Working as a transcriptionist is one way to earn a flexible income from home and set your own schedule. But you probably don’t want just any job. The best transcription jobs will let you earn the most money while working on your own terms.
Before finding your next transcriptionist job, you must first understand how transcription jobs work. We’ll address that issue before moving to the best platforms for finding transcriptionist jobs. Then, we’ll round things out with how to break in, the challenges you might face, and how to maximize your earnings.
Understanding Transcription Jobs
Generally, a transcriptionist is someone who listens to live or recorded audio and creates text from the audio. The goal is to create text that accurately reflects the voice in the audio.
There are many types of transcriptionists, including medical, academic, legal, and corporate transcribers. This could also include roles like court reporters, captioners, and general transcribers.
If you want to work from home as a transcriptionist, you should know the required skills and the typical job responsibilities.
If you want to work as a transcriptionist, there are certain skills you should have. Fortunately, these skills can apply to many fields, so you may already have some of them:
- Typing speed and accuracy. As a transcriptionist, you must be able to type quickly and accurately. Both skills are equally important; neither is any good without the other.
- Listening skills. In order to keep up with the audio and create accurate copy, you’ll need to have excellent listening skills.
- Specialized knowledge. Transcription jobs are often very industry-specific, such as medical transcription and legal transcription. Having specialized knowledge of each industry can be helpful.
While every job is different, there are certain responsibilities you are likely to perform as a transcriptionist. These include:
- Transcribing audio files. Obviously, working as a transcriptionist will require you to transcribe audio files (or live audio, depending on the nature of the job).
- Editing and proofreading. Mistakes happen. To make sure your copy is pristine, you’ll probably need to go back through and make sure everything looks right.
- Meet deadlines. Yeah, deadlines are no fun, but you’ll probably have them. Act accordingly.
- Communicate with clients or your team. Nobody likes a person who doesn’t communicate. You might need to communicate various issues, like when it’s not clear who is saying what and when they’re saying it.
Transcription can seem like a simple job, but you’ll need specialized skills to be successful. Learn these as well as what will be expected of you before getting started.
Best Platforms to Find Transcription Jobs
Here are the best places to find transcription jobs, whether you are experienced or a beginner.
Rev is a transcription company known for its large client base and for having a wide variety of projects.
Joining Rev is simple. All you need to do is take a short quiz and submit a transcription or caption sample. If approved, you can register and start earning right away.
According to Rev, the pay range for transcriptionists on the platform is $0.30 to $1.10 per minute of audio. For captioners, the range is $0.54 to $1.10 per minute.
With Rev, you paid every Monday via PayPal for audio files completed the previous week. This makes it a simple way to earn as a transcriptionist.
TranscribeMe is ideal for beginners because it lets you transcribe short 2-4 minute clips, not long interviews.
This is a legit transcription job that can lead to some nice extra cash.
According to TranscribeMe, pay starts at $15-22 per hour, with average monthly earnings of $250. The best part is you can work from anywhere — from home, on the road, or anywhere you prefer.
To get started with TranscribeMe, all you need to do is create an account, connect your PayPal, and pass an entrance exam. If all goes well, they will activate your account, and you can start earning.
This company takes pride in offering high-quality transcription services. It offers a variety of freelance roles, including transcription, editing, and other work-from-home jobs.
The great thing is the work is flexible, letting you work as much or as little as you want at your own pace. There are no fees for working on this platform.
Pay can vary widely depending on experience and ability. Castingwords says the range is from 8.5 cents per hour to a little over a dollar per hour.
However, pay is bonus-based, letting you earn up to three times the base rate for high-quality work. This makes CastingWords a great place to grow your pay as a transcriptionist as you improve.
GoTranscript is a web-based transcription and translation company. It offers flexible schedules and a wide range of projects, making it a popular choice for those who want to break up the monotony.
GoTranscript is a great way to find transcription jobs from home and choose your own projects. You can transcribe both audio and video files.
Pay is up to $0.60 per audio or video minute, with average earnings of $150 per month. Top earnings are up to $1,215 per month.
With GoTranscript, you get paid weekly via PayPal and work flexible hours, making it the perfect daily pay job.
Scribie offers human and AI-based transcription, emphasizing a quick turnaround and consistent accuracy.
It offers a wide range of transcription services, such as video transcription, academic transcription, legal transcription, and marketing transcription. According to Scribie, over 50K certified transcribers work on the platform.
Pay for transcribers ranges from $5 per audio hour to $20 per audio hour, depending on how quick you are. Scribie will provide feedback to help you improve, too.
One nice thing about Scribie is that earnings accumulate in your account, which you can cash out via PayPal anytime. There is no monthly withdrawal limit, making this one of the best part-time weekend jobs.
6. Daily Transcription
This transcription platform offers a steady workflow, high wages, and opportunities for career advancement.
