More and more companies are hiring for online transcription jobs in 2020.
Can you listen to audio attentively? Are you a whiz with spelling and grammar? Can you accurately type 60 words per minute (WPM)?
If the answer’s yes, then there are several transcription companies that could use your services.
Today, you’ll learn about what transcription is, what it requires, and which companies you can apply to.
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What Does A Transcription Job Involve?
At its core, transcription involves typing out speech or audio files into a written document.
Institutions and organizations that outsource their transcription needs include universities, media companies, hospitals, and even law enforcement.
Individuals, such as vloggers and podcasters, may also hire transcriptionists to help caption their work and make them accessible to deaf or hard of hearing people.
If you’re only starting out, being a general transcriptionist is a good way to go. You don’t have to have specialized training or knowledge, and you’ll be able to work with a wide variety of audio files, such as college lectures, business meetings, speeches, personal conversations, dictations, notes, and many more.
Other transcriptionists who have knowledge of a specific field of study or industry go into specialized transcription jobs, such as medical transcription, legal transcription, or financial transcription. These require more specialized training, especially for jargon and industry-specific shortcuts and phrases, but they pay more per hour than general transcription jobs.
Also, those who are insanely quick and accurate typists may go into closed-captioning where a live show or speech is transcribed in real-time.
Online Transcription Job Requirements
Online transcription does come with some prerequisites. The following are considered must-haves for anyone wanting to be an online transcriptionist:
Active listening: You can’t anticipate the quality of audio files that you’re going to be asked to transcribe. There are files with challenges such as crosstalk, background noise, accents, and muffled or soft voices.
You’ll sometimes have to make an educated guess on what a person has said based on the context of the rest of the audio file.
Typing skills: Not only must you be a fast typist, but you also have to be highly accurate.
If you’re not sure how fast you can type, you can go to a website like TypingTest.com to test yourself to know how quick you really are.
Test your abilities at a site like TypingTest.com. Transcription companies usually require a minimum speed of 60 WPM, but you can train yourself to type even faster.
As I’ve mentioned, your typing accuracy needs to be well above average. Your output files need to be high-quality and almost 100% error-free. Also, having to correct your work all the time slows you down.
Language skills: Although some transcription jobs require a verbatim transcript, many clients still prefer “clean,” easy-to-read transcripts. Thus, your output file should always have impeccable spelling, grammar, syntax, and punctuation.
Research skills: You won’t be an expert on every topic assigned to you when you’re a general transcriptionist.
Being great at researching allows you to look up words, terminologies, names, acronyms, companies, or brands you’re unfamiliar with.
High-speed internet: You’ll need a fast Internet connection in order to download and listen to recorded files.
High-quality headset: Invest in a higher-than-normal quality headset with a noise-canceling feature, especially if you’re working in a place where there is background noise. You want to be able to hear the audio as clearly as possible.
Transcription software: A good transcription program can play a variety of audio and video file formats, insert automated or custom timestamps, and provide a built-in text editor so you don’t need to switch between programs too much.
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A helpful feature is speech-to-text recognition, which generates a raw transcript out of the audio file. Best case scenario, half your work is done and most of your time is spent in perfecting the transcript instead of typing.
Some companies have their preferred transcription software, while others allow you to work with whatever transcription software you’re comfortable with.
Transcription and dictation foot pedal: Some online transcriptionists make use of a foot pedal to control the playback for the audio file (i.e., play, rewind, forward, slow down, or speed up, etc.). That frees up their hands and lets them focus on typing.
Using keyboard shortcuts may not seem like a terribly time-consuming task to do, but when you consider the fact that 1 audio hour can take up to 6 hours to transcribe, you want to save every second you can.
How much do online transcribers make?
The average salary for online transcription jobs comes in at around $15 per hour. Entry-level jobs start around $10-$12 per hour and specialized transcription jobs, mostly those in the medical field, can fetch as much as $30 per hour.
Like every other job, seniority, experience, and length of time with one company will all factor into how much you can make.
How to earn more money with an online transcription job
Janet Shaughnessy of Transcribe Anywhere has put together an incredible 7-Day Transcription mini-course that will help you get paid what you’re actually worth.
