Making money. Who doesn’t want to? Making money online. Now, that’s exciting! There are many ways to make money online, academic and article writing being very common but did you know there is another awesome and fun way to do it? It’s called transcription. Yes. A fun way to make money online!
You can make some serious income transcribing but before that, let’s get into what transcription is all about in the first place.
Transcription simply means listening to a recording and typing out the contents thereby returning to a client a written record of what’s on the audio or video file.
Types of Transcription
First off, there are several types of transcription but I’ll talk about the three main ones:
This is transcription of dictated recordings by doctors and other health professionals into text. The doctor or nurse dictates specific information into a recorder and the onus is on the medical transcriber to accurately transcribe this information. An in-depth knowledge of medical terminology is necessary, as well as knowledge of procedures that medical professionals use, as well as treatment.
Legal transcription is transcription of court hearings or the transcription of recordings made by lawyers, advocates and other legal professionals. A solid understanding of legal terminology is a must.
This entails the transcription of business recordings, lectures, interviews, sermons, webinars and any number of audios files, either for an organization or an individual. Unlike medical and legal transcription, you will not come across very technical terms. Excellent research and English skills are however needed for this type of transcription.
Transcripts are important to make web videos accessible, they help lower communication barriers to the deaf and hard of hearing.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what skills are needed? It’s easy to say that this is just a matter of listening and typing right? I mean, how hard can it be? These are the skills you need.
You need to have excellent English skills – Your grammar, spelling and punctuation should be top-notch. You need to know the difference between words such as ‘their and there, ‘too and to’ ‘fiscal and physical’ ‘role and roll’ etc. This is because as much as MS Word has the spell check function, these kind of words will not be picked up. It’s also a plus to able to distinguish between UK English and US English as you will receive audios that have speakers from Britain, Australia, America etc.
You should be able to type relatively fast – By relative, I mean from 40 wpm and above. It takes me approximately four hours to transcribe one hour of audio. When I started out, it took me eight hours. See, the difference? Speed is an essential factor in impressing your clients. When a client needs you to deliver the transcript in 24 hours and you deliver it in say, 10 hours, that will result in a very happy client, especially if the transcript delivered is accurate. Accuracy is far better than speed.
Superb listening skills – A good ear is essential in transcription too. You’ll come across audios with Australian, South African, Indian, Japanese and other speakers with various accents therefore, being able to discern clearly what they are saying will make the difference between you being an average transcriber and an awesome transcriber. Also, audios range from very good quality to difficult. Some speakers meet at cafes and restaurants to record their conversations and other times, you will need to transcribe phone calls.
Research skills – GIYF. That means Google Is Your Friend. You’ll need to research names of towns, cities, names of people etc. A couple of months ago, I received an audio file from an Australian client. Had it not been for Google, I wouldn’t have been able to deliver an accurate transcript. I had to transcribe names of Australian towns ranging from Willunga all the way to Onkaparinga. Researching such terms also helps you to spell them out perfectly. Linked In is also your friend when it comes to transcribing designations of people well.
What Equipment Does a Transcriber Need?
Nothing out of this world, by the way.
Obviously you’ll need a computer. I started out with a third hand computer, and it served me well for a couple of months before I was able to purchase another one.
You will need stable, fast internet connection so that you can quickly download audio or video files. Sometimes, clients will send you large files, 400 MB and more, and being able to download these files quickly is important so that you can start working on them, right? What I love about transcription though is you don’t have to be online throughout. Once you download the file, you can start transcribing and get online when you’re sending the client his/her file.
Express Scribe transcription software is an important tool for transcribers. You’ll need to install it on your computer and the good news is, there is a free version. This software allows you to transcribe without using the mouse.
Last but not least, you’ll need headphones. They help you focus on what is being said and block out other distractions around you.
A comfortable chair – This might sound like a no-brainer but it is so important. Transcription takes time, especially when you’re transcribing long audios and therefore, having a comfortable seat is key. This will help avoid unnecessary strain on your spine.
How Much can you make doing Transcription ?
As a beginner, look to be paid between $10-15 per audio hour, i.e per every sixty minutes of audio. As you grow in this career, you’ll be charging from $25 to as much as $50 to 60, depending also on the quality of the audio.
Where Can I Get Transcription Opportunities?
This is a question that I get many times. Thankfully, there are several opportunities.
This is a transcription company that does not require any previous transcription experience. It’s a great place for newbies to start out and thankfully, they hire internationally. I say this because some companies only hire US transcribers. They have a style guide, meaning there is a way they want their audios to be typed out. Before working for TranscribeMe, you’ll need to take their tests. The good news is that even if you fail once, you can re-take the test a second time. They pay their transcribers $20 per audio hour.
Rev Transcription is currently one of the best transcription companies. Founded by two former oDesk employees, this company also hires transcribers from all over the world. They pay between $25 to $40 per audio hour. Rev also has career levels, from Rookie, Reverr, to Reverr+. You can see the earnings potential are amazing. Rev pays weekly every Monday, so you must have a Paypal account. You will also need to do their tests first before you become their transcriber. They will however provide you with their style guide before you start and contact you within three weeks, to inform you if you have passed or not.
Upwork, People per Hour, Fiverr and Freelancer.com are superb sites where you can get transcription work. Sign up for free, build an awesome profile, take the skill tests and start bidding for jobs (with the exception of Fiverr) You can bid for hourly jobs where you are paid for every hour you work or you can bid for fixed price projects.
Transcription is an awesome way to make money online as I stated before. However, it’s not for everyone. Not everyone has the patience or the knack to persevere through hard accents and long audios. But, if you determine that it’s for you, let me assure you the benefits are well worth it. Welcome to my world!
PS: If you are interested in pursuing this online venture, I offer transcription training. The training is online and comprises of 10 lessons that run for six days. You can learn all about here.