This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission for purchases made through these links. Please read my full disclosure for more info.
Transcription is a popular work from home job. As a matter of fact, there are a ton of companies that are hiring…even complete beginners.
And the pay sounds great for such easy work.
Or does it ?
Do you wonder if you can really make money transcribing? And is it even worth it ?
Let’s find out.
How Much Does Transcription Pay?
The short answer: A beginner transcriptionist can realistically make anywhere from $3.00 an hour to $11.00 an hour.
An experienced transcriptionist can make considerably more – even over $20.00 an hour.
It’s possible to make money from home as a transcriptionist, 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 transcription company I have come across pays by the audio minute (or rounded up by the audio hour) – not the working hour.
What they pay per audio minute is anywhere from a few pennies to a few dollars.
And it can take several minutes to transcribe one audio minute.
So what you earn isn’t what you think you’ll earn.
Here’s what I mean:
Every blog that spews information about entry-level online transcription jobs tells us we can earn at least $12.00 an hour. Some even tell us $24.00 an hour.
So 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:
It will take you a lot longer than 30 minutes to transcribe that file.
We now have to take a look at what an audio minute is and how it relates to a working minute.
What is an Audio Minute ?
An audio minute is one minute of someone talking. Rounded up to an audio hour, it’s one hour of someone talking.
Transcription companies pay you for each transcribed audio minute or audio hour.
And, to be brutally honest, it can take several minutes to work a one-minute audio file.
Which brings us to this…
What Is A Working Minute ?
A working minute is one minute of actually listening to an audio file and transcribing it. A working hour is an hour of doing that same work.
There are several factors that determine the difference between audio minute and working minute, some are:
- sound quality of the file
- accent and dialect of the speaker
- not understanding words
- having to play back the file
- proofreading your transcription
All these things have an effect on the length of time it takes you to transcribe an audio file.
Which brings us to this…how long it takes to transcribe a file.
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 to transcribe that same file.
We’ve established that transcribing an hour of audio is much different than listening to an hour of audio, which then changes how much you think you will earn.
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
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
How Much Does An Experienced Transcriptionist Make?
An experienced transcriptionist can expect to make $7.50 an hour to over $20.00 an hour, depending on If you work for an online company that produces a lot of transcriptions or if you freelance, charging rates you think you’re worth.
Let’s take our figures from above.
If a company pays $0.50 cents per audio minute, that’s $30.00 for an audio hour (.50 cents x 60 minutes in an hour = $30.00)
But…if it takes 4 hours to complete an audio hour, that’s $7.50 per hour pay rate ($30 for the audio hour / 4 hours to complete).
Now, I know that pay is low. Really low, especially for an experienced transcriptionist.
So what can you do ?
– Work for a company that pays much more than .50 cents an audio minute
– Do independent transcription work for businesses and bloggers
THEN you can make at least $20.00 an hour. In fact, here’s my post that shows you how to become a transcriptionist and start making big bucks.
How Much Does An Entry Level Transcriptionist Make?
An entry-level transcriptionist can expect to earn around $3.00 up to $11.00 an hour, with an average pay or $5.00 an hour. This is due to the fact it takes longer to transcribe an audio file than someone with more experience as well as companies hiring beginners tend to pay low rates.
Again looking at our figures from above.
And using the same scenario, with a company paying $0.50 cents per audio minute equaling $30.00 for an audio hour (.50 cents x 60 minutes in an hour = $30.00).
If it takes 6 hours to complete an audio hour, that is $5.00 per hour pay rate ($30 for the audio hour / 6 hours to complete).
OK, this pay is pretty bad, even for a beginner transcriptionist.
But you have to start somewhere.
So here’s what you can do:
Is Doing Online Transcription Worth It ?
Yes, doing online transcription IS worth it because it CAN pay well.
Especially if you’re good at it.
And to be honest, this is the kind of job that can be done as a side gig or a full-time career – it depends on how much time you want to devote to it.
It is worth it if you like it because the entry-level jobs give you the experience you need to be a pro.
And being a pro brings a lot more money.
Which brings us to this questions:
How can you make good money doing transcription ?
Here’s How To Make Good Money As A Transcriptionist
There are many opportunities to do transcription work, with the entry-level transcriptionist salary being anywhere from $3.00 and hour to $9.00 an hour and experienced transcriptionists averaging $20.00 an hour with the professional earning up to $40.00 an hour.
For example, take a look at these pro transcriptionists:
Bloggers in particular hire experienced transcribers, the ones who make $40.00 an hour. As an example, this SEO blog has a lot of its podcasts transcribed:
I hope you found this post interesting, and that it answered your questions on transcription salaries and whether or not it’s something you want to do.
Please leave a comment below if you found this helpful. Or if you decided to pursue transcription as a career.
Either way, I’d love to hear from you.