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Standard audio tapes have been used for decades to produce reasonable recordings, although clients are now switching to digital to take advantage of the superior quality. We are happy to continue to provide an audio tape transcription service for as long as our clients need it, and the equipment is still available. Standard audio cassettes can still provide a decent quality sound when used in good recording equipment, with an external microphone in a quiet environment.

Our transcription service regularly supports clients who use audio cassettes for their dictation, research interviews (either one-to-one, with multiple participants or telephone recordings), teleconferences, oral history transcripts, meetings, speeches or lectures. We also still provide mini tape and micro-cassette transcription services.

Tape quality can be very variable and we would advise using a reputable brand of tape. All 'physical' tapes are prone to breakages, especially when reused many times, but it's worth remembering that a standard audio tape (C60 or C90) will always produce a far clearer recording than either a mini tape or micro cassette. All audio tapes can suffer from background hiss which can be alleviated somewhat by using a noise reduction system such as Dolby, DBX or NR. If the recording you make suffers from tape hiss, is recorded in a noisy environment, or without an external microphone, the voices will be difficult to hear and the time taken in transcribing will increase. Extra transcription time equals extra costs. So it's in the interests of every client to ensure they make the clearest possible recordings. Take a look at our Guidelines and Equipment sections for advice on how to make the best of your audio tape recordings, with separate guidelines for micro cassettes and mini tapes.

Transcription times are dealt with in more detail elsewhere but, briefly, if you provide a clear quality recording, it will take between 4 to 6 hours to transcribe ONE hour of recording. This assumes the recording to be either dictation, a speech, or a one-to-one interview. Meetings, focus groups or interviews with several participants will always take longer, between 6 to 8 hours to transcribe ONE hour of recording.

The following factors influence the time taken to transcribe any recording, and therefore the cost:

  • The quality of the recording
  • Whether an external microphone is used
  • The clarity and number of voices
  • Whether you require speakers to be identified
  • The speed at which they are talking
  • Whether they speak in coherent sentences
  • The level of background noise
  • The degree of regional accents
  • The amount of industry specific or technical terminology involved


Audio Tape Transcription Services

Price Per

Audio Minute

Dictation transcription services
Interview transcription services (one-to-one or one-to-two participants)
Conference transcription services - lectures, speeches, teleconferences (up to four participants)
Conference transcription services including Q&As, breakout sessions, roundtable discussions, meetings, vox pops or focus groups transcription, workshops, teleconferences (over four participants), time-stamped transcripts
All prices are in £ Sterling and VAT is NOT applicable. Discounts are available for universities, students and charities but this applies ONLY to digital recordings.

We would be happy to advise if you're considering switching to a digital system - please see our comparison of digital and analogue recordings.

ALL RECORDINGS are listened to a second time, Internet research is carried out to identify names or terminology, and all transcripts are proofread by the Director, Irene Boston, before being sent to clients. There is no extra charge for this service. Not all transcription companies do this - some don't even proofread so make sure you ask the right questions before choosing a service.

Free Digital Recording - we convert all audio tapes to digital audio files for ease of transcription. This is only possible with a clear quality recording. As part of our service, we offer our clients the digital version of their recording free of charge, which can be sent via our secure file transfer service, provided the client has Broadband.

This means we have not only transcribed from the digital recording, reducing the strain of stopping and starting your tape, but it means that clients can prolong the life of their recordings, and safeguard against tape breakages in the future by saving that digital recording to their PC. It also means we can provide time markers on the transcript which you can then easily relocate on the digital recording, in order to clarify any inaudible sections. This is not easy on an analogue recording as each tape recorder will have a different 'counter' system, making any time markers inaccurate.

However, this will only work IF your original tape is of good quality. If your recording contains nothing but hiss or background noise, then a second generation recording of that, even on digital, will only magnify the distortions and there's really no point trying. We will advise you whether we believe your recording is clear enough for us to rerecord. Digital recordings are deleted from our system a week after the transcripts are completed, unless requested earlier by our clients - thus safeguarding confidentiality.

We pride ourselves on our project management experience for large scale projects, but would recommend giving us as much advance notice of your requirements as possible. This allows us to reserve space for you in our schedule. Most established transcription companies have a long list of regular customers and to suddenly find a block of free space for a large project can be difficult. So book your transcription company in advance, the same way you would an interview schedule.

Our default transcript style is Intelligent Verbatim as that is the most cost effective method of transcription. Please read our definitions of Complete Verbatim, Intelligent Verbatim and Edited Transcript to choose which format is most suitable for your needs. We use a standard format and layout for all transcripts but should you wish for something different, please let us know. As with all our transcriptions, we provide a transcript code for each document to signify areas which are inaudible or unclear. We strongly advise sending tapes using a traceable method, such as Registered Post, but please send us ONLY the originals. Copies will be poorer quality, and this will increase transcription time and costs.

We hope this provides you with a thorough overview of our audio tape transcription services. Please email or contact us on 01485 543746 for a detailed quote and turnaround times based on our current schedule, or browse our Overview and FAQ pages. We invite you to read our Testimonial page to gain an idea of the quality of our service.

Audio tape clean up and restoration - If your analogue recordings have deteriorated over time and are no longer clearly audible and would benefit from being cleaned up before being transcribed, we recommend you contact the Oxford Duplication Centre. Past clients have found their service to be invaluable, reasonably priced, helpful and professional.

They are specialists within the fields of Film Video Audio Scan, with a specialist service in audio cassette transfers. Utilising our Pro-Tools set up, they can convert practically any format of audio tape, micro cassette, audio reel to reel, vinyl and much more to digital audio files. Their services are highly recommended in Oxfordshire and the UK and hold 5 star testimonials.

Please contact 01865 457000 or email
Oxford Duplication Centre 29 Banbury Road Kidlington Oxfordshire OX5 1AQ

Our AUDIO TAPE TRANSCRIPTION SERVICES includes standard analogue audio tapes and audio cassettes, as well as mini tape or mini cassette transcription or micro cassettes or micro tape transcription. Audio tape transcription can be provided for dictation, university research interviews, oral history transcriptions, conferences, lectures, telephone interviews, teleconferences and focus groups. Analogue transcription services are also referred to as audio transcription services, standard audio cassette tape transcribing, transcribe audio tapes, audio tape interview transcription. Different transcription styles are available including Intelligent Verbatim Transcription, Complete Verbatim Transcription, Edited Transcription and customised transcription styles for Oral History projects and Focus Groups.

We are pleased to offer free Advice Pages: Equipment FAQs Overview Transcription Times and free Guidelines for facilitating and recording: Conferences Dictation Digital Audio / Minidiscs Focus Groups / Forums Interviews Lectures / Speeches / Presentations Market Research Vox Pops Oral History Interview Projects Podcasts Audio Tapes Teleconferences / Telephone Interviews Digital DVD / Video Tapes Webcasts Workshops. Our Home Page provides an overview of the wide range of transcription services we provide.

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