnaround time? Where are the FAQ? What are they writing on their blog? (“Coming Soon.”) What guarantees do they offer? None of this is present.

It is a very mysterious experience.


Despite that, I took a flyer and voice-recorded two minutes of From Poverty to Prosperity (recommended! by Arnold Kling and Nick Schulz at AEI). I sent it over to Speechpad and within a day I had a very accurate transcription. Cost? $0.00. They treated it as a spec job, I gather.

A followup email from them said their rates were flexible, and to for future transcriptions to email them regarding budget and turnaround.

On also learns that SpeechInk is the company behind the Speechpad service. The SpeechInk website has all the missing pieces, most notably rates. Simple transcriptions begin at $1.75 a minute, a rate which goes up with the complexity of the recording and down with the volume of transcriptions.  This is somewhat less than what I paid the ex-programmer in Rhode Island.

Speechpad seems worth a go with future transcriptions — I just wonder what they were thinking when they set up a half-finished brand and website.