Guide – Fees for interviewing & transcription

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Guide – Fees for interviewing and transcription

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About this OHA guide

Developed by senior members of Oral History Australia, this guide was produced to provide some guidance on the factors involved in setting fees for interviewing and transcription.

Published: February 2016.

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Guidelines on fees for interviewing and transcription

Oral History Australia (OHA) membership is open to all and reflects a range of expertise consequently members’ fees for oral history interviewing and transcription may vary considerably. Oral History Australia cannot insist on particular fees, but offers the following guidelines to help establish appropriate rates.

1. One hour of recorded interview may range in cost from $700 to $1600.

  • An hour of recorded interview typically involves 2–5 hours of research about the subject, relevant topics and places, events and general history. Several interviews on the same topic may require fewer hours of research, while a one-off interview could require more.
  • Further time will be spent on preparation, which includes a preliminary interview by telephone or in person, preparation of questions, and arranging an interview venue if required.
  • A one-hour interview usually takes two hours. Each extra hour of interview may range in price from $60–$160 per hour. \
  • Other possible inclusions are post-interview follow-up, preparation of an interview summary, proofing transcripts, editing, insurance, administration and photography.
  • Travel expenses including accommodation may form part of the overall fee, or if the interview is over 30k from the interviewer’s workplace this may be negotiated according to travel fee guidelines developed by the Australian Taxation Office.
  • Fees are based on the time required and the interviewer’s qualifications and experience. Professional Historians Australia has a recommended scale of fees; hourly rates range between $72 and $200. All members are accredited. See the PHA website Scale of Fees Recommended for the Engagement of Accredited Professional Historians in Australia at GST may be added if the interviewer is registered for the GST.
  • Other services such as the following should be charged separately as they require different skills:Providing abstracts, logs, timed summaries or indexes
    Application of cataloguing taxonomies, or provision of metadata services Creating publications or exhibitions
  • The cost of transcribing typically ranges from $120 to $300 per hour of recording. One hour of recorded speech can take between 3 to 6 hours to transcribe, depending on sound quality, pronounced accent, or use of non-standard English. Additional charges may be incurred for checking transcripts, corrections and post- editing of the text.

4. For the purposes of project budgeting, a figure of around $800–$1900 for one hour of interview (researched and transcribed) is generally appropriate.


Oral History Australia strongly recommends that there is a contract between a commissioning body and the oral history project manager/historian. The contract should include fees, nature of services to be provided, conditions of employment, schedule of payment and a time frame for the completion of the project.

See the OHA guide: Commissioning an oral history project.


View the OHA guide: Ethical Practice



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