Paying someone to transcribe audio. Is it worth the money?

Just payed someone $40 to transcribe an hour long podcast. Was it worth the money? I’m not sure.
Also if anyone is interested I can email you the text file. (German)

How do you guys feel about paying for transcribed audio? I probably won’t be doing it too often myself.

It depends on how much you were interested in that specific podcast. If I didn’t have a very strong interest, I would simply pick free available ones, since there are so many free stuff in the internet and many videos with subtitles, like the EASY LANGUAGES series(their German series is probably the one with most episodes available).
However I already asked a friend that I was doing a language exchange to transcribe something for me (in Hindi) but it wasn’t an hour long. Maybe you can do the same with a language partner and save money if you want to keep using that method.

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I have tried a few AI audio transcription services (paid) and the results were disappointing. The big problem is they do not have the punctuation that makes writing well … readable. I probably could go back to some of them and see if they were accurate. The services also attempt to separate the voices of the different speakers, but I really don’t remember/know how well it worked.

One thing I have also done is using Google Doc’s voice transcription. I set the mic to be my line out. Start text to speech and start the podcast. It works surprisingly well and is free. Basically comparable to the paid services, without any attempt to split speakers.

In general, it’s not something I would pay to do often (or ever). IMO it’s a little too expensive for the output. For a similar price I could get an audiobook/ebook that might be 15+ hours of content and a couple hundred thousand words. To overcome that scale the content would have to be really compelling to me beyond other places I could put my money to engage with content.

I’ve been trying to think of what I would pay for today, and the only I can think of would be a podcast of Magnus Carlsen talking about Chess in Norwegian. Ideally some kind of “troll” topic, but serious would be awesome too!


Not worth it. For the same price tag, I can easily buy many books of Angelika Bohn on kindle and import them here on Lingq. And, their corresponding audio on Audible. Her depicted German in those books is closer to what I hear from native German speakers. They are written in informal language. For me, they carry more value. Spend your money wisely.


Yeah, I completely agree for the same price you can get way more content. I’ll check her out!

I have tried happyscribe a lot of times, and I’m never really happy with it. It bugs me when they get the words wrong and punctuation wrong. I definitely wont be using it anymore.

Yeah I Agree audiobooks, though expensive offer much more content.

Does Magnus have a podcast in Norwegian? That would be so awesome!
Do you play chess? We should play! I’m quite a beginner though.

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Jeg tror ikke at det finns, men jeg har søkt i dag og funnet «Sjakksnakk» på norsk YouTube-kanalen. Nå har jeg lyttet til det her Sjakksnakk om Carlsen-Caruana (før parti 12) med Jon Ludvig Hammer - YouTube

Jeg er åpen til muligheten å spille sjakk, men jeg er også en begynner. Jeg liker TCEC-en (Top Chess Engine Championship), og ser på det nesten hver dag (når jeg jobber).

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To me it’s only worthwhile if I would plan to re-use the content. Since I can’t imagine really wanting to go over the same content more than a couple of times, the price to usefulness ratio is too high. One can find enough content that does have transcript. Granted it would be fabulous if this could be done much cheaper for content one really wants to listen/read. Happyscribe has an automatic service which I found works pretty good for German (YMMV with other languages). It does have punctuation. It also has a really cool editor and will mark things it thinks it doesn’t have full confidence in its translation.

The automatic translation is 20 cents a minute.

Still, that’s a little much for my taste, but may be good for the occasional transcription of content you really want to see a transcription for.

They do have a free trial you can do if you want to see if you like it. Maybe compare against the $40 version you have (although the trial may be less than one hour’s worth)

Okay cool! Add me on “MarkkChavez”

I don’t think this is worth it because you can use the Google Translate app on a smartphone or tablet to transcribe audio for free. Sometimes I had to play the audio more than once to get a very accurate translation, but depending on your fluency, you may not need to if it catches enough of the correct translation and you can fill in the blanks. I saw someone else recommended Google Docs transcribing which is the same service but a different way to access it and maybe easier depending on your circumstances.

As an alternative, has the written version available to download for their podcast episodes and youtube videos for $8 a month (and technically you could pay just $8 for that one month and download everything they have available up to that point).

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Well, to be honest, if you have the money why not!

The fact is that motivation is really important and the right content too. If I had the money without any problem I would happily pay for transcribing and using just what I need to because I like it and because I can.

There is lots of content to use for learning languages but not always what you really like. Money gives you the possibility to speed up the process with conversations, corrections, more interactions and transcribe what you really desire to understand.

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I am not a salesman for but for $15 (USD) per month you can get a complete audiobook every month! Some books are 20 to 30 hours of audio. Lots of German content! If you can pick up the e-book for 10$ you now have a fantastic bargain compared to paying someone to transcribe. I just cancelled my subscription because I have over 80 audiobooks collected over the years, most of which I have a kindle or epub or pdf version of which I can read along with. If the book is difficult, I will even buy the English version to help me through the tough parts and still a comparative bargain!