11 Best Transcription Jobs for 2021 | Make Money at Home

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If you have a computer and are a decent typist, there are plenty of transcription jobs waiting for you. Transcribing audio can be a great gig that you can work from home — or anywhere else you park your laptop. You can transcribe as a funny-money side hustle or even make it a full-time career.

There are hundreds of transcription opportunities online. So how do you find the legit ones that pay real money? 

In this guide to the best transcription jobs, we’ll show you the top ways you can get started as a professional transcriptionist today. Or, if you’re already an experienced transcriber, you may find your next client from our list.

11 Best Transcription Jobs for 2021

These are the top 11 transcription jobs available today.

  1. Rev
  2. Daily Transcription
  3. GoTranscript
  4. TranscribeMe
  5. CastingWords
  6. GMR Transcription
  7. Quicktate
  8. SpeakWrite
  9. 3Play Media
  10. CrowdSurf
  11. Upwork

1. Rev 

Pay Range: $0.30-1.10 per audio minute

Average Earnings per Month: $245

Payment Method: Weekly via PayPal

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

Rev is a transcription company that offers its services to more than 100,000 customers around the globe. And all of the transcription work is done by an army of more than 60,000 freelance transcriptionists.

Because Rev has such a huge clientele base, once you become a “Revver,” you can choose from hundreds of available jobs. Rev is always hiring close-captioners and subtitle translators, as well as transcriptionists, too.

Rev doesn’t cap how many jobs you can take on, and the harder the job, the more it pays. Transcriptionists currently earn between 30 cents and $1.10 per audio minute, while captioners earn between 54 cents and $1.10 per video minute.

You don’t need any previous experience to become a Revver. So it’s worth checking out even if you’re a beginner transcriptionist. However, you will have to take a quiz and submit a trial transcription to prove that you have mastery of English and Rev’s style guide.

2. Daily Transcription

Pay Range: $0.75-0.85 per audio minute

Average Earnings per Month: Not disclosed

Payment Method: Weekly via check

Qualifications: Typing speed of at least 50 words per minute

If you have some experience as a transcriber — or if you’re a quick typist — Daily Transcription might be a good fit for you. The transcription company pays more per audio minute than many other services on this list.

You can apply to be a freelance transcriptionist if you are over the age of eighteen and reside in the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Australia, or South Africa. You must also be a “native” speaker of American English.

After you send in your initial application, you’ll need to pass both a skills assessment test as well as a transcription test. Daily Transcription also requires you to download either Express Scribe or oTranscribe. These transcription apps are both free.

Daily Transcription provides video training to its freelancers. It also lets you try as many practice jobs as you want. The company also offers “constructive feedback” on each task you complete.

Although Daily Transcription doesn’t release its freelancers’ average monthly earnings, the company reports that its top transcriptionists make anywhere from $250 to $950 per week. That indicates there isn’t always steady work. Although you can make decent money with Daily Transcription, there might be weeks when there are few jobs available.

3. GoTranscript

Pay Range: Up to $0.60 per audio minute

Average Earnings per Month: $150

Payment Method: Weekly via PayPal or Payoneer

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

If you can pass the GoTranscript entrance exam, you can become a freelance transcriber and earn up to 60 cents per audio minute. GoTranscript hires freelancers from all over the world, and there are occasionally jobs available that require a language other than English.

The company lets you choose which assignments you want to work on. And you can listen to each audio file before committing to a job. This transparency lets you determine whether a job is worth your while.

GoTranscript’s job listing page shows you exactly how much you’ll earn from the project upfront. Editors will review each file and grade your work. If you score consistently high grades, you may be given more pay per audio minute. You may also be promoted to a higher-paying editor position.

4. TranscribeMe

Pay Range: $0.25-0.42 per audio minute

Average Earnings per Month: $250

Payment Method: Weekly via PayPal

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

TranscribeMe is one of the largest transcription services out there. The company reports it currently has more than 2 million transcribers using its platform. To become a General Transcriber, you don’t need any prior experience. But you do need to be at least eighteen years old and a citizen or permanent resident of the U.S. or Australia.

