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24 Online Transcription Jobs for Beginners

April 8, 2021

Working from home as a transcriptionist is a great way to earn a steady income with flexible hours. If you’re an experienced typist with strong grammar skills, this may be a rewarding career for you.

In this article, we explain the basics of online transcription jobs, including the skills and equipment you’ll need to get started. We also share a list of 24 companies that hire transcriptionists to work remotely on audio projects within a variety of industries.

What is a transcriptionist?

A transcriptionist is someone who listens to an audio or video recording and then types everything that is said with accuracy and provides a clean document free of spelling, grammar and punctuation errors. Some transcription companies require a level of accuracy right down to every “uh” and “um,” so it’s important to have excellent attention to detail in this job. Some of the things you may be asked to transcribe include podcasts, interviews, business meetings and classroom lectures.

Related: A Complete Guide To Writing Interview Transcripts

How to become a transcriptionist

You can get started as a remote transcriptionist with relatively no training as long as you have a specific skill set and the basic equipment required to perform the job. Once you’ve gained experience, you can take on higher-paying jobs by investing in certifications that will qualify you for specialized roles, such as medical and legal transcriptionists.

Here's what a beginner needs to know to get started in an online transcription career:

Required skills and abilities

To get started as a general online transcriptionist, it's important to have the following skills:

  • Ability to type fast
  • Ability to type accurately
  • Good grammar, spelling and punctuation
  • Computer proficiency
  • Good hearing
  • Strong concentration skills
  • Strong time-management skills

Equipment/software

Online transcription jobs don’t require expensive equipment, but you should have a computer with high-speed internet and word processing software, such as Microsoft Word. Most companies will advise you to purchase transcription software that allows you to slow down the audio so it’s easier to catch every word. Transcription software will usually include a headset to improve sound quality and a foot pedal so you can play, forward and rewind the audio without taking your hands off your keyboard.

Some transcription companies may ask you to download certain apps so you can access audio files. One such account is Amazon MTurk account. Make sure you understand how to access files and deliver your finished documents before accepting an assignment.

Experience

Many transcription companies are willing to hire freelance transcribers with no prior experience, as long as you have the necessary skills. If you’re a beginner, you may be asked to submit a sample transcription or complete a test. General transcription training programs are also offered online, which can help you land that first job.

Optional certifications

While you can be hired for a transcription job without any formal training or experience, certain higher-paying positions, such as medical or legal transcription, require certification.

  • Medical certification
    Transcriptionist work in the medical field requires a one-year certification program or an associate degree in medical transcription. Courses include training in healthcare documentation, medical language and anatomy.

  • Legal certification
    To work as a legal transcriptionist, you need to enter a training program that teaches legal systems and terminology, documentation and research. You can also earn an associate degree as a legal administrative assistant instead of taking a certificate program.

  • Certified Healthcare Documentation Specialist (CHDS)
    This certification will help make you more competitive in the online transcription job market. Transcribe Anywhere is one company that offers online courses and certification.

Benefits of being an online transcriptionist

Flexible hours and the ability to work at your own pace are some of the main benefits of an on-line transcription job. Unless a company specifies certain work times, transcriptionists can set their own hours. However, some businesses ask transcribers to complete a certain daily word count, and some assignments may require you to meet a specified deadline. Make sure you discuss any expected hours or volume of work with your prospective employer before you begin an assignment.

Related: Frequently Asked Questions About Transcriptionist Jobs

Ways to find legitimate online transcription opportunities

There are plenty of legitimate transcription services that employ remote transcriptionists to meet their needs. Many companies use an online platform like Indeed to hire and assign projects to freelance transcribers.

A company hiring for online transcription jobs should provide the following:

Free application process

Legitimate online transcription companies make money from clients and should not charge you money to get started. You may have to pay a small fee for a background check if you choose to apply for a company that works with sensitive information.

Clear instructions for getting started

Companies that hire work-from-home transcriptionists should provide information on their website that clearly outlines the steps to apply for a freelance position. Some transcription businesses provide only an email contact or a form for those interested in working with the company. If you are inexperienced, it may not be worth your time to inquire.

Payment plan

Transcription companies should be clear about when and how they pay contractors. Most will pay you after a period of time based on the projects you've completed.

Related: How To Find Medical Transcription Jobs from Home

How to succeed as an online transcriptionist

There are certain ways you can make a great first impression in this field. If you want to excel at this job and increase your earning potential, keep these things in mind:

  • Be accurate. Make sure your transcripts are clean and you’ve caught every spoken word on your audio file. When you’re a beginner, accuracy is more important than speed.

  • Meet your deadlines. When you’re starting out as an online transcriber, it might take you longer to finish an assignment than you expect. Allow yourself plenty of time to meet your deadlines.

  • Advertise online. Once you have some experience, you can create a website online to boost yourself as a transcriber. You can post to social media with links to your website.

Related: 11 Speech-To-Text Apps for Your Transcription Needs

24 online transcription companies

The following companies offer remote transcription opportunities for beginning and experienced transcribers with varying payment structures based on either per word transcription or audio/video minutes and hours. Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. For the most up-to-date information, please click on the links below.

  • Rate: $15-$22 per audio hour
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass an English exam and training course; use Google Chrome as your browser

TranscribeMe! allows beginners to start without any experience or special equipment once you complete their transcriber training program. They use WorkHub, where transcriptionists can choose audio files to complete on their own schedule.

