October 29, 2016

Tips From a Working Transcriber

I recently found some good feedback from a person who works from home with online transcription services. She gives some good tips here, equipment suggestions, and an idea of the pay range you can expect.  Here it is in her words –

I do transcription from home. Mostly reality TV interviews but there’s a lot of other random junk thrown in there. Pretty cool and laid back job. It comes out to $12-20 an hour.

Here’s the deal. First, be good at grammar and know how to spell your theirs and theres and it’s and its and all that spell check won’t pick up.  It also helps if you have a broad knowledge base because you will be doing all sorts of topics and you will be wondering [what] they are talking about sometimes.  If you can type around 60 or 70 WPM that’s cool, but sometimes it doesn’t matter because when you start transcribing you will realize people are usually inept at forming coherent thoughts on the fly and you’ll have to go back and check what they just said. Especially if you need to catch all their ums and uhs. If you ever listen to Alton Brown speak on Iron Chef then that is a good example of the [stuff] you may have to put up with.

I get paid by minute of audio. This ranges from 75 cents to like 2.50 for [pieces] people want super fast. You can reasonably do 15 minutes an hour which with my previously stated rates comes out to 11.25 to 37.50 per hour. Sometimes it’s possible to do 20 minutes or more an hour. It depends on the particular file you have to work with really. Some people talk clearly and slowly and you can keep up with them as you type and other people [not so much]. Of course this pay scheme is dependent on the company you work for. And you don’t really work for them. It’s freelance meaning you are a contractor and are responsible for your own taxes.  My best paycheck was over 600 dollars for a week of work.

If you’re still interested in transcription, Focus Forward and Daily Transcription are two companies that hire newbies. You need to take a test and pass it for them to consider you. This will consist of listening to audio files and transcribing it in their format. It’s probably a ten minute or less thing.   Maybe in 6 months or so you can leverage your experience and move onto another transcription place that pays more. And the cool thing about doing freelance work is you can work for everybody and whenever you want. You could theoretically be juggling 4 or 5 companies and pulling more than a thousand bucks a week if you wanted to slave away for 12 hours a day. But hey, at least you get to sit in your boxers and don’t have to commute. You are not bound by traditional work hours. You can work for 15 minutes, take a nap and come back if you wanted to. You can hang out with your friends when you want to as long as you can do the job in the time period required which is usually 24-48 hours. So there is a lot of freedom.

Express Scribe and InqScribe are good transcription programs. I use both depending on file type being transcribed. You can transcribe within the program then copy and paste into Word for the final product to be sent back. Also a foot pedal should be acquired if you are gonna do this for a paycheck every week. This allows you to reverse and stop audio without you having to use the mouse allowing for greater speed and less headache.

Be aware that you’ll probably need three or four clients to be secure in your income because the work is not always there. There are slow weeks and there are also weeks where they need all hands on deck. So to mitigate risk, get on board with more than one company. This will probably take a few months once you start at a noob place since you need experience for other places to consider you.

Hope that helps!

If you try this, please let us know you’re experiences and opinion in the comments!  If one can qualify, it seems to be a pretty decent gig for some extra money.


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About Mitch Jensen

Hello! I love to learn how people make their money, whether it's out in the offline world or through various online sources. SideJobIdeas.com was created to consolidate these ideas, pass them on, and provide inspiration. Hope you find some sort of inspiration here, thanks for visiting!

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