Working as a Transcriptionist from home: salary and what you need to get started

Transcribing is one of the great ways to make money from home, especially for the salary and flexibility. So what is transcription, and how do you become a transcriptionist on the Internet?

Getting started as a transcriptionist can be difficult. The challenge is due to the fact that there is a lot of competition and also the increasing demand for general transcriptionists popping up every day. But rest assured, if you’re just starting out in transcription, you’re in the right place!

What is transcription?

Transcription is the process by which a person converts audio to text. A transcriptionist, on the other hand, is the person who is in charge of doing this job. To get started as a transcriptionist, you have to see if you’ll like the job and if you’re suited for it (or can get it).

How do you know if you are a good candidate for transcription work?

That said, here are a few questions, if the answer is yes to the vast majority of them, you are a good candidate to be a transcriptionist:

  • Do you type accurately at 45 words per minute (WPM) or more?
  • Do you have a quiet place to work without distractions?
  • Is $12/$ to $35/$ per hour an acceptable income range for you?
  • Do you have experience using computers and the Internet?
  • Would you say you have a high level of self-discipline for telecommuting?
  • Do you have good grammar, punctuation and accentuation skills?
  • Do you enjoy making your own work schedule?
  • Do you have experience using Microsoft Word (or any other program)?
  • Do you have a computer with Internet access?
  • Can you meet tight deadlines?
  • Do you have a good ear for listening to audio?

If your answer was YES to almost all of the above questions, you can certainly make a good career in transcription.

How much does a transcriptionist get paid?

Transcription pay varies, general transcription pays better than most work at home jobs. You can earn up to 20 euros/dollars per hour or more, and those who specialize in some more complex subject matter (legal, medical, etc) can earn even more per hour. The normal range is between 10 and 15 €/$ per hour.

Generally, the amount of money you earn as a transcriptionist will depend on the company you work for, the work available, and your level of skill and speed.

How easy is it to be a transcriptionist?

The job seems very easy. However, like other jobs, what is easy for one person will not be so easy for another.

For example, sometimes the files you listen to may be of poor quality, and it will be difficult to understand what is being said. At other times, you might find yourself trying to interpret dialogue that is unclear, speaking with a thick accent or poor language.

The work is also very repetitive. You will listen to the same audio several times to make sure everything has been transcribed perfectly. If you hate repetition, then transcribing might not be your ideal job.

However, the flexibility of the job can make up for the fact that it can be repetitive and complicated at times. In addition, managing your schedule translates into planning time off when needed.

Why is there so much demand for transcriptionists?

Transcription work is in high demand by organizations and companies that need their focus groups, interviews, and podcasts, etc, transcribed. There are many ways to become a transcriptionist. However, it is highly recommended that you start your career working in transcription companies.

Where to find transcriptionist jobs?

There are hundreds of sites for transcription jobs, but in a nutshell these are some of the best:

  • General job search sites, such as LinkedIn.
  • Pages specialized in the freelance world, such as Fiverr, Workana, Upwork, Guru, People per Hour, among others. In this type of websites you can search for offers for transcriptionists, or offer your services in this area.
  • Specialized companies such as Happyscribe.

Tips to become a transcriptionist

Some tips that will make you become the best transcriptionist or improve if you are already one.

1. Invest in learning

If you’re joining as a beginner, it’s important to start by learning as much as you can about freelance transcription work. Consider joining a forum of professional transcriptionists. This will help you discover a wealth of useful information and transcripts from professionals who make money from transcription, and this, in turn, will help you develop your skills.

These mentors and forums will provide you with an online community where you can vent work frustrations and celebrate achievements together. A community of real people who understand your problems.

As a newbie in the field of transcription, it would also be very helpful to take online courses. There are hundreds of online courses by doing a few internet searches that will be helpful in understanding more about transcription.

2. Increase your typing speed

If you can type about 40 WPM (words per minute) on the keyboard, that’s a good start. The ideal would be around 60 WPM to deliver transcripts quickly and thus make your clients happy. It is clear that happy clients will give you great reviews and recommendations, and therefore you will get more work that will help you catapult your career as a transcriptionist.

If your typing speed is below 40 WPM, you will need to practice and increase your speed. Many audio and video files take three to five hours to transcribe, the more you shorten the time the more work you can do or the more free time you will have, and thus the higher your income.

3. Controlling grammar is very important

If you want to make money through transcription, you need to check your grammar. It will be useful when you want to distinguish expressions and words with similar sounds (homophones) but different meanings. This is one of the most valuable tips a newbie can receive, strive to polish your grammar and written communication skills.

On the other hand, there are proofreading skills to use once you are done with your typing marathons. You can use free tools to solve this problem.

4. Listening skills are vital for transcription work

Your typing intention is fueled by listening with devotion. You will need to practice listening to audios to hear and understand what is required for transcribing.

You will transcribe different audios in your transcription career, and these will range from single-speaker sermons to group interviews where you will be asked to differentiate who is who. You may also receive audios with some background noise.

5. You may need the help of transcription software

When you start out, you’re probably interested in using free transcription software. You can choose whether to invest in paid software tools after you’re sure that a career in transcription on your own is a job you’d like to pursue in the long run.

These programs can help you set up keyboard hotkeys, slow down, stop, pause, rewind or fast forward the audio quickly and easily.

6. Get ready for a healthy adventure

Being a transcriptionist will help you get numerous exciting projects to collaborate on. You will get to team up with numerous great clients in different fields. From religious sermons , philosophical sermons and internet marketers to interviews recorded by great people, we recommend you to be open-minded about everything you hear.

Working as a transcriptionist involves learning about various topics and perspectives of thoughts every day. If you enjoy the latter, you will find transcription satisfying, so keep an open mind.

7. Look for the type of transcription the client needs

There are several clients who will ask you to include filler words, connectors or starters in the texts to this is called simple verbatim transcription. Others will require you to have the audio transcribed word for word (for example in job interviews where every word counts for the interviewer), this is known as full verbatim transcription.

Therefore, be sure to ask the client what type of transcription they require before you start working on it.