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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.
In this post you’re going to learn which are the best online transcription jobs for beginners. In other words, which companies are the only ones worth your time.
You’ll also learn:
- Why these are the best transcription companies to work for. Forget about what all those other blogs tell you…there are only a few transcription companies that are worth your time.
- How to learn transcription easily. There’s more to being a transcriptionist than just being a fast typer. I’ll go over how you can quickly and easily learn how to do transcription.
- How much you can make doing transcription with each of these companies. 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.
- How long it takes to transcribe 1 hour of audio. Transcribing an hour of audio is much different than listening to an hour of audio.
So if you’re ready to see which is the best company to work for and how to get started doing transcription, you’ll appreciate this post.
How I Determined The Best Transcription Companies To Work For (as a beginner)
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 for newbies, I knew my little bit of experience would definitely help. I found the basics were the same from one company to another:
- You need to be able to type
- You need good 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 easy is it to get started ?
When I looked into how easy it is to get started, all the companies were similar: You apply, take a few online typing and grammar tests, wait to hear back, then start working.
#2 How much do they REALLY pay ?
I wanted to know how much you could make doing online transcription because 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, resulting in $4.00 to $9.00 an hour.
#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…
How To Learn Transcription Easily
Starting out cold WILL NOT get you a job in transcription. Even though this post is about transcription jobs for beginners, you still need to know some basics. Like sentence structure, grammar, and your typing speed.
You’ll have to pass a skills test with whichever company you go with.
Yep. Even with these entry-level companies, they want to be sure you have the chops.
They want to see if:
- Your typing is up to snuff.
- You have a good ear and can listen well.
- You know your way around a simple audio file.
- You have a strong grasp of the English language
There are a few things you want to do before you apply for one of the entry-level transcription companies I list later on.
First, hop on over to TypingTest.com and take a sample typing test.
Then, scurry on over to Exam English and check out your grammar and vocabulary prowess.
After that, do a few of these practice transcription tests.
Lastly, check out 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 that just knowing how to type.
I need to be honest here: That course I just mentioned ? Yes, it’s a good one 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. So this is the course I recommend because it covers everything.
CHECK OUT MY OTHER POST: How to do transcription from home and go from beginner to expert: Check it out here.
All righty now. Let’s see how much you can make doing transcription.
How Much Can You Make As A Transcriber ?
The short answer: A beginner transcriptionist can realistically make anywhere from $3.00 an hour to $6.00 an hour. An experienced transcriptionist can make considerably more – even over $20.00 an hour.
It’s possible to make money from home transcribing but no matter how much experience you have, what you earn depends on these two factors:
#1 How much the pay is per audio minute
#2 How long it takes to transcribe that minute.
Let me explain.
Every blog that spews information about online transcription jobs for beginners tells us we can earn around $12.00 an hour. Some, even more.
Here’s how they figure it::
Let’s say an audio file is 30 minutes long. That’s 30 minutes of someone talking. And the pay is .40 cents an audio minute. That’s potentially $12.00 for this 30 minute file (30 minutes times .40 cents = $12.00)
So you might think to yourself “if I do one file an hour, that’s $12.00 an hour. And…if I do two 30-minute files in an hour, that’s $24.00 an hour !”
WRONG. Here’s why:
Every company I have come across pays by the audio minute (or rounded up by the audio hour) – not the working hour.
So, how much does a beginner transcriptionist make? Well, as a beginner it could take you several working hours to complete the transcription for a 30-minute file. Therefore you could potentially only make $4.00 an hour.
Here’s what I mean:
Let’s say you spend three hours transcribing one 30-minute audio file and get paid $12.00. That 30-minute file does not equal $12.00 an hour, in other words, that 30-minute file could equal less than $4.00 an hour.
How Long Does It Take To Transcribe 1 Hour Of Audio ?
For an experienced transcriber, it can take up to 4 hours to transcribe one hour of audio. For a beginner, it can take up to 6 hours.
This may surprise you because transcribing an hour of audio is much different than listening to an hour of audio.
This is how I figured it out:
I estimated the time it takes to transcribe one audio hour based on my personal experience, with my typing speed of about 60 words per minute. Adding in a few minutes for proofreading per audio file, I figure the following:
How long it takes to transcribe an hour of audio: EXPERIENCED TRANSCRIBERS
- It can take 1 hour to complete 15 audio minutes
- 2 hours for 30 audio minutes
- 3 hours for 45 audio minutes
- 4 hours for 1 audio hour
So…If paid $0.50 cents per audio minute, that is $30.00 for an audio hour
But…if it takes 4 hours to complete an audio hour, that is $7.50 per hour pay rate (30 / 4)
How long it takes to transcribe an hour of audio: BRAND NEW, INEXPERIENCED TRANSCRIBERS
- It can take 1.5 hour to complete 15 audio minutes
- 3 hours for 30 audio minutes
- 4.5 hours for 45 audio minutes
- 6 hours for 1 audio hour
So…If paid $0.50 per audio minute, that is $30.00 for an audio hour
But…if it takes 6 hours to complete an audio hour, that is $5.00 per hour pay rate (30 / 6)
Now on to the best transcription companies to work for…companies that hire beginners.
Transcription Jobs For Beginners: Best Companies To Work For
Rating: BEST Rev pays $0.40 cents to $0.60 cents per audio minute, which comes to $24.00 to $36.00 an audio hour. For an experienced transcriber, let’s assume it will take 4 hours to complete 1 audio hour. That’s $6.00 to $9.00 an hour. A brand new, inexperienced transcriber may earn $4.00 to $6.00 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. Rev pays every Monday via PayPall and claim the average earners make $245.00 a month.
You can apply for a job with Rev here.
