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There’s a lot of talk about transcription being one of the best ways to work online, especially if you’re looking for something that doesn’t require much experience and has a ton of flexibility.
But here’s the problem:
Most of what we read about online transcription jobs for beginners is pure crap.
In this post you’re going to learn which are the best online transcription jobs for beginners. In other words, which transcription companies are the only ones worth your time.
You’ll also learn:
- Why these are the best transcription companies to work for.
- How much you can REALLY make with each company.
- And how to make more money doing online transcription.
So if you’re ready to see which is the best transcription company to work for, you’ll appreciate this post.
Things To Know Before You Get Started Doing Online Transcription:
Before we start talking about the best entry level transcription jobs, let me point you to some of my research and how-to guides:
How To Become A Transcriptionist: step-by step guide for beginners. In this how-to guide, I go over everything you need to know to get started doing transcription. Things like these:
– What the work is like.
– How you earn money and get paid.
– The skills, requirements, and tools you need to do online transcription.
– How to get started from scratch.
How Much Transcription jobs Really Pay. In this guide, I researched exactly how transcription payment is figured and paid. This will help you see if doing transcription is worth it. It’s pretty interesting.
Now on to how I picked the best companies to work for.
The Best Entry-Level Transcription Jobs: How I Picked Them
There are only a few transcription companies worth your time and you’ll see which ones they are in this post.
But let me tell you this:
I’m not the best typist.
I only have a laptop and an inexpensive headset.
I can only work a few hours a week.
However, I’ve been doing online transcription – on and off – since 2017.
When I sat down to figure out the best companies to work for, for newbies, I did a lot of research and I knew my little bit of experience would definitely help.
The basics were the same from one company to another:
- You need to be a pretty good typist, like around 65 words per minute.
- You need sharp listening skills.
- You need a good headset (I use this one).
- You need a new-ish computer.
- You need to follow the company’s transcription style EXACTLY as they tell you.
Besides the basics, here are the 3 main points I looked at to determine the best transcription companies to work for…as a beginner. I was a little surprised at some of the information I found:
#1 How is the overall feedback ?
I looked at the feedback with a skeptical eye, reading hundreds of reviews from current and past transcribers of these companies. I was interested in the pay, work/life balance, availability of work, and management support; all factors that helped me determine the best transcription companies to work for.
#2 How much do they REALLY pay ?
It’s important to know how much each company pays because the amount you actually earn is based on rate and time. On the surface it appears you can rake in anywhere from $12.00 to $20.00 an hour. The reality ? That $12.00 – $20.00 will take you a lot more than an hour to earn.
#3 Do they actually take beginners ? As in no, to little, experience ?
A lot of (other) blogs talk about entry-level transcription jobs but the companies they cite want people who have experience. My goal is to list companies that actually take beginners…people who don’t have any transcription experience to begin with.
Which brings me to this…
Which Transcription Company Pays The Best ?
To figure out which transcription company pays the best, I have to consider two things:
- The rate each company pays for a transcription file, which is typically an ‘audio minute’ or ‘audio hour’ file.
- The fact that it can take up to 6 hours for a brand-new transcriber to complete an audio hour file, according to my transcription pay calculation.
So, taking those two things into account, here’s the rundown of what each of the worthwhile transcription companies pay in order of highest to lowest:
- Transcription Divas, $20.85 average per hour.
- Ubiqus, $14.00 per hour.
- 3Play Media, $10.00 – $30.00 per hour.
- GMR Transcription, $7.50 – $10.00 per hour.
- Daily Transcription, $7.50 – $8.50 per hour.
- Go Transcript, $6.00 per hour.
- Rev, $3.00 – $11.00 per hour.
Looking at this list, you’re tempted to start with the first three, right ?
But the thing is, there’s more to these transcription sites than just the pay. Things like work availability, flexibility, and overall work atmosphere are just as important.
Starting From Scratch
A lot of experienced transcribers will tell us that doing transcription with these companies is not worth your time because the pay is pretty low.
Let’s face the facts:
You’re a beginner just getting started. And you have to start somewhere, right ?
Which is why I backed up my list of the best transcription companies with real research.
And don’t worry. You can quickly go from inexperienced to pro. and make more money. In fact, here’s my post that shows you how to become a transcriptionist and start making a lot more money.
But until then, here’s my suggestion:
– Take a look at this list and pick one or two of these companies to work for.
– Stick with it for a few weeks, maybe a month. Remember, you’re gaining experience, which you need if you want to make more money.
– Then, after a few weeks, apply for transcription work with companies that pay better and prefer some experience. I’ll go into more detail on them later in this post; for now, though, let’s stick with the transcription companies that take beginners.
So now let’s take a look at best online transcription jobs for beginners and how I ranked them.
Best Transcription Jobs For Beginners
Rating: 1st Place
Pay: $7.50 to $10.00 an hour.
