Medical Transcription Pricing Simplified

When selecting a medical transcription company, it can be difficult to compare apples to apples, especially when it comes to the rates for transcription services in Canada.

While there are many factors to consider when choosing a medical transcription company or medical transcriptionist who is going to handle your medical dictations, pricing is an important aspect.  Other aspects include the experience and expertise of the medical transcriptionists who will be transcribing your audio to text. You need to decide if quality medical transcription is the most important factor, or if you’re willing to spend significant time proofreading and correcting your transcribed document. For more information on the costs associated with proofreading your documents.

It’s also important to use a medical transcriptionist and not a ‘regular’ transcriptionist, to ensure they understand medical terminology.  Another factor to consider is the turnaround time Transcription rates can be quoted in various ways, the four most common being:

  • Price per line of transcription
  • Price per minute of dictation
  • Price per page of transcription
  • Price per keystroke (sometimes this is represented as per line – you need to ask to be sure)

There are some industry standards to help navigate your way through the pricing maze. The Association for Healthcare Documentation has standardized a line of transcription as being 65 characters and spaces. Which means “Dear Sir:” is really only 9 characters, not one line.  Ethical companies count the total number of characters and spaces in a document, then divide by 65, and round up to give you the line count. For example, this paragraph has 553 characters with spaces, or 9 lines of medical transcription, even though it’s on 6 lines of the page.

When you choose pricing by the line for your medical transcription, it is easily verified. In Microsoft Word, go to Tools (or Review) > Word Count > Characters (with spaces). You can also use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl + Shift + G. This will give you an accurate character and space count number. This can also be done in other word processing programs.

The next most common way of measuring is per minute of dictation. Take for example, a Canadian transcription company such as Transcript Divas, who charge $3.48 per minute of medical dictation for next day service. People on average speak at a rate of 8 – 12 lines per minute.  Taking the average of 10 lines per minute, the cost per minute of medical dictation would be $0.35. You’re also paying for the time that you pause during dictating to organize your papers or your thoughts, unless you press the pause button on the telephone or digital recorder.

Price per page of transcription is a common way of billing for home-based medical transcriptionists, who tend to service a small number of local clients. You’ll pay for each page of medical transcription, regardless of whether or not it’s a full or partial page, unless you negotiate otherwise. Remember, your signature block, letterhead, font, size, margins and page format all contribute to the length of the document. Squeezing your dictations into less white space to try to save money results in them being less readable and impacts on the professional look of the document.

Keystroke counting is usually reserved for the larger hospital-based transcription companies, but it is used by some smaller ones as well. While HOSPITAL is only eight characters, it’s 40 keystrokes (each letter is capitalized, bolded, underlined and italicized). It is difficult to document and verify the number of keystrokes in a document, as it’s a program on the medical transcriptionist’s computer that tracks the count.

Here’s a handy chart to try to make sense of some of the differences you may encounter in pricing. In this example, using a five minute dictation (approximately 50 lines of dictation or up to 3 pages of dictation), you could expect to pay:

  Price per line (characters with spaces) @ $0.20 per line Price per minute of dictation @ $2.80 Price per page of transcription @ $4.00 per page Keystroke counting
Pricng $10.00 $14.00 $12.00 10-15% premium over price per line depending on formatting


These are common rates within the Toronto marketplace. Pricing varies depending on the volume, the type of work, how good the transcriptionist is and local employment trends. At 2Ascribe, we do our best to save our clients time and money. We never charge for setting up your account or creating (or changing) templates. We don’t require contracts, minimum monthly amounts or minimum document charges. Our team will ensure you are charged in the method that will get you the best rate. Additionally, we send you a detailed billing sheet with your invoice to ensure complete transparency. If you want to find out more about pricing for your medical transcription, send a representative sample (with all patient identifiable information removed) to prospective medical transcription companies or medical transcriptionists and ask for a quote. 2Ascribe Inc. is a medical transcription services agency located in Toronto, Ontario Canada, providing medical transcription services to physicians, clinics and other healthcare providers across Canada. Our medical transcriptionists take pride in the quality of your transcribed documents. WEBscribe is our client interface portal for document management. 2Ascribe continues to implement and develop technology to assist and improve the transcription process for physicians and other healthcare providers, and recently introduced AUTOfax. AUTOfax works within WEBscribe to automatically send faxes to referring physicians when a document is signed off by the healthcare professional. As a service to our clients and the healthcare industry, 2Ascribe offers articles of interest to physicians and other healthcare professionals, medical transcriptionists and office staff, as well as of general interest. Additional articles may be found at


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