On the face of it, transcription seems like one of those jobs that pretty much anyone with a laptop can do. Online transcription jobs involve listening to audio (or watching a video) and capturing what has been said in a document – it’s as simple as that. Whether you’re looking to do a little transcription work as a side hustle or you want to set up your own freelance transcription business, there are opportunities for beginners.
If you’ve never tried transcription before, how can you get work doing it?
Many transcription companies don’t require prior experience. Transcription sites for beginners will allow you to register and take a test to see how well you perform at the job; as long as you meet their minimum standards, you’ll have the opportunity to work for them.
Requirements vary from site to site. Some transcription jobs for newbies require downloading transcription software that lets you set the playback speed and easily pause and rewind the audio. Others will have you use their website, which has all the controls inbuilt. Whichever option it is, get all your technology set up and run any available tests to make sure everything is working as expected.
Set yourself up for success when taking the test. Find a quiet spot to work where you won’t be interrupted. Use earbuds or headphones, and if you can change their settings so they are optimized for voice recordings rather than pumping out bass. Accuracy is more important than speed for transcription jobs for newbies, and for some sites getting a better accuracy score on your test will open up better-paying jobs.
At first glance, the rates for transcription look very generous and can be as high as $30 an hour. However. You need to consider how first how much time you can dedicate to it. The important thing to understand is that the rate is per hour of audio you transcribe, not per hour you work.
How fast you transcribe will depend on your typing speed and accuracy, but it will also depend on the quality of the audio. It is much easier to transcribe an hour of clear audio in your first language spoken by native speakers than to try and work through a phone call where speakers are at different volumes, have strong accents, or are using unfamiliar terminology with.
You can expect to get quicker with time, and an experienced transcriber can earn as much as $20 an hour, but for transcriptionist jobs for beginners, that could be as low as $3-11. You may get a bonus if your transcription is accurate, which is decided by editors who look over your work once you have submitted it.
As you gain experience, you will be able to add certifications to your resume, enabling you to access higher pay rates. These specialisms include medical and legal and require either a year or more experience transcribing in that field or specialist qualification.
There are many different sites where you can find transcription jobs online. It’s important to take a look at the information they provide on rates of pay, deadlines, and any other expectations to make sure that you can meet all the requirements. Here are just some of the sites that offer transcription jobs from home.
Operating since 2010, Rev is one of the best-known transcription companies. They pay rates of $0.30 to $1.10 per minute for transcription (starting at $0.54 for captioners), which is paid weekly via PayPal. To apply, you have to complete a language and grammar quiz to check your English and then complete a sample – you could be up and running within an hour.
GoTranscript offers transcription services in over 20 languages. Their average payment rate is $0.60 per minute, which they pay weekly on a Friday through PayPal or Payoneer. No equipment is required other than laptops and headphones, but you can use a foot pedal with their software if you prefer.
This site offers one of the best rates of pay, with up to $2.50 per minute being achieved by their top performers – but you will need to be very accurate to earn that level. Translators can earn up to $5.00 per minute. You’ll be using their website to transcribe, and they pay out twice a week.
Claiming the highest rates in the industry at $15-22 per audio hour, this site operates a little differently in that you transcribe short audio clips rather than full-length interviews, with each lasting between two and four minutes. Their system sends you the next one automatically once you are done so you can keep the work going.
5. Daily Transcription
Offering both English and Spanish transcription, Daily Transcription’s top workers earn $350-$950 per week, and they claim to pay higher rates than sites like Rev and TranscribeMe. You’ll need to pass a skills assessment and a transcription test to join the team.
Great Transcription Websites for Beginners
While these sites are our top five, there are many other options available to you when you starting out in transcription; here’s a summary with more details below:
Site Rate Link to Apply BabbleType Not available Here CastingWords From $0.85 per audio minute Here GMR Transcription Not available Here Landmark Transcription Not available Here Daily Transcription From $0.05 per word Here Scribie From $5 per audio hour Here SpeakWrite Average monthly earning of $450 Here Transcription HUB From $0.71 per audio minute Here Way with Words From $0.45 per audio minute Here 3Play Media Not available Here
1. Babble Type
Stressing that they are looking for highly educated and highly literate applicants, Babble Type offers both transcription and translation and offers ongoing support and training to the applicants they accept. They focus on accuracy, including context, so they’re looking for native speakers.
2. Casting Words
Offering transcription and captioning services, Casting Words to work with freelancers from all around the world. They are looking for transcription that goes above and beyond, and they offer their customers a 99% accuracy promise, reflected in the relatively high rate of $0.85 per audio minute.
3. GMR Transcription
With the average GMR Transcriptionist earning over $1,000 a month, there’s a good earning potential here. Offering both English and Spanish transcription, the only way to apply is via their website – no use calling or emailing.
4. Landmark Transcription
Landmark will only recruit transcriptionists based in Australia, but getting on board is as simple as taking a test and filling out a brief questionnaire. They have a few reviews from existing transcribers on their website, which praise how easy it is to navigate their system and get more work.
Top transcriptionists at Quicktate make upwards of $350, and the payout is twice per week, so there’s no waiting around for your cash. They make a point of saying that no experience is necessary and that they will support you with ongoing training.
Scribie provides their transcribers with automated transcripts, saving you around 60% of the work as most of it is already done. The pay is lower to reflect that, though, starting at $20 per audio hour.
7. Transcription HUB
When you’re approved with Transcription HUB, you get access to their online marketplace platform, letting you pick the jobs you’d like to do when you’re ready to work. You will be assessed and given a level (Bronze, Silver, or Gold) that restricts which jobs you can do, but you can work your way up.
8. Way with Words
You need to speak English as a first language to work with this company, but they are looking for transcribers in South Africa, the United Kingdom, countries in the European Union, the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Hong Kong. Paying from $0.45 per audio minute, the rate increases depending on the turnaround time.
9. 3Play Media
You can transcribe or edit automated transcription with this company, which is looking for both English and Spanish-speaking freelancers. You can apply via the link below if you’re over 18 and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
One word of warning, make sure that you use these links to apply for online transcription jobs. Many of the sites have warnings against scammers who approach transcribers via sites like Fiverr or Upwork, claiming to be from legitimate companies, but they are not. Make sure that you know who you are dealing with.
And that’s our list of the best transcription jobs for beginners. It’s something that anyone with a good grasp of language and a laptop with a decent internet connection can start with, and while it’s certainly not easy money, there is plenty of work available. Good luck landing your first transcription gig!