GMR doesn’t disclose their pay rates until you’re hired, but they do tell us that you’re paid based on turnaround time, number of speakers per file, and the quality of audio.
Based on my research, transcribers for GMR earn $0.75 to $1.00 per audio minute, which translates to $45.00 to $60.00 per audio hour. So, looking at my calculation of how much you can make as a beginner transcriptionist, this means you can earn $7.50 to 10.00 an hour if you’re a beginner or $11.25 to $15.00 if you have gained some experience and can work faster.
GMR is the best company to work for because it scored highly within the review sites I looked at, with highest rating given to work/life balance and overall management. In fact, you have the flexibility to work wherever you want to and pick-and-choose your transcription assignments.
That said, there are two stipulations:
- A probation period, where you must transcribe at least two hours of audio before you’re paid.
- You must do at least 4 hours of audio each month to continue working with GMR.
Applying to work with GMR is simple, just go to their careers page and submit your resume. Once submitted, you’ll automatically be emailed a test with instructions on how to take it. Submit the test, be graded, then hopefully they’ll get back with you within 2 weeks and you can begin working.
You can apply for a job with GMR Transcription here.
Rating: 2nd Place
Pay: $6.00 an hour.
They pay up to $0.60 cents an audio minute, with top earners making up to $1,215 per month. Sounds good, but what is the pay for the average person ? If you can type 60 words a minute that would come to a pay rate of $36.00 an hour.
But that’s if the audio files are perfect and if you have plenty of files to work on and if you are a perfect typist with a perfect ear for all spoken accents.
Figuring in the transcription rate calculation I wrote about earlier, it could take a beginner 6 actual hours to do one audio hour. So, a $0.60 cent audio minute translates to a 36 dollar audio hour. If it takes 6 real hours to transcribe, that comes to a pay of $6.00 an hour.
Despite the low pay, I rated Go Transcript as 2nd place because my research showed that people really like working for this company. Overall, there seems to be enough work to go around and the Editors who review the transcribed work give constructive feedback and positive reviews.
To see if you’ve got the chops, for your skills test GoTranscript intentionally gives you an audio file that contains non-native English speakers. And, because they say a lot of their files are like that, you can expect to have a lot of somewhat difficult files to transcribe.
You can apply for a job with Go Transcript here.
Rating: 3rd Place
Pay: Project based, equivalent to $10.00 to $30.00 per hour.
As far as pay goes, 3Play Media is the best transcription company to work for but there’s more to picking the best than just looking at the pay. The overall feelings towards job security and management style play a role in ranking them.
For instance, there are some times of the year when little work is available and when it is, you have to be quick to grab work because jobs are claimed on a first-come / first-served basis.
The training is pretty long. I suppose that could be a good thing, though.
3Play Media has jobs for English and Spanish Transcript Editors and all the typical requirements apply, including the necessity to type at 75 words per minute.
Applying for this job is pretty easy – you just fill out the online application, transcribe the audio file test that floats on the left / bottom of your computer screen and then wait for them to grade your test and get back with you.
You can apply for a job with 3Play Media here.
Rating: 4th Place
Pay: $7.50 to $8.50 an hour, paid weekly by check.
Daily Transcription tells us that the $0.75 cents to $0.85 cents per audio minute = $45.00 to $51.00 per audio hour. Taking into account that it can take up to 6 hours for a beginner to transcribe an hour of audio, the actual pay comes to $7.50 up to $8.50 per hour.
Welcoming entry-level transcribers who live in the USA or Canada (only), you don’t need to be the fastest typist…50 words per minute typing speed is acceptable. But the faster and more accurately you are, the better your chances or earning on the higher end of the pay spectrum.
They have a training video and style guides and a whole bunch of practice tests. I strongly recommend you do as many as you can to get your skills just right.
This company got a lot of positive feedback from current and former transcribers who felt management was pretty gracious when it came to answering questions and providing support. However, job security comes and goes as the need for transcribers fluctuates.
You can apply for a job with Daily Transcription here.
Rating: 5th Place
Pay: $3.00 to $11.00 an hour paid weekly via Paypal.
Rev pays every Monday via PayPal at the rate of $0.30 cents to $1.10 per audio/video minute. and because we know it will take longer to actually transcribe a minute than to listen to one, we can figure the true pay to be $3.00 to $11.00 an hour.
Rev used to be one of the leading transcription companies for beginners to work for, but they have changed their pay rates and I have read a lot of negative reviews from current and past workers claiming management isn’t too helpful and there’s not much work to do.
But there are opportunities to move-up from Transcriptionist to Captioner and earn $5.40 to $11.00 an hour.
I know from personal experience that the application process starts with a quick little typing test. Followed with a 10 minute grammar test, where you select the right answer to a series of questions and statements, and ending with you doing a sample transcription.
