Transcription work is a flexible way to make extra money, but how do you find online transcription jobs for beginners if you’re just starting out?
Fortunately, there are a surprising number of options out there for entry-level transcriptionists. And transcription work is a legit online job option if you’re looking for a flexible way to make money from home.
To help you get started, I’m going to answer a few questions about transcription work – including what the job is like and how much you can make – and then give you 7 companies that are currently hiring beginner transcriptionists.
What is a transcriptionist?
Transcriptionists listen to audio files and convert them into text documents. There are different types of transcriptionists – general, legal, and medical transcriptionists are the most common ones.
General transcriptionists work on anything that isn’t considered medical or legal, which can include podcasts, videos, interviews, web conferences, lectures, instructional videos, and more.
You get an audio file from a client, type it up into a text document, then submit it to your client for review. You’ll need a computer and a good internet connection. High-quality headphones and a foot pedal can help to speed up your work. The foot pedal is used to pause, play, rewind, and fast forward through the audio files.
Read more at 17 Best Side Hustles From Home.
Is transcription work easy?
Just like any job, there’s a learning curve. Sure, it sounds easy to listen to a recording and type what you’re hearing, but sometimes the audio quality isn’t that great.
You might be trying to transcribe audio that’s being spoken by someone with a thick accent or without English fluency. There might be background noises, people might be interrupted while speaking, or there can be more than one person speaking at a time.
A lot of times you will have to listen to the same audio file over and over again to get it right.
But online transcription jobs are a flexible way to make money from home. You can do it outside of your normal job, while staying home with your kids, or while traveling. Being in control of when and where you work is a really awesome thing when you’re trying to make extra money.
How much does a beginner transcriptionist make?
General transcriptionists with some experience can make $15-$30 per hour. The pay varies based on the job, but it depends a lot on how fast you are.
Here’s what I mean: transcription jobs usually pay per audio hour. An audio hour is how long the audio file is. So while a job might pay you $45 per audio hour, that’s $45 per hour of audio you transcribe, not for each hour you work.
If it takes you 4 hours to transcribe one hour of audio that pays $45 per audio hour, you make $11.25/hour.
You will get faster with experience, and some jobs are easier to complete than others. And after working some online transcription jobs for beginners, you can find higher-paying transcription jobs for those with more experience.
For more ideas, read 13 Legitimate Work From Home Jobs (Earn An Extra $1,000 Per Month in 2020!).
7 online transcription jobs for beginners
This is a well-known platform for beginner transcription jobs. TranscribeMe average $15-$22 per audio hour, with top transcriptionists earning $2,200 per month.
There’s no experience needed to start working for TranscribeMe. You will go through an online training program that teaches you how to use TranscribeMe’s portal and introduce to you their style guide. You will have to pass an accuracy exam before you can start taking jobs.
There are no fees to register, train, or work with TranscribeMe. And you’re not required to work a set number of hours per week. It’s work on your own schedule.
Rev is another really popular place to find transcription jobs for beginners, and they offer three options:
- Transcriptionist: You listen to audio and video, type what’s said, and label the speakers. You need to pass a quiz to demonstrate your English language skills and that you can follow Rev’s style rules. Pay is $0.30-$1.10 per audio minute.
- Captioner: You watch videos, type what is being said, convey sounds, and sync transcribed audio with video. You will need to pass an English grammar quiz and provide a sample. Pay is $0.54-$1.10 per audio minute.
- Subtitler: Only for people who know a foreign language well. Pay rate is based on the language you’re transcribing in. Chinese and Spanish pay $1.50 per audio minute, up to $3.00/minute for German, Japanese, Turkish, French, and Korean.
Rev pays out weekly via PayPal for all work that is completed.
Crowdsurf transcribers create video captions for deaf, hard of hearing, and second language viewers. This platform prides itself on providing work-from-home opportunities that can be done anywhere and anytime.
You are typically transcribing 10-25 second blocks of audio into text, and it only pays $0.08-$0.15 per job. The pay isn’t great, but you’ll gain some working experience.
Here’s how you get started on Crowdsurf:
- Create an account on WorkMarket. This is how you find work and get paid. You’ll fill out a profile and tax information, and WorkMarket reviews your information in about 24 hours or less. You’ll also select your payment method – direct deposit or PayPal.
- Apply for Crowdsurf. CrowdSurf is a recruitment group for WorkMarket, which is why this step is second. You’ll need to fill out a CrowdSurf application, read over the guidelines, and take a skills assessment.
- Start finding work. After your application is approved, you use the CrowdSurfWork platform to start finding jobs.
Scribie hires both beginner and experienced general transcriptionists, and they pay $5 to $25 per audio hour. They also pay a monthly bonus of $5 for every three hours you complete each month. Scribie also has a referral program that pays 2.5% referral commission on each referral's direct earnings.
Here are the requirements to transcribe for Scribie:
- Good comprehension of the English language
- Ability to interpret conversations
- Ability to apply context and spot mistakes
- A verified PayPal account
- Computer with an internet connection
- Headphone or headset
- Latest version of Firefox, Chrome, or Safari
You will have to submit an application and take a test that shows you meet Scribie’s standards. Once they certify you, you can find transcription jobs on a first-come, first-serve basis. One of the downsides of Scribie is that you only have 2 hours to complete your work, so it’s not quite as flexible as some of these other platforms.
5. Daily Transcription
Daily Transcription does transcription work for corporate, academic, entertainment, and legal industries. They offer online transcription jobs for beginners through advanced transcriptionists, and they pay $0.75-$0.85 per audio minute.
You will have to pass a skills assessment test and transcription test before you can start working. Then you’ll be assigned work based on how much time you request in their online scheduling platform.
Daily Transcription does a training video, style guide, and practice jobs. You can also request feedback from their advanced transcriptionists so you can get better at the job.
6. Birch Creek Communications
Birch Creek Communications has openings for beginners transcribing corporate audio files. They appear to be pretty hands-off – no technical assistance, training, software, or other support.
You’re paid $0.40-$1.75 per audio minute, which is based on the job, turnaround time, and quality of your work. Birch Creek Communications says the upper end of the pay scale only goes to those who transcribe with 99% accuracy.
The transcription jobs that come in through Birch Creek have a 24 hour turnaround time, but you may have 2 to 4 days for larger jobs.
7. GMR Transcription
GMR Transcription has openings for beginning general transcriptionists, but you will be required to have a foot pedal and over the ear headphones to work for them. They also have a strict transcription test, but there are no fees to apply or test.
You will need to take at least 4 audio hours worth of work each month. GMR does not discuss pay until you’re hired, but rates are based on turnaround time, number of speakers, and audio quality.
GMR also hires Spanish language transcriptionists and translators.
The final word on online transcription jobs for beginners
While this is a flexible way to make extra money, it’s not the highest paying option out there, and it takes time to get good enough to command higher pay.
I’m not saying it’s not worth checking out, but I want to give you a couple of options:
- Check out the Transcribe Anywhere Course. This course teaches the theory and practice of general transcription, with the goal of taking you from “newbie to polished professional” in just a couple of months. It’s taught by someone who has over 10 years of experience in the industry as both a transcriptionist and owner of a company that provides transcription services.
- Look at this list of more than 20 side hustle ideas. That article contains 22 of the best side hustles for 2020. There are legit options that pay over $1,000/month with just a few hours work per week.
No matter what route you try, finding ways to make extra money can change your life. It can help you pay off your debt, invest for retirement, boost your emergency savings, and more. Once you’ve looked at all of the options, pick an idea or two and go with it. Your future self will thank you.