It’s a good choice for the beginner transcriptionist looking for small jobs to complete in their downtime. That’s because new TranscribeMe freelancers start by working with short audio files. Most of the jobs available to General Transcribers are only two to four minutes long.

TranscribeMe pays $15 per audio hour for General Transcribers. That translates to 25 cents per audio minute. But if you can pass a background check and an additional exam, you could join the Special Style team. This team takes on larger, more difficult projects that pay $25 per audio hour, or 42 cents per audio minute.

5. CastingWords

Pay Range: $0.09-1.00 per audio minute

Average Earnings per Month: Not disclosed

Payment Method: Weekly via PayPal

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

To become a CastingWords transcriber, you don’t need any prior experience. And you can sign up if you live in any of the 200-plus countries where PayPal is available. But you must be eighteen years of age or older.

CastingWords may or may not require you to take a test (for reasons it doesn’t share). Regardless, you’ll need to read and understand the company’s style guide.

CastingWords’ pay scale isn’t particularly straightforward, either. How much you’ll get paid for each assignment is based on what level of transcriber CastingWords assigns you to and what grade you receive for each transcription. The company uses a grade scale of 0-9.

For each job, you’ll see a base pay rate. If your work is graded at a 4 or lower, you won’t be paid. Work graded at a 5 gets the base pay amount. If your work is graded at a 6, 7, 8, or 9, you’ll be paid 1.5, 2, 2.5, or 3 times the base pay, respectively.

That makes CastingWords a better choice for experienced transcriptionists who can consistently achieve higher grades.

6. GMR Transcription

Pay Range: Not disclosed

Average Earnings per Month: $1,000-3,000

Payment Method: Monthly via PayPal or direct deposit

Qualifications: No prior experience needed; U.S. residents only

GMR Transcription could be a good fit for an experienced transcriptionist who can work on a tight deadline. However, you must be based in the U.S. for GMR to consider you. So it’s not a great choice for a digital nomad.

The transcription company doesn’t disclose its pay rate until you’re hired. But GMR does state that, on average, freelancers earn $1,000-3,000 per month, depending on their project and skill level. The company pays more for harder assignments or jobs with fast turnaround times.

And all applicants must pass a particularly tricky skill assessment exam. Although you can apply as a beginning transcriber, GMR reports that most of the applicants who pass the test already have transcription experience.

7. Quicktate 

Pay Range: $0.025-0.050 per word

Average Earnings per Month: Not disclosed

Payment Method: Weekly via PayPal

Qualifications: Must be an experienced transcriptionist

Quicktate pays per word, rather than per audio minute. You’ll get a quarter of a cent per word for a general transcription or half of a cent per word for a medical transcription. How much you can expect to make depends on how quick and accurate you are as a transcriptionist.

When you sign up, you will take a proficiency test and a skills test. You’ll also have to pay a $20 fee for a mandatory background check and supply three professional references. Depending on your exam scores, the company might invite you to apply for Quicktate’s sister site, iDictate.

Most Quicktate files are just short audio clips. They may include to-do lists, field notes, reports, and letters, to name just a few examples. iDictate projects are longer and more in-depth.

Reviews on Glassdoor complain about the low rate of pay. That makes Quicktate a good fit only for experienced transcribers looking for quick gigs to do in their spare time. If you want more substantial income, check out Daily Transcription or GMR Transcription.

8. SpeakWrite 

Pay Range: $0.005-0.006 per word

Average Earnings per Month: $450

Payment Method: Biweekly via direct deposit or check

Qualifications: Typing speed of at least 60 words per minute; at least one year of experience

SpeakWrite is currently hiring transcriptionists who can type at least 60 words per minute (wpm). Applicants also have to pass a typing skills test with 90 percent accuracy to be considered for the position. 

SpeakWrite pays an average of $450 per month, with top monthly earners generating $3,400 on average, according to the company. 

But you must have at least one year of transcription experience to apply. You must also have a transcription foot pedal to work on jobs.

