When it comes to making money online, I’ve always been a fan of writing.
I’ve written content throughout college to help pay for school, and I’ve covered freelance writing or writing websites that pay before on This Online World.
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 with transcribing and earn some extra income.
If you want to learn how to make money transcribing and what jobs are available, this is absolutely the post for you!
Let’s get to it!
Want other legit side hustle ideas to make money? Checkout:
- DoorDash – Make money delivering food to people in your city!
- Steady – Find other local gig opportunities with the Steady app!
- Suvey Junkie – Answer surveys and cash out with PayPal cash or free gift cards once you ean $5!
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.
How To Make Money Transcribing
The most popular way to make money transcibing is to apply for a transcription job with a company that offers transcription services to clients.
This is similar to writing for a content mill or agency. You don’t have to put in the work to find clients, but of course, your pay takes a hit.
Most transcription companies also pay per project you complete; this means your speed influences your hourly earnings, which is why experience counts a lot in this field.
Regardless, transcription jobs have been a popular side hustle for years at this point.
The question is, what are the best remote transcription jobs available and is this side hustle legit?
The Best Transcription Jobs (2021):
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 beginner transcription jobs!
1. Transcription Outsourcing
In the last couple of years, Transcription Outsourcing has established itself as one of the most reputable transcription companies in the US.
They provide quality transcription services for various industries/fields, including:
- Law enforcement
Transcription Outsourcing is always on the look out for new employees and independent contractors as well.
Candidates need to have exceptional transcription skills and be able to pass a couple of tests, like a single-person narrative audio file, grammar, and punctuation. Final candidate will also have a personal interview.
After the candidate is accepted to the team, he or she will have direct communication with management through email, phone, and text.
When it comes to salary, Transcription Outsourcing pays twice a month. Plus, they pay 85 cents per minute or $51 per hour of audio to start.
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.
For many, Rev is one of the most popular beginner transcription jobs because they are always hiring and have a lot of available work at any given time because of the platform’s size.
Edit: 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.
Extra Reading – Is Rev.com Legit?
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 this website.
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).
Extra Reading – 10 Ways To Make $50 A Day.
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!
Personally, I’d leave TigerFish off the table of transcription jobs until you gain enough experience and know if this side hustle is right for you or not.
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.
However, when you consider that Transcription Outsourcing pays much more per audio hour, I think this claim is a little out there.
On the bright side, TranscribeMe 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.
This makes TranscribeMe an excellent beginner transcription job, and you can always apply to this company alongside others to test what works best for you.
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.
Extra Reading – How To Avoid PayPal Fees.
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.
Another plus for this platform is that it’s now hiring people for Spanish transcription, which is useful if you want a more niche role!
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!
Extra Reading – How To Make $100 A Day On PayPal.
8. Daily Transcription
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.
What Skills Are Needed For Remote Transcription Jobs?
If you want to make money as a transcriptionist, you might think it’s time to apply to every website and get to work!
However, 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!
If you can improve your typing speed and accuracy, this will greatly increase how much you can earn per hour.
Pro tip: Professional transcriptionists rely on a foot pedal so they can quickly playback audio, and this is basically a requirement if you want to do this full-time and make as much money as possible in my opinion.
Frequently Asked Questions
I thought I’d wrap up this post on the best transcription jobs by tackling some of the most commonly asked questions people have about this money-making method.
1. 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!
2. Can You Really Make Money Transcribing?
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).
However, if you put in the time, it’s possible to turn a transcription job into a decent side hustle. If you can get into medical or legal transcription, the payout is even higher.
3. Is Online Transcription Worth It?
If you want to make money online and try a new side hustle, I think this side hustle is worth testing.
However, it’s going to be slow earnings for the first while as you learn, and this is a major downside in my opinion.
Personally, I stick with freelancing work, making money with a blog, and making money on YouTube for earning an online income.
But, if this sounds like an enjoyable job, hopefully one of the remote transcription jobs in this list works out!
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 apps.
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 8 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 full-time blogger and freelance writer with a passion for side hustling, passive income, and the gig economy. His work has appeared on dozens of personal finance websites like Money Crashers, The College Investor, Investor Junkie, and more. 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 use our contact page to get in touch!
If you are looking for transcription services in Canada I would recommend the website http://spectrascribe.com/
Tom Blake says
Great addition, Isabelle! Thanks for reading, always nice to have some Canadian resources as well.
I have been working as a full-time freelancing transcriptionist for around two years now. If you are just starting out doing transcription and are getting discouraged by low pay-rates, I encourage you to keep practicing and always keep applying to better-paying companies. Once you get experience, you will be able to get your foot in the door to companies that pay up to $2.50 an audio minute. I would also recommend GMR Transcription as another great company to work for. They hire beginners and their rates are much higher than most companies that will take a chance on rookie transcribers.
Check out this full list of transcription resources and job leads here: http://www.trendytranscriber.com/
Penelope Smith says
Transcriptions jobs do seem like an interesting job to look into. It is nice to know to it would be smart to know that you can transcript audio files in a few hours. If I wanted to work from home it seems like a transcription job could be really relaxing and fun to do.