When it comes to making money from the comfort of your own home, I’ve always been a fan of writing.
However, I’ve always approached side hustle side of writing from a creative perspective; I’ve broken down ways people can write articles or stories to earn money…But I’ve never considered things like remote transcription jobs before.
So, in order to expand upon the side hustle related content on This Online World, it’s time to break down exactly how people can make money as a transciptionist and earn some extra income.
Let’s get to it!
Okay, So What Is A Transcription Job?
A transcriptionist is responsible for converting audio recordings into written form. At a surface level, this really just involves listening to audio recordings and writing reports, but the industry is certainly more complicated than that.
Transcription jobs usually fall under 3 categories: medical, legal, or general transcription work.
In order to actually find work as a medical or legal transcriptionist you’ll probably need some general knowledge about the industries for the sake of accuracy. If you simply want to find general work, you’ll need a few skills.
What Skills Are Needed For Remote Transcription Jobs?
While transcription jobs might sound easy, there’s a variety of skills that can greatly increase how much money a transcriptionist can make per hour.
Some the most important skills include:
- Fast (and accurate) typing speed – This one is obvious as the faster you can type, the faster you can complete assignments. Industry standards are generally around 60WPM on the lower end and 80-90WPM on the high end.
- A solid understanding of the language you are transcribing, grammar, and punctuation – Proper punctuation and grammar cannot be overlooked.
- Industry knowledge – Again, if you want to find medical or legal transcription jobs, it will help to have some prior experience or at least an understanding of the jargon.
- The ability to multitask – I don’t know if you’ve ever tried transcribing or even general note taking when audio is playing, but it is hard. I personally suck at it, but you have to be able to keep up with the audio!
How Long To Transcribe 1 Hour Of Audio?
While some online transcription jobs pay per word, many actually pay per hour of transcribed audio (this is not a fixed hourly rate).
The industry standard is generally a 4:1 ratio, meaning it takes roughly 4 hours to transcribe 1 hour of audio. This will vary on experience, audio quality, and rate of speech, but you get the idea.
So, if you’re a slow typist, you will definitely feel the sting on transcription jobs that pay per hour of recorded audio. However, keep in mind that your typing skills can always improve and everyone has to start somewhere!
Where To Find The Best Transcription Jobs:
If you are looking to start a new side hustle and work from the comfort of you own home, you can check out the following websites for transcription jobs!
Rev is a very well known transcription company where users can earn money by transcribing audio and video.
To get started with Rev transcription, you need to create an account and pass an English and grammar test. Rev should inform you within 48 hours if you meet their requirements.
After approval, you can select transcription jobs to complete from what’s available.
Rev pays their freelancers weekly through PayPal, and Rev states that the average transcriptionist in their service earns $245/month, and the top earners make almost $1,500.
Edit: 11/10/2019 – I no longer support Rev as an option for anyone looking for remote transcription work. Recently, Rev has reduced their payout rates and are getting some pretty vicious backlash from the community.
GoTranscript is a worldwide transcription company that is a great place to start if you are a beginner at transcribing audio.
GoTranscript allows up to 6 hours of typing to complete an hour of audio, so even the slowest typist can complete a gig on GoTranscript.
Additionally, GoTranscript pays up to $0.60 per audio/video minute, and states that their freelancers average $150/month in earnings, with the top earners bringing in $1215.
GoTranscript pays every Friday through PayPal, and freelancers are free to choose the projects they want to work on (as well as how much work they want to do from home).
TigerFish has been in the transcription business since 1989, and while their website is certainly archaic, they are a well-known player in the industry.
If you want to make money with TigerFish, there is an application process and some requirements to consider.
Firstly, you must be a U.S. citizen or legal resident to be eligible to work for TigerFish. Additionally, you will have to download a free version of Express Scribe transcription software.
TigerFish states that if you work a considerable amount for them you will probably have to purchase a copy of some software that costs $229, which is kinda ridiculous if you ask me, but serious transcribers seem to advocate for TigerFish from the reviews I have read.
TigerFish also requires applicants to transcribe 3 test files to showcase their abilities, but once you are approved you can start to pick your own transcription jobs to work on.
TigerFish pays between $0.03-$0.05 for every line transcribed, so again, your hourly rate will depend on how efficient you are!
TranscribeMe is a fairly popular option for anyone looking to get into transcription work, and their website asserts that they are the highest paying company in the business.
