There are many ways to go about finding a Transcription job online. Such a job allows you to work in the comfort of your home, with no one bothering you. It’s just perfect if you’re shy or introverted, as there’s no need to talk to people.
Finding a good transcription job might be a tough challenge for beginners. You see, it’s possible to work for some crappy site that doesn’t pay you much and get discouraged before you even learn how to be a better Transcriber.
That’s why you need a good place to work, and in this article, I’m going to provide you with some ideas.
What is Transcription?
Transcription is a service performed by people called Transcribers that involves turning audio files into text documents. Transcribers get paid a set amount of money per minute of transcribed audio.
How does this relate to you?
Well, Transcription services are common all around the world. Along with this comes the need. People need stuff transcribed all the time. That’s why it’s a great opportunity for you to take advantage of.
You can become a Transcriber and enjoy the comfort of working at your schedule in your apartment.
In this article, I’m going to cover a few ways in which you can land a Transcription job online.
What do you need to start transcribing?
You need to have a basic understanding of the service. You need to know how it works.
Some sites allow you to work for them for a commission. They provide work, you fulfil the task and get paid. They cut their share, leaving you with most of the money (usually 50-70%).
When working on such sites, you are provided with the software (you usually do it online on the website). Every website will allow you to get acquainted with the text editor before you start working.
You see, most sites require you to take an entrance test. Some allow you to practise a bit, while others assume you already know how to do it.
To be honest, understanding the software isn’t that complicated. If you’ve got a general sense of how a computer works, you should have no problem.
You need to be able to type pretty fast.
Now it’s a bit complicated. Although you’re not always obliged to have a certain typing speed (some sites don’t have a requirement regarding typing speed), it’s better if you’re able to type pretty fast.
You can check your typing speed here if you want.
As they say, practice makes perfect, so I guess you could sign up for sites that don’t require a certain typing speed and gradually make your way up to a fast typer.
You need to know the language you’re going to be transcribing in. Obviously. Moreover, you’ll need to have good listening comprehension. Transcribing requires you to type every word you hear with almost 100% accuracy. Make sure you’re a good listener, or else it might be hard.
When it comes to your workstation, make sure you find someplace quiet where you can focus on your work. Isolate yourself from distractions. The last thing you want is to be constantly starting over when you get lost due to a lack of focus.
A pair of headphones would be useful, but it’s not an obligation.
Some companies require you to have a foot pedal to stop and play audio, although those are rare.
And finally, you need a place to work.
You need a platform that will provide you with audio samples to transcribe.
Here are some of the well-known and trusted, legitimate websites that offer work for transcriptionists:
Rev is a great site for beginners as well as experienced transcriptionists. By working with Rev, you get the opportunity to receive feedback on your work and improve faster in your career. Rev is a great place if you want to merge working with learning since they offer training and feedback for their transcriptionists.
Apart from transcription, you can do video captioning, foreign subtitles and translation. It’s a great opportunity to expand if you know a second language apart from English, as such services tend to pay more.
Despite being beginner-friendly, you still need to pass the entrance test, and should you fail, you are allowed to retake it after 45 days.
Pay rate: $0.24-$0.90 per audio minute, weekly through PayPal.
Freelancer signup: https://www.rev.com/freelancers
Scribie is also great for beginners and experienced transcriptionists since Scribie allows you to get sort of ‘promoted’. You start as a Transcriptionist, and after you complete a set amount of work, you’re eligible to be promoted to a reviewer, proofreader and further, with each consecutive position offering higher pay.
Scribie requires you to take a test before you sign up, which is a part of the application process. When you apply, they send you a test invite after some time. You have 10 attempts to take the test. After that, you can no longer retake it if you fail.
If you pass, you’re paid for the test file as if it was a regular order.
They offer a huge Practice and Guidelines section, so learning the skill as a beginner should not be a problem. They offer a selection of audio files for you to practise before taking the test.
The good thing about Scribie is that they provide you with an AI transcript to start with, which you later edit accordingly to the audio, to save you 60% of the typing effort.
Pay Rate: $5-$25 per audio hour, payments through PayPal, anytime within 1 business day with no withdrawal minimum.
Freelancer signup & necessary information: https://scribie.com/freelance-transcription#intro
TrancribeMe is another big and trusted site when it comes to transcription. They don’t require previous experience, which makes them great for beginners, but you must take an exam. If you fail, you can retake the exam multiple times.
You must wait 6 months before retaking the test, so be sure to prepare well and follow the guidelines that are provided by TranscribeMe.
Pay Rate: $15-$22 per audio hour, paid through PayPal weekly after you request a payment.
Freelancer Signup: https://workhub.transcribeme.com/Account/Register
More info: https://www.transcribeme.com/transcription-jobs#monetize-downtime
Tigerfish is a company that’s been in the transcriptionist market for a while now. They have their own approach to transcription, so as with any other website, ensure you thoroughly read their guidelines before applying.
Unfortunately, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident to apply. You also need to have a phone that you can be reached on regularly and a windows computer since Macs are incompatible with the software they use.
Despite all of those restrictions, Tigerfish has a rather friendly atmosphere for transcriptionists.
