Speed of transcription

Since I had never really timed the speed I do English transcriptions, I did a little experiment today trying to transcribe lecture 5.8 for one of the classes that I’m taking. The result? It was shockingly time-consuming: I spent 5 whopping hours transcribing (plus 3 more hours syncing) a 19-minute video. That’s even slower than a Cantonese job I had done that I had timed. To be fair, the lecturer talked extremely fast, there were virtually no pauses, and it required some research (yes, you read it right there were personal names, and the names were not in the video). But I didn’t expect to require 15 minutes to transcribe 1 minute of audio. So I took the SRT file, removed the time codes, and fed the result to my word counter. 4347 words. Divide that by 19, and I got an average of about 228 words per minute. The lecturer was speaking almost 4 words per second. So that’s why the transcription took me so long, I suppose. So how do people actually estimate how long a transcription would take? How many words are there in a “typical” audio minute? I’d really like some answers.
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