This SpeakWrite review is for anyone looking for freelance transcription jobs that you can do in the comfort of your own home.
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Is SpeakWrite legit? If it is, is it worth your time?
Can you do it from home?
Are there full-time positions? Or just side gigs?
How much does it pay?
All these questions answered in a bit, so read on to learn all about SpeakWrite and other ways you could earn transcribing from home.
History of SpeakWrite
Out of the many transcription companies (both scam and legitimate) that have introduced themselves to work-from-home people like you and I, SpeakWrite is different. It’s been around since 1997.
Just let that sink in for a minute – this company has been around a year BEFORE Google was founded.
SpeakWrite launched its company offering typing and legal transcription services mostly for law firms, insurance companies and government agencies.
Unlike transcription companies in recent years that offer online gigs, but never publish company information, SpeakWrite has always been transparent. They are based in Texas and has plenty of contact information available on the website.
SpeakWrite’s founder Richard Jackson worked as a commercial litigator for 30+ years and employed over 50 people within his own law practice. SpeakWrite was born from his company’s own needs – to produce legal documents as fast and as accurate as possible.
From its launch until today, SpeakWrite has been one of the go-to transcription service provider to the FBI, American Bar Association, and other legal and law enforcement agencies.
What Are the Tasks of a SpeakWrite Transcriber?
SpeakWrite has three types of transcription work available: legal transcription, general transcription, Spanish transcription (or other languages).
As a legal transcriber, you’ll be working on projects as varied as court documents to police reports. The information you deal with can be quite sensitive, so this type of work involves more requirements than general transcription.
General transcription work is perfect for beginners – those who want to try and dip their toes in the world of freelance transcription jobs. As a general transcriber, you might be involved in projects like listening to podcasts, minutes of meetings, speeches, and so on.
Spanish transcribers (and other bilingual transcribers) can be assigned general and legal transcription projects, except the output required is in the language they are assigned with.
SpeakWrite doesn’t hire just anybody. Only applicants living in Canada and the United States are accepted.
In general, transcribers must be able to type at least 60 words per minute with 90% accuracy.
This company doesn’t have data entry or medical transcription jobs.
- General and bilingual transcribers must have at least 1 year of transcribing experience within 12 months before your application.
- Legal transcribers are required to have 2 or more years of experience within a law firm.
- General transcribers should know how to transcribe specific projects such as interviews, speeches, and so on.
- Bilingual transcribers must be expert in the language that they were hired to do, on top of knowing the dos and don’ts of transcription.
- Legal transcribers are required to know legal terminology and how to transcribe court hearings and other types of legal proceedings.
SpeakWrite jobs are work-from-home positions, but the company isn’t providing for computers for you to work on. As such, you should have the following hardware before applying for a job:
- A computer (laptop or desktop) with licensed Windows 7 OS (or newer), at least 1GB RAM and sound card. Unfortunately, the SpeakWrite software isn’t compatible with Apple iOS.
- Licensed version of Microsoft Word (2007+), Adobe Reader (8.0 or newer), Windows Media Player
- Good-quality headphones, printer, and a comfortable chair
Background checks are a part of the application process, especially if you’re seeking a legal transcriber position.
Before we talk about how much you can earn transcribing for SpeakWrite, consider these first:
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- Contract basis: Transcribers hired work as a contractor. You won’t have benefits and you basically work for yourself. This means you are in control of your schedule and fit other transcription or online jobs if you like. As an independent contractor, you’d also need to file and pay for your own taxes.
- Work hours: There is no set schedule given, but you can choose when/how to spread the work hours you can commit to. SpeakWrite requires at least 15 audio hours per month. You can only schedule up to 12 hours in a day.
- Not hourly payment: SpeakWrite doesn’t pay on an hourly basis, but based on output. This means you shouldn’t expect the traditional hourly wage. Good news though for those who could type quickly, since transcription often pays per word, or per audio hour completed.
Probably a good thing about Speakwrite is that they never promise you riches when you join the company as a transcriber. But it may disappoint you to learn that you’d only earn around $.005 to $.006 per word, which totals $5 or $6 for every 1000 words transcribed.
For experienced transcribers, an average $15/hour is possible, but beginners may find it hard to make $10 an hour. Like in data entry work, as your skills improve, so does your output and average pay-per-audio hour.
Transcribers who can pick up the slack during peak hours, or take on urgent projects get a 10% bonus on top of the pay, but no specifics were mentioned on the website.
Payments are made twice a month via PayPal, direct deposit, or check. Canadian transcribers are only paid via mailed check.
Speakwrite Review: Pros and Cons of SpeakWrite
Check the Indeed.com reviews of past and current SpeakWrite transcribers to learn about the realities of working for this company.
If you’re thinking about applying to SpeakWrite, be sure to weigh these pros and cons first:
- SpeakWrite is legitimate, and has been around for over 20 years, so you’re sure not to run out of projects to do.
- The hiring process is long and shoos away those who aren’t serious. This means that once you are hired, there are less competition for transcription work.
- SpeakWrite provides better opportunities (and more work hours) for transcribers who last longer than 1 year as an independent contractor for the company.
- Flexible work schedules means you can work as much or as little as you want, from your home, at the beach, or wherever your feet takes you. Just be sure you have the hardware and internet to do the job.
- This job isn’t for beginners. You’d be lucky to earn $5 an hour if you’re new to transcribing. Imagine getting a job with bad dictation, noisy backgrounds, and other audio issues, which all could make the job twice as hard.
- Not available for applicants outside Canada or US.
- Not available for applicants using Mac (Windows PC users only)
Take SpeakWrite Reviews with a Grain of Salt
If this isn’t the first SpeakWrite review you’ve read, I’d understand you completely. Like many transcription companies, the feedback of past transcribers are often a mix of good and bad.
Here’s why you should take these reviews with a grain of salt and try the job yourself:
- Transcribing is not easy. If you’re new to this job and you think you’ll just be entering data and typing, you’ll soon realize how wrong you are.
- It’s not all about skills. Sometimes, even if you’ve had 10 years of legal transcription experience and you receive a project that involves someone “eating his words,” with dogs barking as background noise, or the weakest voice you’ve ever heard, the job would be harder and longer than your normal transcriptions.
- Proofreaders are the yang to the transcribers’ yin. After you’ve submitted the transcribed material, a proofreader checks your work for accuracy. The level of proofing will vary between proofreaders, so expect varying feedback to your work as well.
Lastly, the “uncaring management” problem could be 100% true, but it could also be exaggerated. Sometimes, folks who haven’t worked from home are not used to the impersonal vibe of having no boss looming around their shoulders.
Wrapping Up this Speakwrite Review
SpeakWrite is not a scam – this I’m pretty sure since people have been paid for their work in the past 2 decades. But there are worrying signs not to waste your precious time working for the company as well.
If you’re currently between jobs or have a lot of free time, I recommend you try SpeakWrite yourself and see if the issues are worth the benefits.
But if you’re interested in a job that could replace your paycheck, here are 95 legitimate work from home jobs you should seriously check out.