9. 3Play Media 

Pay Range: Varies

Average Earnings per Month: Not disclosed

Payment Method: Weekly via direct deposit or check

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

If you speak Spanish, 3Play Media may be a good transcription service for you. The company is currently hiring freelance transcribers to work either in English or in Spanish. Note that all U.S.-based applicants must pass a background screening before starting work.

The amount 3Play Media varies depending on the length and complexity of the piece. However, the company indicates that, on average, its transcriptionists earn between $10 and $30 per hour.

3Play Media’s clients include major entertainment, corporate, and education content producers. And you can choose which assignments you want to take on.

10. CrowdSurf

Pay Range: $0.17-0.20 per media minute

Average Earnings per Month: Not disclosed

Payment Method: On-demand via WorkMarket

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

CrowdSurf specializes in video captions for deaf, hard-of-hearing, and second-language viewers. The company splits up videos into small Human Intelligence Tasks (HITs). These are fifteen- to thirty-five-second video files that CrowdSurf freelancers transcribe. CrowdSurf then compiles all of the HITs into full-length close-captioned videos for its clients.

Before you sign up for CrowdSurf, you’ll need a Work Market account. CrowdSurf will hire and pay you through the platform. Once you’ve applied, you’ll have to take a brief transcription assessment to make sure your transcription skills are up to snuff.

You can use the Work Market platform to get paid as soon as CrowdSurf puts funds in your account. There’s no limit to how many withdrawals you can make.

One thing to note is that the company has strict quality control standards. All content is graded and given a quality control score. Users who have too many low scores will lose access to the platform, so it’s critical to do a good job.

11. Upwork

Pay Range: Varies

Average Earnings per Month: Varies

Payment Method: Varies by project via bank transfer, Instant Pay PayPal, Payoneer, and M-Pesa

Qualifications: No prior experience needed

Upwork is a massive online marketplace that connects freelancers to paid opportunities. Transcription is one of the many types of gigs you can find there. 

Upwork is typically project-based. For example, a client may post that they are looking for someone to help transcribe a few short audio files. 

The key to getting work on Upwork is to make a stellar profile, craft perfect proposals, and be persistent. Just remember that Upwork takes a cut of every project you do, so be prepared to fork over a fee (which decreases over time the more work you do on Upwork).

How to Make the Most Money as a Transcriptionist

As you can see, most transcription services are a great way to make some extra money to supplement your household income. However, you probably won’t be able to earn a full-time salary from these platforms.

That said, there are ways you can earn a decent living as a transcriptionist. These ways might include working directly with a law firm, contracting full-time with a government agency, or starting your own transcriber-for-hire business.

However, it’s not easy to just jump into these positions with little or no experience. That’s why you might want to check out a training course from Transcribe Anywhere

Transcribe Anywhere offers several complete courses designed to help you become a professional transcriptionist. You can take an educational course in general transcribing, as well as legal transcribing. And there’s also a free mini-course so you can find out if transcribing is the right career choice for you.

Best of all, Transcribe Anywhere programs will teach you how to find a high-paying transcription job as either a full-time employee or a freelance contractor. You’ll also be able to network with other transcriptionists in a dedicated Facebook community.

If you’re serious about making money as a transcriber, Transcribe Anywhere courses are a must.

The Pros of Transcription Jobs

Freelance transcription is flexible

Transcription jobs are typically remote, meaning it’s possible to get paid working from the comfort of your living room or home office. 

With this type of work, it’s all about autonomy. Companies give you projects, and if you meet deadlines and do a decent job, you get paid. It’s that simple. 

There are relatively few rules that you have to follow in this line of work. Of course, this could change when working if you ever become a full-time employee. However, the majority of work is freelance-based for maximum flexibility.

The more you transcribe, the more you make

Transcribing is an excellent option for people who are looking to hustle and who like to work quickly. Often, companies will keep the work flowing if you prove that you can meet deadlines and do a good job. 

So the harder you work, and the more often you work, the more income you can generate.