The course is perfect for those who are both just starting their journey to become a transcriptionist and those looking for ways to improve their existing earnings.
Plus, it’s free. Win-win-win.
So, which companies are looking for transcribers?
19 Transcription Jobs You Can Do From Home
I highly recommend you start your search at Flexjobs.
The staff at Flexjobs will go through and find the most accurate, up-to-date job postings. On the date this article was published, Flexjobs currently had 122 open transcription jobs (plus thousands of other legitimate work from home jobs too) with some paying up to $55 per hour.
This Boston-based company got its start in 2007 and regularly hires both in-house and remote transcript editors. According to Glassdoor, transcript editors earn from $18-$19/hour.
As a member of 3Play, you’ll be able to set your own working schedule; also, communication between the leaders and their employees is reported to be very good.
Otherwise, you’ll be left alone and expected to turn in your work on time (i.e., there is little to no micromanagement).
Overall, there are few complaints about this company and its management, and contractor feedback is positive overall.
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This company is based in Georgia and offers different transcription services to various clients, including editing and language translation.
As an iScriber, you can expect your hourly pay to start at $15/hour; depending on your project turnaround time, however, you could end up earning as much as $25/hour.
This company provides transcription and translation services primarily to law enforcement and criminal justice agencies, so you will need to pass a full criminal background check before getting started.
Common complaints on Indeed include lower than average pay (i.e., about $15/hour); however, there is plenty of work available and they pay on time.
This company is good for transcriptionists who don’t yet have a lot of experience in the field or can’t do hours of audio transcription.
With Quicktate, you’ll be transcribing shorter files (less than 5 minutes).
The pay for this work is a quarter penny per transcribed word.
Once you become comfortable with this format, you could be promoted to Quicktate’s sibling site, iDictate, which deals with audio files longer than 5 minutes and pays half a penny per transcribed word and offers longer assignments.
This company offers a number of client services, including captioning, subtitles, translation, and transcription.
Once you pass the qualifier exam, you are free to take as few or as many transcription assignments as you’d like.
Payment ranges from $24-$39 per audio hour and is sent via Paypal every week.
This Austin, Texas company provides legal, law enforcement, protective services, and general transcription services.
As an SW transcriptionist, you should expect to earn $11-$13/hour, although your rate will increase as you become more proficient at transcribing.
The average monthly earnings of a transcriptionist are around $450, but has been known to go up to $3,400 depending on the number and quality of audio files transcribed.
They aren’t currently hiring, but it’s worth checking back on their recruitment page to see if a position opens up.
This company has been around since 1989 and accepts a variety of projects, including video productions, legal proceedings, medical dictations and notes, and corporate and academic lectures.
The company doesn’t advertise its pay rate; however, Glassdoor reports that transcriptionists earn half a penny per word.
Tigerfish periodically hires for entry-level as well as for more complex online transcription jobs, but they’re currently not hiring transcribers. It’s worth checking back on this page.
TranscribeMe is a fairly well-known transcription company, which means you’ll probably be placed on its waiting list once you pass its short transcription test.
After getting hired, your projects will consist of transcribing short audio files that range from 10 seconds to 1 minute.
That translates to earning $20/hour if you complete a sufficient number of files with high quality.
The good news about TranscribeMe is that you’ll need no special software to complete your work, and weekly payments will be deposited into your Paypal account.
This company hires for many types of online transcription jobs, including corporate, medical, and legal audio files.
They also do a lot of foreign language translation and interpretation work.
According to salary disclosures on Glassdoor, work-at-home transcriptionists earn up to $20/hour with Ubiqus.
However, to achieve this level of pay, you will need a typing speed of at least 70 WPM.
A transcription qualification test must be taken and passed before getting hired.
This company hires transcriptionists from all around the world, and it states on its own website that it pays at a rate of $27 to $103.80 per audio hour.
This means that your actual hourly rate will vary depending on how fast you type.
Payment is sent monthly via PayPal. While the company doesn’t require that you purchase specialized software or a foot pedal, it does suggest getting headphones.
12. AccuTran Global
AccuTran is another company that continually has open online transcription jobs.
They pride themselves on fast turn around times for their customers. For you, this means you must be able to provide fast, accurate transcriptions.
