Listen and Get Paid: Getting Easily Hired As A Transcriptionist

Listen and Get Paid: Getting Easily Hired As A Transcriptionist

11 min read

  • What are the usual tasks of an audio transcriber?
  • What are the skills and equipment needed for such tasks?
  • What are the best companies where you can apply for transcriptionist jobs?

We will deal with these questions as you read on.



In case you’re wondering what is a transcriptionist, it can be simply defined as a person who listens to audio recordings of someone speaking and creates a written transcript of that recording. Working on this kind of job ranges from the courtroom to pharmaceutical establishments, to lecture halls.

Also known as captioning, this job is not an easy one. To be truly efficient at it, you have to acquire a high level of focus and accuracy. If you think you have what it takes to convert spoken words into written words, then be grateful because you can make a living out of it.

Since it is a sure way of making a stream of income, it is a good thing indeed. In order for you to get started, here are a few things that you need to know.

How important is the job of an audio transcriber?

As stated above, there is a need for spoken words to be converted into text and to emphasize it even further, the media industry has great demands for people who can convert video or audio content into a format that people can read.

You might think that since watching videos are easier and more enjoyable, most people will surely pick videos or audio instructions over books and articles. From a particular perspective, that’s quite true. But here’s something that you may have not thought through: Reading materials are something that people can easily skim to, or scroll through.

With videos, or audiobooks, you can’t do that. You really need to listen to what the speaker is really talking about before you can actually know if the topic discussed is really the kind of information you’re trying to find. But with an article, you can easily find the right words and keypoints that you’re really looking for because you can speedily skim through the stands of words and paragraphs.

Such is the reason why Google prioritize articles over video guides whenever you search for something in its search bar.

For these reasons, people who can make words out of videos and audio recordings are so in-demand today, and will be in demand still in the next years to come.

Why should you consider working as a transcriptionist?

Here are the best answers to the question that might strongly motivate you.

You only need very minimal computer equipment.

Like any other online jobs, you need to have a computer and an internet connection. The good thing about captioning jobs though is that they don’t require you to have powerful computers and super-fast internet speeds. Any machine with a typical speed will do just fine.

So to hop into the job, here are the only stuff that you need:

  • a computer
  • a set of earphones
  • an internet connection

Some transcription companies even allow you to work using only your phone or tablet, although an external keyboard must be added to your equipment. Obviously, typing with just your thumb would be very counterproductive considering your job is mainly about typing.

Some seasoned captioners use a transcription foot pedal – a device that allows you to control audio playback with your toes. This can really make the job easier. Thankfully, however, this device is not strictly required whenever you apply for the job.

For software, there is no need to install special apps on your computer. Since most companies just need you to submit a standard document for your transcription, any word processor will do. Some companies also provide their own entry boxes on their websites where you can type in your words.

For a faster captioning experience, you may choose to use an auto-transcriber software. This tool is super-useful because it can create a transcription of an audio file that it listens to. After such a file is generated, you can then just edit it for some errors. But you have to bear in mind, nothing beats human common sense even with the existence of high-end computer equipment. In order for you to create crisp and accurate transcripts, never put your entire trust in auto-transcribing software.

The existence of automated software that can help with proper grammar and spelling today truly provides great comfort. No word processor today can ever exist without auto-correct and auto-text features. Where human eyes fail, they offer great editing assistance.

But here’s a very important tip: always proofread your work before submitting them. In addition to the “nothing beats common sense” mantra that I mentioned, software grammar isn’t perfect, although it can really be a great aid in computer clerical tasks.

You only need a minimal set of skill

Though being a fast typist is a huge plus, it is not really a requirement. If you are able to key in 40 to 60 words per minute, that should be good enough.

If you want to have better typing skills, you may want to consider learning the technique called touch-typing — a skill that can let you type faster without looking at the keyboard.

While this skill isn’t really a requirement, it’s something that can truly make you work faster and better. It also provides the greatest comfort to your hands and fingers. The inventors of this technique had the intention of equally distributing the strain that your most important extremities.

You should utilize touch-typing as a technique… it offers great convenience for you in the long run, not only as a transcriber, but with computer works in general.

Another good thing is that captioning companies don’t need you to have a specific college degree. Anybody with the skill and accuracy to type can work as a transcriptionist.

Speaking of accuracy, you have to focus on it as you go along with your transcribing tasks. It would be a very wise choice to be accurate at the moment than type really fast and check your work later.

I’m not saying you don’t need to check back your work after you’ve finished typing, what I’m pointing out is that it would be best to minimize errors while at the exact moment of transcribing than having to check back later only to find out that your document is racked with too many typos.

It would be truly wise to avoid errors before they even take place.

Also, being an accurate typist isn’t the only important thing. You also need to broaden your vocabulary so you can key in the best words that truly matches those that are spoken in the audio files you’re working on.

When given some transcribing assignments, your clients could come from various countries which means they could have differing accents — it could be difficult to figure out what they’re really saying.

Luck for you though, there are lots of online tools that can help you work easier. Read it about such tools here.

Here’s a tip from my own experience: to be a good transcriber, watch videos and movies with subtitles — it can really boost up your skills!

There are varying working policies suitable for you

There are countless websites out there which offer captioning jobs, and you have to know that they have different working policies. Some allow you to work at your own preferred schedule, some don’t. Others have hierarchies that you need to adhere to. Such hierarchies often determine the number of tasks and assignments that you can receive.