According to the company’s website, you need 1-2 years of experience and the ability to type 50 words per minute. However, you can make $45 to $66 per hour of material for transcription jobs. For medical and legal transcription jobs, the pay can be as high as $120 per hour.
Daily Transcription says it is looking for work-from-home individuals, stay-at-home moms, stay-at-home dads, students, part-time teachers, freelance writers, and more.
To get started, apply for a position on the company’s website. You’ll need to pass a skills assessment before you can start working.
This company is known for quick payment turnaround and a wide variety of project types. The company’s website shows it has worked with brands and companies like the Wall Street Journal, Gap, KPMG, and many others.
However, the pay may be lower than other gigs on this list. The company doesn’t specifically say how much it pays, but according to Glassdoor, it typically pays transcriptionists between $5 and $10 per hour.
To get started, you’ll need to download Tigerfish’s transcription guide and pass a transcription test. The test consists of three five-minute audio clips.
You must apply via email. If Tigerfish thinks you are a match, they may reach out.
8. Appen Connect
Appen Connect offers a simple way to get started as a transcriber. You listen to audio files and enter what is said into a form.
Audio files might consist of many things, including interviews, phone calls, and academic presentations. This is a short-term work commitment with the potential to work long-term.
Appen’s contributors come from all over the world, including countries like Canada, Japan, and Venezuela. To become a contributor, you must be fluent in English and have a stable internet connection.
According to Glassdoor, the median total pay for transcriptionists at Appen is $31 per hour.
This platform specifically caters to medical and legal transcription, providing call transcription and call auditing for clients. It also audits, summarizes, evaluates, and analyzes audio recordings and phone conversations.
To become a transcriptionist for Quicktate, you’ll need to meet certain requirements, such as having accurate spelling and punctuation, the ability to follow instructions, and experience with typing.
In addition, you will need to take a quiz to ensure you understand Quicktate’s requirements and pass a typing test. You then need to pass a background check.
Quicktate doesn’t publish information about pay, but according to Glassdoor, the base pay range for transcriptionists at Quicktate is between $39,000 and $61,000.
This company focuses on legal transcription, which may require specialized training or certification. However, it also has general transcription jobs as well as jobs for Spanish speakers.
To start transcribing for SpeakWrite, you must be a legal resident of the U.S. or Canada. Note that California residents are not currently accepted due to the AB-5 law.
You should also be fluent in English, have good spelling, punctuation, and grammar, and type 60 WPM with 90% accuracy.
According to Glassdoor, the salary for transcriptionists at SpeakWrite is $47,881 per year.
11. 3Play Media
This company specializes in media and entertainment transcription. This makes it perfect for anyone who enjoys consuming content online in different forms.
For instance, you’ll find online video, audio, podcast, and other media transcription opportunities with 3Play Media.
If interested, you can apply to be an English or Spanish transcriber or apply to be an English voice writer.
To be an English transcriber, you must be able to provide expert-level transcribing services independently and provide a quick turnaround.
According to Glassdoor, the average pay for transcriptionists at 3Play Media is $23 per hour.
Although many independent companies have freelance transcription jobs, you can also find them on freelance platforms.
However, keep in mind that these platforms can sometimes have low rates. If you feel the pay is too low, you may only want to use these as a temporary solution until you are more established.
Upwork is one of the most popular freelancer platforms, and it can be a great place to find transcription jobs. There are many jobs available on Upwork; however, you will need a strong proposal to land a gig there.
You will also need competitive rates if you want a chance to land a transcription gig on Upwork. (Read: that means low). A quick search of transcriptionists on Upwork shows most charging $5 to $10 per hour, though a few are higher.
Fiverr is another one of the most popular freelancer platforms, and you can find plenty of transcriptionists there as well. With this freelancing platform, you can create gigs and offer your transcription services to clients as well.
When using Fiverr, you can set up your profile, specify your transcription expertise, and showcase your skills to attract potential clients.
As mentioned, the pay on Fiverr can be low, with rates similar to what you will find on Upwork. If you aren’t satisfied with the rates, you can try searching some sites like Fiverr and see if the rates are higher.
Breaking into the Industry: Getting Started
Getting started as a new freelancer is never easy in any industry, and transcription is no exception. You’ll need persistence, great communication skills, and a lot of networking to find great gigs.
However, there are some tips specific to transcription that can help you improve:
- Assess your strengths and interests. Everyone has different skills, but for online transcription jobs, you typically need to type at least 60 WPM, with some requiring 80 WPM or more. You should also have a strong attention to detail and be able to manage your time effectively.
- Develop your skills. Constant improvement is always a good idea, and you should continue to hone your skills, even if you land a transcription gig. You can do this by taking online training and using practice materials on sites like TranscribeMe.
