We may earn money or products from the companies mentioned in this post. Lori Ballen is a member of the Amazon Associates Program
Here’s a list of ways to make money from home doing transcriptions. Making money online isn’t as hard as you might imagine. And an old job from the 20th century has become increasingly sought after in the 21st century, particularly for those seeking this work online.
Are you looking for a way to work from home? Maybe you’re a homemaker who needs the flexibility to work around your children’s busy schedules. Or perhaps you’re just sick of working in a corporate office.
While transcribing audio or video clips into written format has been around for a bit over a hundred years, it stems from the ancient art of transcribing hieroglyphics that covered the walls in ancient Egyptian tombs, or those monks crouched at their desks in the Middle Ages transcribing Biblical passages.
It was a highly skilled job then and still is today. That said, because of nearly universal education that means most everyone is literate, it’s also something almost anyone today can do.
And it can be lucrative. Top transcriptionists can earn over $25 per hour.
There are some really great opportunities you can take advantage of online to earn substantial money through transcribing audio and video content. You can use your spare time on weekends or during the evenings or, if you’re like me, in the early mornings before the kids wake up.
It can be a part-time gig that allows you to earn a bit of dosh on the side, or you can turn it into a full-time, work-from-home career. Perhaps one of the best things about this kind of work is that it allows you to write in your pajamas while earning a decent living.
There are a number of other positive reasons to look into transcribing part or full time:
- By lining up jobs with different deadlines, you can create a steady stream of work.
- Flexible hours allow you to spend more time with your family and pets.
- Get paid regularly and directly, often weekly or monthly.
- With the variety of work and different project types, from transcribing movies to boardroom meetings, you won’t get bored.
- You decide how much or how little time you want to commit to transcribing.
As a transcriber, you get to work when you want, choose what you want to work on, improve your typing and listening skills, keep busy, and – perhaps most importantly of all – get paid regularly.
Though it’s admittedly repetitive work, the flexibility of the job can more than makeup for this downside. Not only will it allow you to take vacations whenever you want, without having to ask for time off, but it also allows you to have more family time.
Companies Hiring Beginner Transcriptionists
There a number of legitimate companies that habitually hire novice transcriptionists. These will make you take simple tests before accepting you, but these usually are easy enough for anyone with above-average language skills.
These companies essentially assess your attention to detail and typing accuracy before allowing you to work for them.
But be forewarned. Most of the companies that hire novice transcriptionists pay well below $50 per audio hour, the bar below which most professional transcriptionists won’t venture.
If you end up working for less than that per audio hour, it’s best to use this paid experience to look for higher-paying work, as you’ll struggle to make a decent wage at those rates.
For those looking to earn just a bit of extra money online and learn the industry, you may wish to give the below transcription services a try. While you won’t get rich off working for any of these companies, it’ll give you an idea on how the whole transcribing process works.
And it very well may open future avenues to much better-paying opportunities.
Transcribe anywhere is great for those who want to live anywhere. It teaches people the basics of transcribing and even shows you how to start a freelance business doing transcription work. It includes an online course that includes modules, practice dictation, and quizzes to help you practice and learn the business. It also gives you an idea of how to determine rates, even showing you how to create simple contracts.
TranscribeMe doesn’t require you to work an established number of hours, so is perfect for someone wanting flexibility. It makes you register and takes you through a transcriber training program, typically paying only $15 per audio hour. The upside is that it doesn’t require any additional equipment, just Google Chrome, and a fast, reliable Internet connection. And it pays weekly via PayPal for any work you’ve completed.
Quicktate hires beginners once they pass a typing test. Its independent contractors, of which you’d be one, transcribe short voicemail messages. The works consist of read-out-loud letters and memos, conference calls, and other business-related audio.
Quicktate contractors can be promoted to their sister company, iDictate, which pays a bit more. While Quicktate pays about a penny for every four words transcribed, iDictate pays two cents. They too pay weekly via PayPal and also allow you to work as much, or as little, as you want.
For Rev, you’ll need to pass a grammar exercise and submit a template for transcriptions before you can claim any assignments. They too allow you to work however often you wish.
Paying between 36 to 65 cents per audio minute – $21.60 to $39 per audio hour – it’s a bit better paying. Rev also doesn’t require extra equipment and pays you weekly via PayPal.
Using home-based transcriptionists since 1989, tigerfish is one of the older transcription companies that take on beginners. You’ll need to pass an exam to ensure your skills are up to snuff, for which you can use Express Scribe. However, Tigerfish requires you to have Power Play software for Windows Media once you get accepted. However, it doesn’t share any information on pay rate, method of payment, or how often you must work until you’ve successfully applied.