If you’re a beginner, you might find yourself waiting for the next project to be delivered to your task list. The remedy for this is hard work. The more effort you put in, the more possible outputs you can work on – it’s just a simple principle.

Now, about the earning process. Your earnings would be dependent on how fast you can transcribe an audio file. Typically, a one-minute audio can make you earn $1. Mostly, novice captioners need around 6 to 7 minutes to come up with a modest transcription. It is believed that most advanced ones can do it in 4 minutes or less. So technically, you can earn around $1 for every four minutes.

If you think you’re not good enough as a transcriptionist, you can still hone that craft by practicing. Some sites offer a page of their site where you can practice.



Popular online companies that hire transcriptionists

So where can you apply? Listed below are the most popular sites that you can check out. Also listed are their corresponding pays per minute so you can have an idea of how much you can earn in working for them.

3 Play Media – Founded in 2007, they developed captioning and transcription processes that combine automatic speech recognition with human editing. Their services and products are used by more than 2,500 companies and institutions across a wide range of industries. They claim that their commitment to innovation has led them to grab 7 patents. Average rate per minute: $0.33

Athreon – Having existed for 30 years already, this company has made its mark as one of the leading transcription outsourcing companies for businesses in North America and Europe. They offer services for a variety of industries including law enforcement, healthcare, and academia. Their audio transcription allows dictation using a wide range of devices including smartphones and digital recorders. Average rate per minute: $0.12

Audio Transcription Center – This company prides itself on providing transcription services long before the internet was conceived. They claim to have been in existence for more than 50 years. Now that the web has boomed to immeasurable levels, they continue to provide services that include books, interviews, histories, legal, academic, and archival content in English. Average rate per minute: $1

Casting Words – since its creation in 2005, they have the promise of delivering 99%-accurate transcripts straight to the client’s email. Located in Los Alamos, New Mexico, the company has been featured in media outlets like The Economist and The New York Times. Average rate per minute: $0.60

Crowd Surf Work – Their aim is to provide on-demand captioning services that make online media more accessible and enjoyable for hearing-impaired users. They also seek to aid second language viewers in enjoying internet content. Average rate per minute: $0.12

Daily Transcription – Providing quality services for over a decade, this company claims to have perfected the art of transcription and translation that their competitors have tried to imitate their systems. Another thing that they take pride in is that they use real American transcribers and that they don’t use bots or voice recognition software. Average rate per minute: $0.85

GMR Transcription – Created in 2004, it is mentioned as one of the Fastest-Growing Private Companies by the Orange County Business Journal in 2012. They now offer translation jobs for more than 20 languages, ensuring 99% accuracy for transcripts of phone calls or conference calls. Average rate per minute: $0.98

Go Transcript – Founded in 2006 in Edinburgh, Scotland, they built a system that had quality checks and balances built into the transcriptioning services that they deliver. Their system is said to be continuously under development. One of the innovations that they crafted is an app that makes your phone function like a journalist’s recorder. Average rate per minute: $0.60

QA World – Situated in Salt Lake, Utah, USA, QA aims to deliver high-quality transcripts of audio calls. During the application, you will be required to undergo a 30-minute test. The good thing here is that your results will be revealed instantly. You don’t have to wait for days to know if you got accepted or not. Average rate per minute: $0.20

Rev – Its founders aim to break the barriers around the physical workplace so in 2010, this company was created. Within a decade of accurate data transcription, they were able to create outstanding online jobs powered by AI. They built an industry-leading speech recognition engine that’s perfect for interviews, content marketing, video production, and academic research. Average rate per minute: $0.70

Scribie – Founded in 2008, they claim to have a system that can handle large volumes of jobs without compromising on accuracy and quality. The company was built due to the realization that audio transcribing should not be made difficult for both customers and transcribers. They claim to offer a very high satisfactory experience for both clients and transcriptionists. Average rate per minute: $0.25

Speech Pad – Since they began operations in 2008, their customer base ranges from large companies to boutique businesses and individuals. Their system includes a multi-tier review process with closed-loop feedback to their worker base. Average rate per minute: $1.38

Tigerfish – They promise to give clients a fully edited transcript in two hours, and they guarantee it with a quality that’s second to none. They render captioning services that include conventions, healthcare, marketing, and consulting. Average rate per minute: $0.16

Transcribe Me – Since 2011, they’ve been offering services powered by pairing the latest speech-to-text technologies and the very best of human intelligence. They provide transcription that ranges from interviews to corporate documents. Average rate per minute: $0.25

Transcript Divas – Created in 2013, the company takes pride in its 200% diligence in matters of product delivery. They claim to have a diverse team of transcriptionists: from legal to medical roles, to film production industries. Average rate per minute: $1.91

Verbal Ink – They are established as one of the leading players in giving transcription services since 2003 which means they have been around longer than most of their competitors. What they offer includes foreign language transcription, subtitling services, and voiceover services. Average rate per minute: $0.85

Verbit – If clients aim for both speed and accuracy, then Verbit should be the company that they approach. They claim to be the best at both categories. Although they are one of the newest transcribing companies around, they have proven to be great at employing smart AI technology to conduct transcription and captioning with automation and speed. Average rate per minute: $0.24



So, does a transcriptionist’s job fit into the future of your working career? If you haven’t done so yet, browse through any of the above-mentioned sites and find out for yourself.

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