I have wanted to work from home for years. I finally decided to take the plunge and stay home. I plan to go back to school this spring but in the meantime, I needed something to do to make some money from home. I have done some transcription work in the past for my mom who spent over 36 years as a legal transcriptionist for a local company. I enjoyed transcribing and so I figured it would be a good way to make some money from home. However, one problem, due to issues with her hands my mom is no longer typing anymore… so what to do?
I decided to look into some online transcription companies. I had signed up for one in the past but never really used it much so I decided now was the time to look into it further. After watching some videos on YouTube and research on Google, I started applying and trying out some companies. The following are three companies that I currently use and have been paid through PayPal at least once if not more or someone I know personally has used them. You will not get rich through these sites but you can make some decent extra money once you get the hang of it, if you have good listening and typing skills.
If you want to test your speed you can sign up for a free student account (you don’t have to be a kid) at Typing.com. You can also review basics there or work on increasing speed through their lessons.
What is transcription you may ask? Well… simply put it is the act of listening to and typing up transcripts of audio or video files. Sometimes you are required to type verbatim (i.e. word-for-word) and other times you clean it up a bit by taking out false starts, filler words (such as you know, like, umm, etc.) and other things. With one of the sites, you can even do some closed captioning of video’s which does require a separate account and application process.
You do not need any special equipment for any of these companies however you can purchase a transcription foot pedal that can make it easier and help with speed. This is optional as each site’s software has keyboard shortcuts (hotkeys) for stopping and starting video/audio files. I highly recommend this eventually but no need to, to get started. I use the Infinity USB Digital Foot Pedal when I feel like using it. You can get one for about $100 CDN new, or about $40 CDN used on eBay.
One thing to note is that all three companies do pay through PayPal in US dollars which if you’re also Canadian works to our favor. So you will need a validated PayPal account. You can sign up for a free account here. Each of these sites pays weekly as well.
Also, you will need to pass some basic grammar and punctuation tests and test transcription files for each of these sites in order to work for them. Honestly, I didn’t find any of them too hard for the beginner tests to do general transcription.
All right, let’s get on to the sites themselves.
The site that I like the most out of the ones I am mentioning today is TranscribeMe. They work a little differently than a lot of the other transcription websites because they take a larger job and break it up into smaller pieces (called micro-tasking). So, for instance, they may have a 2-hour file that they break down into 60 two-minute files. This way they can have multiple people work on the same file at once allowing them to provide a quicker turn around time for their clients.
I like this for a few reasons. Firstly, the files you start out with are only approximately 2 minutes long, which can take anywhere from about 5 minutes up to an hour to type depending on the difficulty of the file and your typing speed. I do find the quality of their files to be a bit better than some of the other sites. It takes me about 15 minutes to type a 2-minute file at about 50wpm.
TranscribeMe seems to have more work in the late afternoon and evening and overnight based off of my timezone AST (Atlantic Standard Time GMT-4) and not much work throughout the day and on the weekends. However, I often log in and keep it open when I am blogging, watching YouTube videos or even working on another site. TranscribeMe’s files are audio-only as far as I can tell. I have never gotten a video anyways. And they give you an hour per audio minute to complete the files as far as I understand.
One thing I do not particularly like about TranscribeMe but for me is not really a deal-breaker, is that when logged into the work hub you will automatically be sent a file when one becomes available, you can cancel the job if you are not able to understand what is being said due to bad audio quality or accents, etc however it will kick you out of the queue and back to the bottom of the queue again. After 3 consecutive cancellations, you have to wait for 2 minutes before being able to jump back in. Not that big a deal but a bit annoying if you end up canceling and getting the same file back. No big deal though.
TranscribeMe pays weekly but you have to have $20 US available before you can request a payout and you will get paid the following Thursday basically. They pay $15-22 US per audio hour (so, not per hour, but per audio hour as in the length of the file not how long you spend on it). It can work out to less than minimum wage but then again, it’s money and everything counts.
You can create your free TranscribeMe account here.
The next site I use a lot is Rev. Rev is the first site I ever signed up for and I have have been paid multiple times via PayPal with absolutely no issues. Rev has a lot of transcription work right now and tons of files to choose from. They work differently than TranscribeMe in a few key ways. First off, you have a list of files to choose from which gives you a preview (actually you can listen to any part of the file before accepting it) of the audio/video file. It also tells you the price of each file including the amount per minute and the total amount and also the quality, and how long you have to complete the file before taking it.
Rev pays on a sliding scale for both the difficulty of the file. They pay between $0.30 – $1.10 US per audio minute (minute not hour) for transcription. Again, as mentioned above that is not per hour you work but per hour of the audio/video file.
Secondly, the files are full-length files that are not divided up, but there are files of all lengths available. I recommend starting out with short files to start out with during your “probation” time so that you can meet the metrics you need to be promoted to a full Revver and not have your account suspended. I was able to pretty easily do this.
Rev also has captioning and subtitling jobs available as well. You have to sign up separately for each and take separate tests for each. I absolutely love Rev captioning and spend most of my time in there as I find the files a bit better quality and the videos interesting. Rev captioning does not have nearly as much available for work as their transcription, however. Which is why I generally have a few sites logged in at the same time. Captioning pays a bit better than translation as well. $0.54 – $1.10 USD per audio/video minute.
As for subtitling through Rev I can not say much as I don’t know any other languages so I am not signed up but it appears from their freelancer page that it pays between $1.50 – $3.00 USD per audio/video minute. Obviously you need to know a foreign language and take a test as well.
Rev has been around for a long time and is a great opportunity for making a little extra money or helping you towards your at-home career goals. You can sign up for a free Rev account here.
The last site I am going to mention today is one that I have just started out using is Scribie. My mom used to use it and Rev both when she was short on legal transcription work and never had any issues with getting paid. Scribie like TranscribeMe breaks up the files into smaller chunks no more than 10 minutes. They give you 2 hours to complete each file.
They also offer free automated transcripts to save you time typing it. You still have to listen to the whole file making corrections as you go as if you’ve ever used text-to-speech you’ll know that automation does not always mean it’s right, you will still have to edit for wrong words, incorrect punctuation, and other things. I like this feature though, it is one of my favorite things about Scribie. You also get to preview files with Scribie, unlike TranscribeMe.
Scribie has no withdrawal limit (i.e. $20 before you can withdraw) and pays between $5 -$25 per audio hour and you get a $5 monthly bonus for every 3 hours completed. You can sign up for a free Scribie account here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my first post here on The Great Canadian Housewife and if you would like to check out my personal blog you can do so here.