Transcribing isn’t always hard

Transcribing audio can be challenging if you have trouble typing fast or don’t have an ear for accents. But if you can learn how to master it, then you can most likely fly through audio and video clips. 

The nice part is that you don’t usually have to do too much critical thinking outside of writing down what you hear.

The Cons of Transcription Jobs

Transcribing is a competitive field

Transcription jobs are typically first-come, first-serve online. As such, you have to be quick about discovering opportunities and pouncing on them.

It’s a good idea to have a sample portfolio ready to send in case it’s required. That way, you can demonstrate proficiency when going through interviews.

In addition, you’ll have to be in a position to start immediately when you find each opportunity. You can’t wait several days or weeks to get started. Otherwise, you’ll miss deadlines, get buried with work, and risk having the company find someone else to do the project instead. 

You have to type quickly

One thing transcription companies are going to ask early about is your typing speed. Head over to a site like TypingTest and check your word-per-minute (wpm) rate so you can have a figure ready to share.

Typing fast is critical in this type of work. If you’re below 50 wpm, it’s going to be very hard to keep up. You may still be able to get projects done, but projects could take a very long time. 

The trick is to make sure you work in line with the pay that you receive. So if your pay breaks down to $15 per project, and you take two hours to complete each job, it’s not worth the effort.

The work can be tedious

At the end of the day, you’ll be transcribing audio — and doing it for long periods at a time. Suffice it to say that this is a job that can get very monotonous. 

Keep this in mind when sourcing work. If possible, look for projects in areas that interest you, such as entertainment, health, or business.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about transcription jobs.

Do transcription jobs pay well?

You won’t get rich by transcribing. But how much you make in this line of work hinges on how much you want to work and how willing you are to roll your sleeves up and grind through it.

For some people, transcribing audio amounts to a nice side hustle they can do during a lunch break or at night. For others, it’s a full-time job, and they’re always looking for more work.

It’s a good idea to think about what you want to get out of audio transcription before getting started. That way, you can set realistic goals.

Are there transcription jobs for beginners?

Some transcription jobs are entry-level and great for beginners. Others are for experts who have years of transcription experience and expert knowledge of transcribing software. 

Companies are usually pretty specific about what they’re looking for at the onset. Job listings will generally state whether the project is for beginners or experienced transcribers. Always read the details before submitting an application to make sure you’re not wasting your time.

It’s also common for these sites to vet applicants by making them take transcription tests. 

What are some jobs similar to transcribing?

Similar side hustles include writing and editing content and helping businesses manage social media and other marketing channels. 

Once you get side hustle fever, you may also find yourself wanting to get paid to drive for Uber or Lyft, pet sit, babysit, or work as a virtual assistant. There are countless jobs out there to explore and make extra cash.

What is a transcription foot pedal?

One of the hard parts about transcribing audio is having to constantly take your hands off the keyboard to rewind or fast-forward audio clips. This can add hours to projects, making transcribing a frustrating experience. 

A foot pedal attempts to solve this by letting users control playback by stepping on a pedal. Pedals often work in conjunction with software like Express Scribe. If this sounds up your alley, Amazon has a variety of foot pedals to explore.

The Bottom Line

If you have great listening and typing skills, you may want to explore a transcription career and pursue work on a full-time basis or as a funny-money side hustle. 

Opportunities abound for transcribing conference calls, voicemail, and podcasts, to name just a few examples. There’s also strong demand for legal transcriptionists, medical transcriptionists, and transcriptionists who specialize in law enforcement. 

This type of job is usually a work-at-home position and is great for native English speakers and even people who speak English as a second language. You may even be able to find an online transcription job in another language in which you’re fluent.

Before getting started, it’s a good idea to get yourself a nice headset. You may also want to take a transcription skills training course on a site like Transcribe Anywhere or Udemy.

While you might not rake in millions as a transcriptionist, this is a line of work that lets you make money from anywhere. Take your earnings and invest them strategically. You’ll be on your way to financial freedom before you know it.

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