Imagine this: you get to listen to all sorts of interesting content while improving your typing speed, proofreading skills, and working flexible hours where you can choose your own gigs.
In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of transcription work from home, including the skills required, potential earnings, and how to get started in this field.
What Is Transcription?
Essentially, transcribing is converting audio and video into written text. You listen, type what you hear, and then edit the text. This involves good grammar, following a style guide and the client’s brief. Sit in a quiet space with headphones and concentrate. Using software you can change the audio to text, and then make the necessary edits.
Transcribing is growing in demand as the internet expands with audio and visual content. It caters for readers of all learning capabilities, the hearing impaired, and provides printable content for future reference. Having transcripts for videos also helps with SEO and searching content for keywords.
Although there are 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 two or three hours, depending on your software and skill level.
Services Offered for Transcription Work from Home
Transcription work from home can cover several types of services, each requiring specific knowledge and terminology. This includes:
General Audio Transcription
This is the most common type of transcribing which is used for podcasts, lectures, interviews, phone calls, and so forth. These jobs can be small or large and are often offered by online transcription companies.
This type of transcription focuses on transcribing medical notes, reports, and health records for hospitals and health care providers. It is highly important to maintain accuracy, privacy and use the correct terminology. Previous experience and certification is required.
This is transcribing any legal content, court proceedings and depositions. It is more difficult with terminology and accuracy is crucial. Previous experience and certification is required.
Video Captions & Foreign Subtitles
Transcribers can provide video transcripts as well as create video captions. This is popular for YouTube, blogs, and business websites. Although technology is advancing to automated transcripts on platforms such as YouTube, proofreading, editing and formatting can still be required.
There are different formats of transcription, which include:
- 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.
Each format serves different purposes and is chosen based on the specific needs of the client.
Is Transcribing Right for Me?
It’s important to consider this question 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.
Consider the job’s demands and whether you have the necessary skills. Research the employment opportunities and industry’s earning potential.
If you are attentive, organised, and a great typist then transcribing may be a great fit for you. 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.
Pros of Transcription Work from Home
- 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
Cons of Transcription Work from Home
- 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 are 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 manage 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 vigilant 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.
1. Transcribe Me
This company transcribes audio and video. You need to do an English exam and an introductory training program to familiarise yourself 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.
2. Go Transcript
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 is looking for more than just typing. You need a solid understanding of English, grammar, interpreting conversations, and applying 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 a 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 About Transcription Work from Home?
You may want to dip your toes before diving into the deep end. We encourage you to do your own research to make an informed decision and consider doing the following:
- seek out opportunities to practice skills and get training
- do a free online transcribing typing test
- join an online platform to familiarise 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.
Here is an interesting interview about running a successful transcription business.
Transcription work from home offers a rewarding opportunity for people who are detail-oriented with strong typing skills. By leveraging the right tools and honing your craft, you can establish a successful career in this field without leaving the comfort of your home. Have you got a success story of your own? Share your thoughts below.