  • Rate: $0.25-$2.50 per audio hour
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass a typing and grammar test

Once you pass their tests, you can earn ratings that will help determine what audio transcripts are available to you. You're free to choose your own projects and may qualify for higher-paying work.

  • Rate: $0.0025-$0.005 per word
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass a background check and supply 3 references; pay a $20 fee for a background check

Quicktate and its sister company iDictate hire transcribers to work on either short- or long-form audio files. One application will allow you to work for either company.

4. Rev

  • Rate: $0.40-$0.75 per audio minute
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass their test

Rev offers audio and video transcription for beginners who pass the initial application process. Transcriptionists can claim any available work.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: PayPal or direct deposit
  • Requirements: Pass their assessment; Amazon MT account

Transcriptionists who write for Crowdsurf need to use Amazon's Mechanical Turk platform to find and complete tasks. Work hours and projects are flexible.

Related: A Complete Guide To Writing Interview Transcripts

  • Rate: $0.085-$1.00 or more per audio minute
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass a test; work in a certain state; use Amazon Mechanical Turk (MT)

CastingWords uses the MT platform for some jobs, so if you're familiar with this software, you can pick up different audio projects. Once you're approved as a transcriptionist for CastingWords, you'll choose from available audio files and complete them on a flexible schedule. This service hires freelance contractors only from specific states.

  • Rate: $0.75-$0.85 per audio minute
  • Payment type: Check
  • Requirements: Type 50 words per minute; pass a skills assessment and transcription test

Transcribers who work for Daily Transcription sign up for a certain time and are assigned work during that period. Work amounts are not guaranteed, but they do work with a wide range of clients, including entertainment and academics.

  • Rate: $0.03-$0.04 per line transcribed
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Express Scribe software; application involving transcription tests

Tigerfish is a well-established transcription service company with a variety of audio work, including police investigations and interviews. Tigerfish has open periods when they hire new transcriptionists but may not always actively recruit.

  • Rate: $0.60 per audio minute
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass their test

Go Transcript offers beginner transcription positions with no word count expectation.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass an initial test

GMR offers general, translation and medical transcription work. Medical transcriptionists must complete 60 minutes of audio work on a daily basis.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass their testing and application process

Babble type hires native English speakers for transcription, editing and translation. They offer flexible hours and let transcribers choose their own tasks.

  • Rate: $5-$25 per audio hour
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass their test

Scribie hires experienced and beginner transcriptionists. However, there is a waiting list to start working as a freelancer. They do pay a bonus for those who complete three hours of audio transcription each pay period.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: Undisclosed
  • Requirements: Pass their application process

Ubiquis hires transcriptionists with all levels of experience, but everyone starts at the same rate. Transcribers who can turn in projects the same or next day are likely to receive more work.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: Undisclosed
  • Requirements: Submit a resume; pass a test

A division of the company Ubiquis, Verbal Ink also hires beginner transcriptionists.

  • Rate: Pay per project
  • Payment type: Check or direct deposit
  • Requirements: Pass proficiency assessments

3Play hires transcribers and editors. Although they pay by the individual project, 3Play Media equates this to an average of $10-$30 per hour. They offer flexible hours and work amounts.

  • Rate: $0.45-$1.73 per audio minute
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass their test

Transcriptionists working for this company can make more by taking on projects that require a quicker turnaround time. Way With Words hires beginners with no experience.

  • Rate: $0.71 per audio minute
  • Payment type: Undisclosed
  • Requirements: Pass their application process

Transcription Hub rates freelancers on a Bronze, Silver and Gold level based on completed transcription work. They offer flexible hours and amounts of work.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: Direct deposit
  • Requirements: Pass English grammar tests and an audio transcription test; audio foot pedal

Dictate Express hires transcribers with intermediate to advanced experience. They expect transcriptionists to complete a minimum of 45 audio minutes per day.

  • Rate: $1 per audio minute
  • Payment type: PayPal
  • Requirements: Pass their test; audio foot pedal

Pioneer hires experienced transcriptionists to complete their work in both general and legal transcription.

  • Rate: $1 per audio minute
  • Payment type: Direct deposit
  • Requirements: Transcription experience; computer with up-to-date systems and high-speed internet

eScribers works mainly in legal transcription and hires those with experience in the field. The company may also consider hiring those with experience in a different field.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: Undisclosed
  • Requirements: Computer and noise-canceling headphones; CV and cover letter

Transcription for Everyone is based out of Israel but hires remote transcriptionists. They are looking to expand their team and work to match transcription jobs with the talents of their transcribers.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: Undisclosed
  • Requirements: Pass transcription assessments and meet practice deadlines; audio foot pedal; transcription software (in some cases); background check

Formerly known as Transcription Express, VIQ Solutions uses transcriptionists to complete work for corporations. They have a large transcription presence in the insurance industry. VIQ offers part- and full-time work opportunities.

  • Rate: $0.005-$0.006 per word
  • Payment type: Check or direct deposit
  • Requirements: At least one year of transcription experience; type 60 words per minute with 90% accuracy; pass a background check

SpeakWrite works with clients in the government and law enforcement sector as well as private and legal clients. Transcriptionists choose shift times to take on projects and must work at least 15 hours a month.

  • Rate: Undisclosed
  • Payment type: Undisclosed
  • Requirements: Complete a transcription test

Landmark Transcription hires remote transcriptionists for research projects. They offer flexible hours and try to match the project to the transcriber's interests.

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