Pay does compensate for some of the requirements they ask of you.
One of the higher paying online transcription jobs you can find as a beginner, paying more than many other transcription companies.
Daily Transcription offers round the clock services and earnings fall between $240 and $950 per week.
Training is provided and payments are made weekly by check.
GoTranscript is one of the few companies that will hire anyone in the world. It doesn’t matter where you live as long as you are capable of transcribing 10 minutes of audio within 6 hours.
Transcribers earn an average of $150 per month.
This is quite possibly the best company to get your foot in the door as a transcriber.
FFTranscription offers a wide variety of online transcription jobs in industries such as marketing and sales, medical, legal, business, academia, and many more.
They hire worldwide, but you do need an active PayPal account in order to get paid.
They are not currently hiring, but you can visit the page in the future to see if anything opens up.
Pay starts at $0.40 per audio minute but you’ll gain opportunities for higher pay with experience.
GMR prides themselves on taking a chance on entry-level transcribers. If this is your first time looking for an online transcription job, apply here.
Earnings come in anywhere between $1,000-$3,000 per month. Obviously the more experience you have, the better chance you have at picking up higher-paying jobs.
There is the chance to get quick-turnaround jobs as well, and with that comes in more pay.
Transcription Express is constantly looking to fill online transcription jobs.
Contractors are able to set their own hours, as long as they’re committed to working at least five hours a day from Monday to Friday.
The average pay is around $1,500 per month, which isn’t bad for part-time work.
You will need to complete a typing test of 60 wpm, a homonym test, spelling test, and go through a compatibility to test to make sure you’re able to comfortably work from home.
AlphaSights regularly has job postings available for remote transcriptionists.
Look under the “New Service Innovation” heading to find the most recent job postings.
They are looking for experienced transcribers and you will be working as an independent contractor, meaning no benefits.
CastingWords is a transcription service that accepts audio files from a wide variety of sources.
To get hired, you need to join their workshop and provide basic information so they can direct you to their transcription test, in which you’re asked to transcribe a short audio file.
If your test is accepted, you can start familiarizing yourself with their style guide and take on jobs posted on their workshop.
The pay varies greatly because it’s highly dependent on the quality scores your transcript is given by their quality control agents.
Transcription Outsourcing handles general transcription, as well as more specialized transcription jobs, namely, medical, legal, and business transcription.
To apply, fill out their online application form with all of the required information and then wait for them to contact you back to take grammar and transcription exams.
Legal, academic, and business transcriptions can pay as much as $48 to $66 per audio hour, and general transcriptions are paid lower.
Currently, they’re not hiring new transcriptionists, but it’s worth bookmarking and looking back to see if there are any openings.
How to Snag That Online Transcription Job
You might meet all the job requirements for an online transcriptionist, but that doesn’t mean you’re sure to get hired.
To get noticed among thousands of other applicants, you have to nail your résumé.
Include your typing speed (with proof if you have it), highlight your accuracy with actual percentages, and if you’re multilingual, emphasize your familiarity with dialects, accents, and regional slang.
Another aspect you’ll have to nail is your transcription exam.
If you don’t already know how to, train yourself to touch type to increase your typing speed. Brush up on spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Most importantly, practice transcribing audio files with different talking speeds, tone of voice, accents, and ambient noises.
Pull up some videos on YouTube or podcasts with more than one speaker and practice how to differentiate one speaker from another.
Above all, double- and triple-check your résumé and transcription examination before you submit them. A single spelling or grammar mistake can turn off the recruitment agent processing your application, especially if you’ve put “attention to detail” and “proficient in grammar” in your résumé under “Skills.”
The Bottom Line: Is This Career For You?
Online transcription jobs are some of the few legitimate work at home jobs that are almost always in demand.
Most companies will allow you to work at your own pace and pick up jobs as you need.
You will need to hone your typing and listening skills to qualify, but the right combination of time and effort could land you a job that pays up to $50,000 entirely from home.
If typing isn’t your strong suit, you can probably find a better-suited job for you over in my list of work from home jobs here.
Ready to jump right in and build your online transcription career? Are you interested in taking Janet Shaughnessy’s mini-course, or are you going to do it on your own? Share your plans with us in the comments!