Don’t worry, the tests aren’t too hard. And if you don’t pass the test you can re-take it 45 days later.
After a while, when you get more experience, you can apply to be a captioner or a translator. These positions earn a few pennies more per minute of work.
You can apply for a job with Rev here.
Now That You Have Some Experience…
Now that you’ve been working with one of the companies in the above list, it’s time to start making more money.
These two transcription companies pay well but they prefer some experience…which you now have.
Rating: 6th Place – they want some experience, which you will gain while working for some of the other companies on this list.
Pay: $20.85 an hour on average.
From the Transcript Divas website:
As an example, in September 2019 our highest rate was $2.98/minute of recording transcribed (our lowest rate was $0.84/minute). The average rate over the month was $1.39/minute.
So, to figure out how much you’ll earn, we have to use the ‘experienced transcribers take 4 hours to complete an audio hour’ calculation:
Highest rate: $2.98 audio minute = $178.80 audio hour = $44.70 an hour pay.
Lowest rate: $0.84 audio minute = $50.40 audio hour = $12.60 an hour pay.
Average rate: $1.39 audio minute = $83.40 audio hour = $20.85 an hour pay.
Transcript Divas has very high standards because their #1 goal is to provide the best work to their clients. If you filled out the application but have not heard back, they’re probably not interested in having you work with them. If they do want you, they’ll contact you to set up a test and phone interview.
You can apply for a job with Transcript Divas here.
Rating: 7th Place – because I cannot confirm the actual pay and they prefer some experience, which you will gain by working with some of the other companies on this list.
Pay: Possibly $14.00 an hour, realistically $7.00 an hour.
Ubiqus pays for every word transcribed but they’re pretty tight-lipped about their compensation. My research tells me a new transcriber can make up to $14.00 an hour but this is only my research, which is limited.
I’m a little skeptical with the $14.00 an hour because it’s pretty high for a beginner transcriptionist. And honestly, when people talk about transcription pay per hour, they don’t understand that pay per hour is different than an hour of audio.
So let’s figure this through, using my typing skills an an example:
I can type 60 words a minute.
That would equal 3600 words an hour of constant typing.
To earn $14.00 an hour means I would be paid .0039 cents a word. Which, honestly, isn’t too out of reality.
There is no way I would be typing constantly for an entire hour. Mistakes, having to play back the file because I didn’t understand what was said, and glitches all contribute to slower typing speed.
So I’m going to reduce my total words typed down to half. 1800 total words typed in an hour means $7.02 earning per hour.
That sound more realistic.
Even though Ubiqus seems to be one of the better payers, they do want you to have some experience. In fact, this is what their jobs page states:
1-5 years of relevant experience (i.e. editing/proofreading work with a publishing company, secretarial experience, work in education, etc.) or current transcription student status. If lacking experience in this regard, explain why your personal pursuits have given you the aptitude to be successful in this position.
If it wasn’t for them wanting experience, I would rate Ubiqus as one of the top 3 best transcription companies to work for, even though they state this is a part-time job.
They only hire US residents who have a computer, headphones, and strong internet connection. A foot pedal isn’t necessary but would make transcribing a lot easier.
The Best Training Courses To Become A Better Transcriptionist
By now you have some entry-level transcription experience and you don’t hate it. You even applied to work for one of the ‘experienced preferred’ companies.
But you want to make more money as a transcriptionist. A lot more.
So you have a few choices:
Choice #1: stick with these easy transcription companies and work your butt of,
Choice #2, learn how to become a professional transcriptionist and make a lot more money without working your butt off.
I like choice #2 but the only way to do that is with some really good training, like these 2 courses:
#1 One of the best – and most affordable – online transcription for beginners training courses: Learn Beginning To Advanced Transcription Skills.
I promise, you’ll be glad you did because there’s more to becoming a transcriptionist than just knowing how to type.
But I need to be honest here. It’s a good course and gets you over the beginner hump but if you really want to get in on making decent money doing online transcription, you need even better training.
#2 This is the course I recommend because it covers everything. I go into greater detail about this transcription course in this post, so I’ll just go over the highlights:
- You’ll learn the right tools…software and headphones that are used by the pros.
- You’ll learn all about shortcuts and ‘hot keys’ to make you a faster transcriber.
- You’ll learn about style and format.
- You’ll get after-the-class care
- You’ll discover where to find high-paying clients.
Both of these courses are great if you’re ready to become a high-paying transcriber.
Ready To Start with One Of These Online Transcription Jobs?
Now that you have a good idea of what you can expect to earn with beginner-level transcription companies, and you still want to give it a try, go ahead and fill out the applications and take the tests. Start making money today – even if it starts out as just a little extra cash.
Feel free to leave a comment below if and when you start a new job doing online transcription.