TranscribeMe also doesn’t require their transcriptionists to have any prior experience. Rather, you can start working for TranscribeMe immediately as soon as you pass their entry test.
The best part (in my opinion) about TranscribeMe is that they provide their workers with short audio clips as tasks rather than hour+ long interviews or audio files. So, instead of grinding away at one single gig for 6 hours, you can complete 1-4 minute audio files at your leisure.
TranscribeMe pays in $USD, and workers are able to view their owed balance and withdraw each week through PayPal if they desire.
SpeakWrite is definitely one of the more competitive online transcription jobs to land as the platform exclusively hires people with past experience, but it is a very solid platform if you are accepted.
SpeakWrite also outlines their requirements in great detail on their website, which is quite refreshing.
Of the requirements, the main ones to keep in mind are:
- Possessing the ability to type 60WPM minimum with 90% accuracy.
- Be a legal resident of the U.S. or Canada.
- 1 year or more of experience in either legal transcription work or general transcription jobs.
- You have to buy a foot pedal (to quickly operate audio playback).
SpeakWrite states that the average transcription worker earns $450/month on their platform and that top earners make $3,400.
If you are looking for another online transcription job, SpeechPad is a decent option to turn to!
SpeechPad is free to work for provided you pass their English and grammar test, and you can work as many or as few jobs as you like on the platform.
SpeechPad does use a rating system which rates the quality of your work, and gaining a better rating over time opens the door for higher paying or more complex transcription work.
SpeechPad can pay between $0.25-$2.50 per transcriber minute according to their website, and they also have a translator component of their platform if that is up your alley!
Workers are paid every week through PayPal!
While many transcription jobs are 100% flexible, Daily Transcription takes a slightly different approach to the model.
Once you pass the Daily Transcription entry test (and can type faster than 50WPM), you signup for time slots in which you are willing to take on jobs.
Workers are assigned transcription tasks during the hours they have chosen to work, although Daily Transcription makes no guarantee that your time slot will be filled with work. I assume this is a supply/demand issue they encounter regularly.
In any case, Daily Transcription states that they pay more than their competitors, and that starting rates range between $0.75-$0.85 per audio minute). They also state that on average their top transcriptionists earn between $250-$950 per week.
One perk is that Daily Transcription offers coaching and training so you can improve your skills, so this might be a great place to start if you want to gain some experience before applying for a more competitive platform.
Is This Too Good To Be True?
Unlike many of the side hustle ideas I review on This Online World, I have a pretty substantial suspicion that transcription work is not as glorious as most of these websites make it out to be.
There’s a few reasons for this.
Firstly, it is unreasonable to expect that every audio file you are assigned is going to be easy. Poor audio quality, overlapping speakers/multiple speakers in general, accents, and a myriad of other factors can slow down a transcription task immensely.
Secondly, I also think that people underestimate how hard it is to transcribe.
If you search for any of the companies I mentioned on Reddit, you’ll get loads of posts like these:
This seems to be the general sentiment more often than not.
However, you can also find plenty of posts like these or advocates for transcription jobs in the same threads:
If there is one thing that is clear about this side hustle it’s this: you can make decent money, but you have to gain experience and grind at it for a while.
Don’t expect to start a transcription job and make thousands of dollars a month overnight (or even at all).
The main reason I have never tried this side hustle myself is that I am not willing to put in the grind to actually make it pay a decently hourly wage. I vastly prefer freelance writing jobs or other gig options.
This is still a lucrative industry where there is money to be made, and I think we are still quite some time away from automation taking over this field entirely.
Just note that the advertised payout rates on many of these websites might be harder to reach than is advertised. Additionally, decide on how much time you are willing to put into becoming a better transcriptionist and how urgently you need steady paychecks coming in.
Also: there are dozens of other transcription websites and job opportunities out there besides the 7 I have listed here. Don’t be afraid to look at some other players in the industry or on actual job boards!
If you’re looking for other work from home job ideas I also suggest checking my post on remote job websites!
Catch you guys in the next one!
Tom is a 23 year old recent college graduate from Canada with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and marketing. This Online World is all about providing people with honest ways to make and save more money by using technology. To learn more about Tom, read his About Page!
If you’re interested in freelance writing services or want to partner with This Online World, please visit Tom Blake Digital to get in touch!