Specializing in providing transcripts for those with hearing impairments, Crowdsurf provides steady work on a multiplicity of topics. You’ll need to create an account with Amazon’s Mechanical Turk, which offers crowd-sourced work on its platform, and it’s also where Crowdsurf puts its transcription jobs.
Though it pays only three to 20 cents per minute – $1.80 to $12 per audio hour – of transcribed audio, it does offer a place to start and pays through Amazon Payments Account.
Usually, jobs are broken into categories. Transcription jobs listed as “general” tend to require the least amount of schooling or work experience. So, if you’re a neophyte trying to break into the transcription industry, go for these ones.
While working for many of the companies above may allow you to make minimum wage or a bit more, if you’re lucky, it’s not the money at this point you should look at, but the training you’re getting from doing it. If you’re a significantly quick and accurate typist, you actually may have found your calling.
But once you’ve cut your teeth and have a good idea of what’s expected, you’ll want to investigate more lucrative transcription opportunities.
Transcription Job Salaries
Just like with any freelance work, you’ll need to develop your skills. But the more you practice typing, the faster you’ll get, and the more you practice listening, the easier you’ll find transcribing audio into written words. For some people, this will come naturally, but for others, it takes time. Again, don’t worry about the money so much as the skills you’re developing.
Generally, those companies that accept beginners on their platforms won’t pay as well as those requiring previous experience. Most companies pay per audio hour, though some pay a rate per page. Starting out with general transcription jobs can lead to bigger things, and if you’re good at it, you can easily earn $1000 a month or more, just by working 10-15 hours per week.
Once you’ve become competent at transcribing, you can move on to another company. There are hundreds of legitimate companies crying out for transcriptionists. Or you can start your own website, going it alone. Depending on your contacts, you could find a transcribing niche recording corporate meetings, for law firms, or even the film industry.
When looking for a better-paying transcription company, don’t look in the higher ratings. These are usually taken up by those looking for beginners who will work cheap. Companies that require transcription services are getting wise, however. Don’t look at the slickness of their websites, because those companies aren’t likely to pay well.
And if you’re really serious, get transcription software, Infinity pedal used by professionals to be compatible with the software, a Spectra headset designed specifically for transcriptionists with a sound card built-in, and the most recent version of MS Word, which allows you to easily back up transcriptions and other documents.
To become a transcriptionist, you’ll need reasonably good typing speed and good command of the English language.
Though you don’t need previous experience transcribing or with a Dictaphone, it’s helpful to have.
You’ll need a good internet connection, the higher speed the better.
PC or laptop with a decent sound card, Headphones or headset, a high-quality foot pedal for controlling audio playback, Transcription software.
The list of recordings that require transcribing is nearly endless, but can include transcribing meetings or speeches involving financial, medical, or legal matters and can include comedy shows, focus groups, sermons, criminal investigations, presented research, or even news interviews.
Yes, it allows you the freedom to set your own hours, and in many cases allows you to work as much or as little as you wish. It’s a perfect job for stay-at-home parents, who may need to deal with sick children, taking children to soccer practice, or newborns. Additionally, since you make your own schedule that means you can also plan time off, something a bit more difficult to do in the corporate world.
The basic idea of transcribing recordings into written form is easy enough. However, there are some things you should consider. Sometimes audio files will be of poor quality or spoken with a thick accent, making them difficult to understand. It’s also repetitive work, involving listening to the same audio recording repeatedly to ensure it is transcribed perfectly.
This is a bit more complicated. Many bloggers and others have claimed people without any experience can make money transcribing. It’s a useful skill, and there is a market for people who can do it. But many online sites pay well below market rates to those just starting out.
Most professional transcriptionists look at a 1:4 ratio when considering work, where one hour of transcription translates into four hours of work. If you make $10 off a job, that’s only $2.50 per hour, so you need to be careful about where you choose to work online, unless you’re doing it to develop your skills.
Many low-paying transcription sites like Scribie allow beginners to sign up without any experience, which essentially allows you to earn within a few days – though probably at well below minimum wage – while you develop your skills.
So, now that you know a bit about the need for transcriptionists, you can get started making money through transcribing online. The process of signing up, taking the appropriate skills tests, and choosing projects should just take a few days.
By building up your skills and diligently honing them, you can even make good money online through transcriptions, as much as $30 or more an hour. It’s a job in high demand as well. With more and more people looking for quality content online, and in various forms, there’s definitely no shortage of transcription work.
It may not be well-suited for everyone, but if you’re willing to work hard and master the skills needed, you too can become a professional transcriptionist, making a living off of transcribing audio and visual files. Plus, you can work from just about anywhere in the world.