Being a transcriptionist can be fun. You get to absorb all sorts of interesting content while enhancing your typing skills. If you’re looking for a non-phone job, then transcribing could be just the thing for you.
Work flexible hours and choose your own projects. Practice your proofreading. Discover transcription work from home, and online companies you can join today…
What Is Transcription?
This is a method used to convert audio and video formats into text. With transcribing, you’re essentially typing what you hear for people to read.
You need to sit in a quiet space with a pair of headphones and concentrate. Some software will convert the audio into text, and you need to edit accordingly. This requires good grammar and following a style guide.
Transcriptions are growing in demand as the internet expands with audio and visual content. They cater to readers of all learning capabilities, the hearing impaired, and provide printable content for future reference. Having transcripts for videos also helps with SEO and searching content for keywords.
Although there’s speech recognition technology, people are still needed to identify grammar issues and words used in a different context. Transcribing an hour of audio can take 2-3 hours (depending on your software and skill level).
Types of Services
You can do different types of transcription work from home:
General Audio Transcription
This is the most common type of transcribing used for podcasts, lectures, interviews, phone calls etc. These jobs can be small or large and are often offered by online transcription companies.
This is transcribing records for hospitals and health care providers. It’s highly important to maintain accuracy, privacy and use the correct terminology. Previous experience/certification is usually required.
This is transcribing any legal content, court hearings and depositions. It is more difficult with terminology and accuracy is crucial. Previous experience/certification is usually required.
Video Captions & Foreign Subtitles
Transcribers can provide video transcripts as well as creating video captions. The demand for these services has risen on YouTube, blogs, and business websites.
There are different formats you can do, depending on the client’s preference:
- Verbatim – transcribing the content explicitly word for word, including ‘umms’, ‘ahs’, coughs etc.
- Edited – transcribing the content without the ‘umms’, ‘ahs’, repeated words etc.
- Intelligent – cutting down excessive speech and only transcribing content that is relevant.
Is Transcribing Right for Me?
It’s important to consider this before investing too much time or money. Transcribing work is flexible and suitable for many people, including entrepreneurs, stay-at-home parents, students, or anyone wanting a side hustle.
If you’re attentive, organized and a good typist then you’ll probably like transcribing. Patience is a virtue too, as some files can be hard to hear and quite time-consuming!
To give you the best chance of success, you should be computer savvy, fluent in English, have good knowledge of punctuation, spelling, and grammar and the ability to research. You must be able to work alone and meet deadlines.
- Work from home and be your own boss
- Have flexible hours
- Can choose your preferred projects
- Enhance your typing and proofreading skills
- You can often listen to interesting content
- No guarantee of constant work
- Difficult to accomplish if you don’t have a quiet solitary space
- You need to invest in equipment for full-time transcribing
- Can’t interact with others while you work
Does Transcribing Pay?
Yes, though pay rates can vary. For freelance transcribers, it will depend on the project, client, and your set rates. Many freelancers earn anywhere from $15-$30 per hour. The average transcriber in Australia earns $25 per hour. Some freelancers claim to earn more per hour. With enough experience, it is possible to build up to full-time transcribing.
Many online transcription companies pay less, but they don’t require any experience or equipment. Rates can vary per company and usually paid per audio minute. Here’s an example of $$ earned for 3-minute audios:
You can accumulate lots of small jobs all day or go for larger tasks (e.g. $45 for 50-minute audio).
How Can I do Transcription Work from Home?
Firstly, you should work out your goals. What are you aiming for? Are you looking for some small jobs on the side? Or do you want to become a professional transcriber and build a career?
There are different ways you can approach transcribing, from freelancing to joining online companies that have their own platforms. There’s also training available to become a certified transcriptionist (see suggestions below).
As a freelancer, you negotiate your rates and seek projects through job boards, and approaching potential clients. It’s up to you to source work opportunities, manage your marketing and collect payment.
You will need to manage your time. Using time blocks help and taking regular breaks to stretch and give your mind a rest. You will need your own computer and good internet access to download files from clients. Aside from this, you may need to invest in:
- Headphones – to block out noise and focus on the audio.
- A foot pedal – to play, stop, start, and rewind files, leaving your hands free to type.
- Transcription software – to manages files, control audio play-black, speed etc. You can purchase this or check out these recommended free programs.
Other additions can be a dictionary, time-tracker, file converter software and a grammar and spelling checker like Grammarly.
Once you’ve landed your client, be vigil with deadlines, keep clear communication and overdeliver in quality of work. Happy clients mean good references and more potential work.
Online Transcription Companies
These companies source their own clients, and you can join their website as a transcriptionist.
They have their own platform where you choose your tasks. Each task usually displays the audio size, rate, text format, timeline to complete etc. Moderators grade your work based on your performance. Though the pays are not great, no experience is necessary so it can be a starting point to practice your skills.
This company transcribes audio and video. You need to do an English exam and an introductory training program to familiarize with their software and style guide.
The client submits an audio file that’s split into microtasks and sent to various transcribers. You’ll be given 1-2-minute audio clips to complete. You can work your own hours, but there’s no guarantee of daily work.
Payment: Rates start at $15 per audio hour. Payment via PayPal.
Requirements: A computer, reliable internet, and Google Chrome. Must be 18+ years.
This company offers a wide variety of work, including audio, video, translation, subtitles, and captions. You’re given a test job, and if you’re successful you’ll be emailed when a client uploads a file.
Choose your own hours and tasks. Videos can be low quality with non-native speakers. An editor will check your work, and you’ll receive a rating (you can become an editor yourself with a rating above 4.5).
Payment: Up to $0.60 per audio/video minute (average earnings $150 p/moth). Payment via PayPal or Payoneer.
Requirements: A computer and reliable internet.
This company are looking for more than just typing. You need a solid understanding in English, grammar, interpreting conversations and apply context.
Work on short files, usually 10-minutes or less. Software is provided, and you need to go through a test process to become certified as a transcriber. You can choose your own hours and tasks from their list.
Payment: Rates are $5-$25 per audio hour, and monthly $5 bonus for every 3 hours completed. Payment via PayPal.
Requirements: A computer, reliable internet, headphones, the latest version of Firefox, Chrome or Safari, and a PayPal account. Currently, they don’t accept applicants from California, US.
This company transcribes audio, video and does captions. You need to take a quiz to show your English and grammar skills and submit a sample. Once approved, you’re given access to their large list of tasks.
The quality can vary, but you can preview the audio and choose your own tasks. Your work is moderated, and you can improve your ranking with each task (need to maintain a certain standard to keep working).
Payment: Transcribing is $0.30-$1.10 per audio/video minute. Captioning is $0.54-$1.10 per audio/video minute. Payment via PayPal.
Requirements: A computer, reliable internet, and strong English skills.
Still Not Sure?
You may want to dip your toes before diving into the deep end. You can:
- get the skills and training
- do a free online transcribing typing test
- join an online platform to familiarize with transcribing software
- find a support network, listen to their experiences and recommendations
Transcribe Anywhere – They provide a comprehensive course in general transcription and legal transcription. You can check out a course video tour and even opt for Pay-As-You-Go packages to do different levels.
TCI (Transcription Certification Institute) – they provide an online course, have their own job board, and offer a free transcription quiz to find out if you’re a good match for this career.
Udemy – they provide a quick and easy online course, suitable for beginners. Then you can go on to advance courses.
Transcription work from home can be enjoyable and rewarding. Here is an interesting interview about running a successful transcription business.
Have you got a success story of your own? Share your thoughts below!