If you are hunting for flexible work-at-home jobs, have strong typing skills, and know your way around a computer, you might want to consider a job in transcription services. A specialized form of data entry, transcription is the valuable work of taking audio files and typing them out into usable, digital files that can be searched, saved, and used in a variety of fields.
In this article we’ll look at different fields that need transcription, including law enforcement, medicine, and legal services, show you where to find transcription jobs, give you some tools to help you get started, and help you understand how these jobs tend to pay.
- What Is Transcription?
- Different Transcription Fields
- Where to Find Transcription Work
- Tools of the Trade
- How Transcription Jobs Pay
What Is Transcription?
Transcription is the art of listening to audio files and then copying words down verbatim, usually into a digital file that can be saved and searched.
The digital age has made transcription an exploding field as there is an ever-greater demand for converting audio files to written documents. While demand has increased, the internet has also made it possible for transcription to be done anywhere with an active internet connection, speakers or headphones, and a keyboard.
Audio files can be sent remotely to people who can use tools of the trade (more on that shortly) to listen and type out exactly what is said, then send those files back cleanly and quickly. What was once a task for a typewriter and a tape recorder is now a global industry.
The field is popular for people who prefer to work at home, or would like to work remotely, and is often conducive for people who need to keep flexible hours. Payment is usually done by the length of the audio file, so quick and accurate typing is a good thing to have if you’re trying to be efficient and earn money doing transcription.
Different Transcription Fields
Various transcription companies specialize in different fields, but these brief summaries should give you a basic understanding of how different fields utilize transcription services.
Law Enforcement Transcription
Law enforcement often needs transcription services for long suspect interviews or officers’ voice notes, and for police departments that don’t have transcriptionists on staff, they can sometimes contract out to other firms who handle transcribing for them.
Medical transcriptionists, sometimes called medical scribes or medical coders, take voice notes from doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals and get them into clean copy that can be reviewed and saved. Many doctors prefer to dictate medical records so that they can remain focused on patients during care and not take up valuable time writing or typing out notes, which creates a need for those dictations to be transferred into documents that can be saved and searched.
Transcribing in this field can require a few more years of experience. It’s incredibly beneficial to have a working knowledge of medical terminology and health information, as doctors tend to use highly technical terms and shorthand when making voice notes dealing with operative reports and patient reports.
Being a medical scribe requires not only excellent typing skills, but the ability to understand the terminology and correctly enter in electronic medical records. If you have experience in hospitals, as a medical assistant or receptionist, it can be a huge help.
Different than court stenography, legal transcriptionists take audio files (which can include depositions, voice notes, interviews, and more) and transcribe them into digital files. There is sometimes special formatting required, and having experience in the field (especially as a court stenographer) can make a resume stand out when applying to jobs in legal transcription.
Journalists often collect copious amounts of digital audio files, from interviews to voice notes, and many turn to transcription services to help them process the data into text that can be used. While podcasts are making things easier from a transcribing perspective, as many journalists are choosing to share audio files with an audience directly, there will always be a need to take auditory interviews and process them into text.
Where to Look for Transcription Work
If you are on the hunt for work-from-home transcription jobs, the following companies offer transcription services and are often looking for new talent. Follow the links to learn more about each company.
TranscribeMe boasts “the industry’s best rates,” and offers starting pay of $15–$22 per audio hour. Workers there can earn up to $2,200 monthly, with average earners taking in $250 per month. They also offer higher rates for legal and medical transcriptionists with experience in those fields.
Scribie is a popular transcription company that is regularly hiring new talent. They advise that you need proficiency in English, and have made it easy to apply online quickly.
Rev is another major player in the transcription field. They offer weekly payouts via Paypal, average earning of $245 per month with top earners bringing in $1,495 monthly.
Transcribe Anywhere is currently hiring transcriptionists, but advises that candidates must be a legal U.S. citizen and take a written test that adheres to their style guide. They do offer flexibility when it comes to hours, the ability to work from home, and competitive pay.
Another popular service, Net Transcripts has made it easy to apply by asking that you simply email in your resume and a recruiter will reach out to you directly. This company specializes in legal transcripts, so experience in that field is important to note on your resume.
GoTranscript is currently accepting applications. They offer up to $0.60 per audio minute, with average earnings of $150 a month. Top earners for the company bring in $1,250 a month.
AccuTran Global hire intermittently, but are usually looking for U.S. and Canada-based transcriptionists in April. Check their website regularly to see if opportunities are available.
On all of these applications, it’s important to note if you have transcription experience, especially if you have legal or medical transcription experience (at least one year). While many of these jobs would be happy to welcome an entry level candidate, having prior experience is a differentiator and can increase your pay.
Tools of the Trade
To succeed in transcription, it’s not only about having excellent typing skills and typing speed, but having working knowledge of the latest tech that can make your job easier, increase your speed, and help you make more money.
They actually make special equipment for transcription. Good, comfortable headphones are a must, but if you are serious about the field you should look into a digital foot pedal which allows you to pause, rewind and fast forward audio while keeping your hands on the keyboard. People who have to constantly use a mouse to drag to a specific moment in an audio file waste valuable seconds that could be applied to typing.
Also helpful is having a strong internet connection for easily uploading and downloading audio files, as well as a Paypal account to accept payment and keep organized with invoicing.
Lastly, it’s extremely important to follow a company’s style guide, which details exactly how transcribed files should look, what rules to follow when bolding or italicizing different things, how to denote symbols and percentages, and more. Following a style guide is a vital skill for anyone who wants to make money in transcription.
Related: Check out Babbletype if you are a fast typer. It’s a great way to earn extra money for your ability to quickly enter data
How Transcription Jobs Pay
Transcription work can be full-time or part-time, but for people who work remotely it is almost always paid out by the audio hour or audio minute. This means that you are paid for the amount of audio time that you transcribe, not for how long it takes you to do it. This means that the difference between someone making good money and bad money can often come down to how quickly you type.
This is why it’s unwise to misrepresent your typing ability on an application. Be honest with yourself about how quickly you can transcribe audio files. Companies don’t care much how long it takes you to do the work, they just pay for the work that is done. If you can transcribe extremely quickly (as close to as real-time as possible) and remain focused, these jobs can pay very well. If it takes you a very long time to transcribe, it will be hard to make money.
There are companies that pay more for quick turnaround time (jobs that can be done in an hour, for example), and you can also make more if you speak Spanish, and have special training in legal and medical transcription.
Transcriptionists are almost always paid as independent contractors, and are usually paid either weekly or twice monthly, depending on the company.
Make Extra Money as a Transcriptionist
Work-from-home transcriptionists get the freedom to set their own schedule, and bring in extra cash while doing remote work. While the pay is often dependent on typing speed and efficiency, if you have the right tools and are a strong typist, it can be an effective way to bring in extra income from the comfort of home.