Pay Rate: $8-$16 per audio hour
More information on the signup process: https://tigerfish.com/transcription-jobs/
Daily Transcription is a site that offers work to both experienced and beginner transcriptionists. The site offers work in various fields of interest, such as legal and medical transcription.
If you have any experience working with such types of audio, Daily Transcription is a good place to look for some extra work.
On the other hand, If you’re new and don’t have any specific knowledge, you can still work for them as the general category is also a thing.
Similarly to other sites, there’s no guaranteed amount of work, but according to their website, average earnings are between $250 and $950 per week. (Still, remember that it all depends on how much you work).
You should reside in the US or Canada to apply. However, you can still apply if you live somewhere else, as long as you’re proficient in a 2nd language.
As usual, they require an entry test but offer free training for you to hone your skills.
Typing speed of at least 50wpm is required. Again, you can check yours here: (link)
Pay Rate: $0.75 -$0.85 per audio minute every weekly via check in US and Canada. If you live outside of those countries, arrangements are made.
For more info on the signup process, be sure to read the FAQ page: https://www.dailytranscription.com/careers/
Sign Up to all of the above is free.
Are Transcription Platforms a good option?
They are a great place for beginners to start and gain experience.
The main advantage of such websites is that you don’t need to worry about finding work. Although there might not be work available to you at all times.
Companies like these provide you with the work that client orders, and due to them being trusted and well-known, many clients purchase their services.
Signing up for Transcription platforms and joining a transcribing community is the easier, low-effort approach to transcribing.
But what if you wanted more?
What if you wanted to take full control of your Transcription career and the amount of money that you earn? What if you didn’t want these sites to take a commission off your earnings?
Then, There’s Pitching.
Pitching is basically reaching out to potential clients and presenting your service.
Remember, Transcription is a Freelance Service, and instead of using a freelancing platform, you can pitch individual clients and have them buy your service.
Why is Pitching better?
Well, simply because you are in charge now. You decide on how much you want to charge your clients, and there are no middlemen. No arbitrage. All that client pays you goes into your pocket (minus taxes, of course)
Also, you decide what clients to pitch to, not random clients requiring work from a company.
You see, when I used to work as a Transcriber, I hated the boring audio files that were given to me. I had no interest in the topic of those interviews. It was just tedious.
Moreover, work on such platforms happens to have bad-quality audio.
Well, guess what.
If you choose a client to pitch, you usually have seen their work before (whether it’s a YouTuber or an interviewer you pitch) If their accent is hard for you to understand or they speak in an inaudible manner, you won’t pitch them. Full control.
What do you need to pitch?
To be honest, not much, really. You need an email account, but I assume you already got one.
The most important thing you need is knowledge of a good pitch. I know it sounds promising, taking control over stuff and higher pay rates, but stay with me; pitching is not easy.
Not in the beginning, at least. You need to know how to create a good pitch and write your emails so that your clients don’t consider you a spammer and actually read your emails.
The good thing is, I’ve got you covered.
I have a neat article on landing a transcription job by pitching, and I highly recommend you check it out. It also has a pitching email template for you to start with.
Anyway, here are the advantages and disadvantages of either approach.
- Known and Trusted
- A lot of work coming in every week
- Relatively easy to get started with
- Provide editor feedback in most cases, which is good for self-improvement.
- First come, first serve – other transcribers might grab the work in front of your eyes and leave you with nothing or a piece with bad-quality audio.
- With low pay rates, companies cut their share of your earnings.
- Sometimes there are requirements regarding typing speed and/or hardware/software
Transcription jobs by pitching:
- You choose your client
- You choose how much you charge
- You keep 100% of your earnings (minus taxes)
- You’re independent. The more you pitch, the more work you get, no fishing for a juicy piece of audio.
- It’s harder for beginners
- You need to know how to write a good pitch
Which approach to finding transcription work should you choose?
Now, let me tell you something.
It depends on what you’re looking for and what your capabilities are.
If you’re an absolute beginner who just wants to see if it fits, then go with transcription platforms.
If you’re an experienced transcriptionist, pitching might be the way to go.
It’s hard to pitch to anyone if you don’t have experience (Although there are ways to go around it, as I mentioned in my other article). Transcription platforms are great for gathering experience.
Generally speaking, the Pitching approach is slightly more serious. It’s good for those who want to take their Transcribing career to the next level. But it requires a good knowledge of the art.
If you’re a beginner, Why don’t you start with the transcription platform and when you’re experienced and feel comfortable with such work, proceed to write emails while still fishing for good pieces on the platform?
In the end, It all comes down to personal preference, whether you’re okay with how Transcription companies work or want more freedom and control.
As you can see, it’s very easy to find transcription jobs. It’s significantly harder to take action. So that’s why I think you should go and apply for a few right now. Don’t postpone it till tomorrow, or it will never happen.
Start working for transcription platforms. See if you like it; get experience.
Switch to pitching your clients if you want. Get yourself some contract.
You are welcome to work for a company and pitch simultaneously. You have no obligation as to how much you work on a platform. You work anytime, for as long as you want, so it leaves plenty of room for you to send out emails, spread the word and get clients.
Long story short, Transcribing, although the work can be hard, is pretty easy to take up, so I think you should go and see for yourself.