- Niche down. Bloggers often say niching down is the way to make more money, and this also applies to transcriptionists. Niches like medical, legal, and media transcription might require specialized training or certification, but they can also pay more.
- Build your portfolio. To land high-paying jobs as a transcriptionist, you’ll need to have a portfolio filled with high-quality work and recommendations. Freelancer platforms can be a good way to show you can provide high-quality results, even if the pay isn’t great at first.
- Find transcription jobs. Aside from freelancer platforms, you can use job boards or even apply with companies directly. Remember, the less competition there is, the better your chances generally are.
Landing a remote transcription job isn’t easy, but with dedication and a commitment to high-quality work, it can be done. Just be sure to follow these steps and continue to improve.
Navigating Challenges in Transcription Work
As with any job, transcription is likely to come with its own set of challenges. Of course, this job will likely have some unique challenges you don’t get with other positions.
Here are some common challenges of transcription work and what to do about them.
Transcriptionists often deal with background noise, muffled audio, or thick accents that can make it difficult to understand the person on the other end. When this happens, it can lead to inaccurate transcriptions or make you less productive.
One possible solution is to request better audio, as no one should have to work with bad input. You can also try transcription software, as some of them can reduce background noise or change the speed of the audio.
Another problem you might have is with the content being very complex. This is more common when dealing with specialized types of transcription, such as medical and legal.
You might also find that the people in these recordings speak very fast, making them difficult to understand.
If this happens, try researching the subject matter. Developing a better understanding can make it easier to understand what the person is saying.
In addition, you can use timestamps to mark unclear sections and come back to them later. If you are still having trouble, reach out to the source directly for clarification.
Motivation and Fatigue
Let’s face it: transcription can be redundant work. As a result, you might find yourself feeling fatigued or that you don’t have the motivation to continue working.
In addition, working remotely can lead to feeling isolated for some people, further reducing their motivation.
If this happens, remember that variety is the spice of life. Try mixing things up by taking on different types of transcription jobs. In addition, you can try joining online transcription communities where transcriptionists support each other.
Maximizing Earnings in Transcription
Another reality of transcription jobs? They don’t always pay very well. When this happens, you may find it tough to stay motivated and quit before you get very far.
However, remember that like any craft, it takes time and dedication, along with years of development to really succeed.
If you are finding yourself discouraged by low earnings as a transcriptionist, here are some areas to address.
Improve Your Skills
No matter how good you think you are, one of the best ways to increase your earnings is to get better. Here are some specific skills to work on:
- Typing skills. Transcription jobs typically pay by the word. If you type below 80 WPM, try practicing your typing to get faster.
- Specialized transcription. As mentioned, specialized transcription jobs tend to pay more. Develop skills in medical, legal, or media transcription, and invest in skills to get better in these areas.
- Research skills. Learn about new terms quickly and topics relevant to the projects you are working on.
Remember, you should be improving all the time if you want to earn more as a transcriptionist.
Haphazardly applying for a bunch of jobs probably isn’t the best way to increase your earnings as a transcriptionist. Here’s what to do instead:
- Find high-paying gigs. Research platforms and agencies that offer competitive rates for your skillset. Focus on specialized transcription for higher income potential.
- Negotiate. Whether you like it or not, negotiating is one of the best ways to increase your pay. Don’t be afraid to negotiate rates with direct clients or freelance platforms. Showcase your value and experience confidently.
- Diversify your income. Supplement your main income with short-term projects on micro-tasking platforms or offer additional services like editing or proofreading.
Work smarter, not harder, to use another cliché. This can help you make more dollars per hour.
There are always other things you can do to make more extra money from home as a transcriptionist. Here are some additional tips:
- Reach out to transcription agencies. Joining transcription agencies can offer steady work, benefits, and higher pay for experienced transcribers.
- Invest in high-quality equipment. A good headset, microphone, and ergonomic setup can improve your comfort and productivity, leading to increased output.
- Accuracy over speed. While it can be tempting to try to work as fast as possible, this usually isn’t the answer. Rushing through projects can lead to errors and rework, ultimately costing you time and money.
These are just a few ways to improve your results as a transcriptionist. Chances are, you will eventually carve out your own niche, finding ways that work for you.
Working as a transcriptionist can be a great way to make a flexible income from home. Although some of these jobs can have low pay at first, these jobs can be a great way to eventually earn more money.
The key is to stay committed and invest in yourself, as well as in high-quality equipment. As you establish yourself and build your portfolio, you can eventually land higher-paying gigs. In doing so, you can find success working from home (or from anywhere) as a transcriptionist.
Hey there. My name is Bob Haegele and I'm a personal finance writer who has been freelancing since 2018. Since then, I've built a six-figure career as a freelance writer. My work has been featured in Business Insider, Forbes Advisor, TIME.com, USA Today, and many other outlets. Interested in starting a blog of your own? Check out my post on starting a blog.