Transcription jobs were something I dabbled in briefly when I first started working from home. General transcription is one of the few work-from-home industries that welcomes newcomers with little to no experience. Though the pay can be pretty low starting out, experienced transcriptionists can easily earn a full-time income from home.
Starting a transcription career can be a little confusing and overwhelming. There are different types of transcription. Some require training and some don’t. You may or may not need to purchase equipment. Today, let’s take an in-depth look at this work from home opportunity.
The Transcription Process
Once you are contracted for a transcription job from home, you will be sent audio or video files that need to be transcribed into text files. Files today are usually exchanged via digital means. There is software available to help with playing back the audio on your computer. When you are finished turning the audio into text, you will send the text file to your client.
You have got to have great typing and grammar skills and a good ear. Good research skills won’t hurt either. Every now and again you may need to look up the spelling or meaning of a word. You will also need to be able to follow directions and pay attention to detail. Every company has their own style guide that needs to be followed when transcribing files.
Many new transcriptionists start out with just their computer and a great headset. A headset will allow you to eliminate any background noise from your environment so you can hear clearer audio.
Most companies have their preferred transcription software. Express Scribe is a popular choice and has a free version available. This type of software will allow you to use “hot keys” to stop and start audio and control the speed. Express Scribe works with both keyboards and foot pedals.
After you start making a few bucks, you will find a foot pedal can greatly increase your productivity. As transcriptionists are paid by the audio minute completed, the more you can transcribe the more can earn.
There are three main categories of transcription; general, legal and medical. General transcription usually requires no formal training. Legal transcription often relies on experience. Medical transcription usually requires an AHDI-approved certificate (Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity). As you would expect, legal and medical transcription tend to pay quite a bit more than general gigs.
Now, that’s not to say general transcription can’t pay well. It all depends on where you are finding work and your experience. There are a lot of places out there that allow almost any in and literally pay only pennies. If you are willing to invest in your skills, you may be able to find clients of your own willing to pay a premium for your services.
CareerStep is my go-to recommendation for medical transcription and coding training. They are AHDI-approved and allow you to complete your certification on your own time. They also help with job placement and have tuition assistance available.
TranscribeAnywhere offers in-depth training on both general and legal transcription. The course includes training, templates, contracts, help with setting rates and more. A private Facebook Group is also available. Janet has a free mini-course you take first to help you decide if this is a good career fit for you.
Jump-Start Your Work at Home Transcription Career is an inexpensive ebook from the fabulous Lisa Mills at WorkAtHomeMomRevolution.com. Lisa includes 60 companies that hire general transcriptionists along with her tips to getting started.
There are so many people in need of transcriptionists today. Even I outsource videos and podcasts I have been done to be transcribed for use in blog posts and subscriber giveaways. And with the popularity of video marketing increasing, expect more of these opportunities to pop up.
In addition to bloggers and online business owners, insurance agents, lawyers, authors, doctors, churches and others have a need for audio files to be transcribed. Here are a few companies that hire online workers.
- Rev.com – the pay isn’t too high here and they prefer some experience. It’s very flexible, however.
- TranscribeMe – open to newbies, operates on a microtask, crowd-based setup. Pay is $20 per audio hour to start.
- GMR Transcription stopped by recently to tell us more about transcription and their company. Read it here.
- Tigerfish – no experience needed, you just need to pass their test
- Verbal Ink – hires only skilled transcriptionists
- Allegis – wants 2+ years experience, but I’ve heard only good things about them
- Net Transcripts – hires for a lot of legal and police transcription (interesting!), you need to be a resident of the U.S. and pass a background check
- Focus Forward – experience preferred
For additional opportunities, check out Lisa’s book above or visit FlexJobs. FlexJobs is one of my favorite online job boards. Their leads are researched and always remote. You should also check out Find Transcription Work and this list from Real Ways to Earn.
Remember that you are paid by the audio minute, not the time it takes you to transcribe a file. Most places will let you know how much they pay per audio minute or hour. It’s estimated that it can take anywhere from three to six hours to transcribe one audio hour depending on the audio quality and number of speakers – and your experience. Divide that audio hour quote by 3 or 4. Is that an hourly wage you can live with?
Those are a few of my tips and resources to landing a transcription job from home. I’d love to hear your experience in the field and any tips you may have for beginners.