If you are comfortable sitting at a computer keyboard and typing up a storm, then online transcription jobs might be just what you need to earn some extra income.
What You’ll Learn in this Post:
- The 20 Most Important Questions About Transcription Answered
- How to Start
- Where to Find Jobs
- How Much Can You Earn
At one time this was a very traditional offline, and in-house, job, but now transcribing has become to a viable work from home opportunity. There are a number of online companies hiring transcriptionist and more popping up every day. These 20 questions should answer most of your questions
What is transcription?
Transcribing is the task of turn spoken words into written documents. In the past, those words were recorded using analog files on standard or micro cassettes. Tody, they are usually in digital formats such as MP3 and Wave files or MP4 for videos). A transcriptionist listens to the audio and then types out what she hears.
Transcription falls into three categories: general, legal and medical. The latter two are very specialized and generally require training.
Why is it a good work at home choice?
The majority of online transcription companies allow for flexible work schedules. With many of them, you grab piece work that becomes available. Sometimes there are requirements for when work has to be back, but for the most part, you can work when you need to. A caveat here, though, if you have kidlets running around, you might have to schedule your work time for when they are at school or sleeping.
What are the typical tasks?
Listening to audio files and typing what you hear. Of course, there’s a little me more to it. The companies you work for will require some clean-up and very light editing (removing all those “ahh,” “umms,” and stumbles).
What are the educational requirements?
Generally not, but as I stated above for the legal and medical transcription may require additional training. For example, a medical transcriptionist needs to be familiar with medical terminology, while a legal transcriptionist needs to understand legal jargon.
Are there specialized courses that would be helpful?
Yes, and even for general transcription, you might find a little more training helpful, especially if you’re starting from ground zero. One place to find training online is at TranscriptionAnywhere. They even have a free mini course to familiarize you with general transcription.
What skills are necessary?
Typing, of course, is the primary skill you need for transcription. The faster and more accurate you are, the better. And no matter how fast you can type, it still takes time. A 60-minute recording might take up to three, possibly 3.5 hours to transcribe.
Additional, the ability to listen, understand and type running a foot pedal (if used) is very important. Good grammar and understanding of punctuation are also necessary.
Is this a work from home employee position?
Generally not. Almost all of the online transcription companies hire transcriptionists as independent contractors.
Is this a gig-based position?
Primarily yes. And a good reason to sign up with a couple of transcription companies just to make sure you can always grab a job when you need one.
Can this be a business?
Very definitely, if you want to put in the effort. But it will mean you need to go out and search for your own clients, both offline (and local), as well as online. But, there are a lot of businesses that need transcription services. Don’t do this, of course, unless you have the experience to offer superior service.
Are there any local laws or regulations that need to be addressed?
Always check with your local zoning laws. The Small Business Administration has a great site to begin your search.
What type of businesses/people hire transcriptionist?
Other transcription companies hire freelance transcriptionists, both locally and online. If you’re looking for your own clients, it’s a matter of finding out who needs help. It might be a local businesswoman who needs someone to type out her recorded notes. Or possibly an author who dictates rather than types herself. Online, I would look for entrepreneurs and speakers who produce podcasts and webinars. Those are hot marketing tools and many owners like to have those events documented for future use as a report or ebook.
Are there outsourcing companies I can work through?
In addition to online transcription companies, look to freelance sites such as Upwork for work. mTurk also occasionally has transcription HITS and although they don’t pay much, it is a good place to get some experience.
Where do you find clients?
First, determine who your target audience is. If you’re looking for clients locally, then you need to do a lot of cold calling and sending out mailers. If your target market is online then you’ll need to use social marketing to reach them. Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn are sources to start with. Also, make sure you have a blog built to market your services.
Are there a start up costs?
To work as an independent contractor? Generally, no. Some companies may require a small fee. Quicktake is one such company. They require $15 fee for a background check before hiring.
What ongoing or overhead costs are there?
After your initial investment, not much. If you’re going out on your own, there will always be some promotion costs.
What tools are needed?
Of course, you will need a computer, a word processing software such as Microsoft Word. Headphones are useful to help keep out distractions and focus on the recorded words being spoken. In addition Express Scribe Transcription Software is also recommended to play, stop, rewind and fast forward the audio. You can download a free copy of that to use. You’ll want to get a foot pedal to work with Express Scribe.
Are the hours flexible?
In most cases, yes.
What is the earning potential?
Transcription is a big money maker, but it can bring in a steady income. The average payout works out to be about $10 to $20 per hour. Most companies pay by the word. For example, Quicktate mentioned about pays about $.0025 per word for general transcription and more for specialization such as medical. Your overall rate will depend on how fast you can turn out an acceptable product and how many hours you can realistically put into typing.
Some companies pay by the audio hour, but beware, when you hear $60 per hour, remember that it might take your three plus hours to complete that assignment.
How earnings immediate?
Every company is different, but generally, most pay weekly, and often through PayPay. I heard of some that transfer the money immediately and you and withdrawn it that fast, too.
Are there any organizations I can join?
None that I’ve found yet for general transcriptionists, although there are a couple of broad organizations that include medical transcriptionists.
That’s all the questions for now. I hope this answers most of your questions. But do come back, I will be covering this work from home job some more.