Rating: SECOND PLACE They claim to 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, right ? Woohoo !
But that’s if the audio minutes 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 calculation I came up with 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. Which takes 6 real hours to transcribe. That’s a pay of $6.00 an hour.
To see if you’ve got the chops, for your skills test this company 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: THIRD PLACE They pay $5.00 to $20.00 an audio hour, which – according to Scribie – is broken down into 6-minute files. The pay, therefore, comes out to .50 cents to $2.00 for each 6-minute file.
To calculate how much you can make in a working hour, we figure it will take ten 6-minute files to equal one audio hour. If each 6-minute file takes 30 minutes to complete, that’s 5 actual work hours to make up 1 audio hour. So, your earning will come to $1.00 to $4.00 per actual working hour.
Pretty pathetic as far as pay goes.
…Scribie has a few ‘extras’, like these:
- They give out a monthly $5.00 bonus for every 3 audio hours you complete.
- It’s easy to get promoted from being a transcriber to a reviewer – and possibly making twice the money.
- You can pick and choose the audio files you want to work on but be sure you complete the transcription within the two hour turn around time.
You can apply for a job with Scribie here.
Rating: TIED FOR THIRD The pay is all over the place because Casting Words is more of a platform for businesses to request transcription services. Each job pays differently, depending on a number of factors not limited to the type of transcription job you do and your level of experience. The average pay rate seems to be about $0.75 cents per audio minute.
That said, there is the possibility you can earn $7.50 an hour (.75 per audio minute x 60 minutes in an hour / 6 hours to complete an hour = $7.50). Keep in mind, though, most of the audio files are short and sweet, only a few minutes long, so the pay might be only a few dollars an hour. The pay will be closer to $5.00 an hour, accounting for the type of job, the level and grade Casting Words gives you, and the amount of work available
You can apply for a job with Casting Words here.
Rating: FOURTH PLACE They pay $0.004 to $0.0055 per word and $0.40 per audio minute for projects with longer turnaround times. Basically, for the super-simple, super-quick files, you are paid one cent for every four-and-a-half words up to just over one cent for every two words.
For the “larger” files, the ones with longer turnaround times, we need to do some assuming, Accounting for pausing to play back an audio file, let’s assume you can transcribe 30 words a minute (you normally type 60 words per minute). That would equal an earning of $.12 cents a minute, or $7.20 an hour. Now, if you add in some proofreading time, let’s assume it takes twice as long to actually transcribe the words in an audio minute. That would come to $3.60 an hour.
AccuTran Global is a Canadian based company that hires work-from-home transcriptionists in the US and Canada. At first glance, their pay seems extremely low but it is on par with most companies that hire beginners. Your earnings will be deposited into your bank account on or before the 15th of each month.
You can apply for a job with Accutran Global here.
Rating: LOW PLACE !!! $0.33 cents per audio minute; up to $20.00 per audio hour. Same time considerations, an experienced transcriber can earn up to $5.00 an hour and a brand new transcriber might earn just over $3.00 an hour.
Just like all the others, you’ll have to pass a skills test. But, If you fail, you have to wait 6 months before re-trying. Once you pass the test, though, you’re in ! They pay weekly via Paypal. On the downside, there is a waiting list.
You can apply for a job with Transcribe Me here.
Rating: YIKES !!! According to Quicktate, the rate of pay is $0.0025 per word. That’s one cent for every four words for the simple, quick, and short files.
To figure out how much you might make per hour, let’s do some quick math. Assuming you can type 60 words per minute that would come to $0.15 cents a minute (60 x .0025 = .15). Hmmm…not bad, considering that would translate to $9.00 an hour.
Not so fast…
Audio files are far from perfect. And you will not be transcribing in solid chunks of hours. In fact, you might be lucky to get in a whole hour a day.
So the reality with Quicktate is, your earnings will probably be around $1.00 an hour.
Once you pass the skills test, you can start making .01 cent for every four words transcribed. Although not the best payer, the audio files are short and simple – mainly voicemail messages. After a while, under good standings, you may be promoted to iDictate, QuickTate’s sister company. With the promotion comes twice the pay. Which is weekly via Paypal (for both Quick Take and iDictate).
Here’s something to consider, straight from QuickTate’s sign-up FAQ page: “After you pass the Quiz and the typing test, we will run a background check on you. You agree to pay the $20 cost of the background check…”
You can apply for a job with QuickTate here.
Rating: HONORABLE MENTION I did a lot of research on this company but could not come across any reliable sources indicating the rate of pay. So, assuming they are in line with the rest, consider this job one of those that will bring in a couple hundred a month.
A good place to get some verbatim court reporting and transcription experience under your belt. According to their website:
If you type over 60 words per minute and need to work from home, you may be what we’re looking for in a legal transcriber. No transcription experience necessary, but you must be willing and able to work on overnight delivery. Timeliness is a must, as are excellent English language skills. Please apply only if you can transcribe at least 5 hours of audio per week.
You can apply for a job with Neil R. Gross here.
Rating: WATCH IT ! They charge a non-refundable entrance exam fee from $39.00 to $99.00 depending on how quickly you want your application processed. I want to put this one on this list because it is one of the highest payer, even though they recently lowered their rates.
According to 1-800-Typeitup:
Our full pay scale ranges from $0.50 per audio minute ($30 per audio hour) to $3 per audio minute ($180 per audio hour).
Ok, remember how I explained how it could take 4 working hours to complete one audio hour ? Taking that reality into consideration, you will not be paid $30.00 to $180.00 an hour. You will be paid $7.50 to $45.00 an hour.
Yes, 1-800-Typeitup is one of the better payers but there’s still the 10.00 application fee.
You can check out 1-800Typeitup here.
Ready To Start Making Money Today?
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.