19 Transcription Jobs for Beginners

Transcription jobs for beginners

Transcription was the first freelancing job that I ever did.

I worked for a local research company. The company used to conduct interviews and do research for brands who were about to launch their products in the market.

The process was a little bit tedious because they would record the interviews on a radio cassette tape. Sounds like centuries ago phew!

This only meant, to be able to work on the file, you needed to have a radio that could play the cassette. Sometimes the magnetic tape would get eaten up by the radio and I had to improvise in order to continue working on the audio.

And, to make matters worse, I had to write the transcript on a foolscap, yes you got that right. Imagine missing out a word and having to start afresh yet you had written an entire page.

With time, I talked the company into allowing me to type it out instead of using the old age pen and paper.

They were receptive to the idea because it actually reduced their costs.

This simply meant they didn’t have to pay someone else to type out what I had written on paper while transcribing.

For those wondering, this was in the early 2000’s.

I later moved on to working for companies who had digitized the entire process. And this was a sigh of relief.

What Is Transcription?

Transcription is the process of converting an audio file; live or recorded into written text.

A transcriptionist is a professional who listens to a live or recorded audio or video and types it out word for word.

Are transcriptionists in demand?

Years ago, just like in my case as a beginner freelance transcriptionist, most companies had to rely on mail to get their work transcribed.

Cassette tapes, floppy discs or CDs had to be mailed to a transcriber to get done.

With the emergence of the internet, things have changed tremendously. More companies are able to get their work done faster. The audio and video recordings are able to be shared faster and the transcripts too can be sent back easily unlike in the past.

This has made transcription jobs to be in high demand.

Who Hires Transcriptionists?

As a transcriber, your work involves listening to an audio file and typing out what you hear. It also involves checking to make sure the grammar and punctuation is correct. You really don’t want to send back a file full of spelling and grammatical errors back to the client.

Transcription has gained popularity over time and people in different fields hire transcribers. From businesses, to bloggers and even the medical field.

If you are a registered nurse who wants to work from home, you may consider medical transcription as a work from home option. It will be easier for you, because you are already familiar with the medical jargon.

Bloggers who have YouTube channels or host podcasts are always on the lookout for someone to transcribe for them.

There are some published authors who prefer to record their thoughts and have someone type it out instead of them having to sit down and do it.

You can also work for lecturers and professors. There are those who record their lessons and want someone to type it out for them.

Legal transcription is also another option for those who have studied law but are looking for work from home jobs.

How Much Money Can You Make As A Transcriptionist?

Transcription is a lucrative career that offers great work from home opportunities. An honest answer to how much can I earn as a transcriptionist is it depends.

According to PayScale, the average hourly pay for a transcriber is $16.27. This rate can go low or higher depending on your skills and expertise. Someone working on general files may earn lower than a transcriber working as a medical transcriptionist.

how much can I earn as a transcriptionist

Most companies hiring transcriptionists pay per audio minute. The pay ranges anywhere between $0.30 to $1.00 per audio minute.

Let’s take an example of a dedicated transcriber who is able to transcribe two audio hours a day for 5 days a week.

A freelancer who is a beginner transcriptionist being paid $0.3 per audio minute, will earn $720 per month working from home as a transcriptionist. If the same user is paid $1.10 per audio minute, this will translate to $2,640 at the end of the month.

Provided you put in the work, work from home transcription jobs can help pay the bills.

Transcription Requirements For Beginners

We’ve looked at what transcription is and how much you can earn working from home as a transcriptionist.

Still interested and want to know what you need in order to get started?

Most transcription companies don’t ask for much from the transcribers. All you are required to have is a computer and a strong internet connection to enable you download the files. Yes, we are no longer waiting for cassette tapes in the mail.

Here are a few tools you will need to be able to work as a transcriptionist.

1. Computer

This is kind of obvious but I thought it worth mentioning. If you are starting out as a transcriptionist, you need to invest in a computer. You don’t need a high-end computer for this work from home job.

Someone may ask, can I use my phone to work as a transcriptionist? Personally, I’ve never done it. A phone’s screen is a bit small and will not give you an option to listen and type at the same time. May be if you use two phones? But it will be time consuming. The best option is to get a computer, even if it’s a used or refurbished computer to get you started.

2. Headphones

Headphones may not be a must have when working from home as a transcriptionist. However, they help you to focus on the audio you are working on and be more accurate in your transcription.

Headphones are also great in helping you avoid distractions. If you are looking to optimize your listening skills, get yourself some quality headphones.

3. Foot pedal

A foot pedal, also called a WAV pedal or transcription pedal, is a tool that helps a transcriber to play, pause or rewind an audio or video file with their foot, leaving the hands to focus on typing.

If you are on a tight budget, you can do without a foot pedal and invest in it once you’ve started earning from your transcription job.

Most foot pedal models are USB making it easy to plug into any computer for use.

4. Express Scribe

Express Scribe is an audio player software that works both on PC and Mac, that is specifically designed for transcribers.

The software uses hot keys that makes controlling the audio file easier. Some of the hot keys you’ll frequently use while working on a transcription audio include:

Hot KeyFunction
F10Play real speed
F11Play slow speed
F12Play with pausing
Express Scribe hot keys

Express scribe has both free and paid versions. The free version is equipped with enough features to enable you transcribe a file with ease as a beginner freelance transcriptionist.

5. Your working space

Your comfort is key if you want to deliver quality transcripts. Investing in a good comfortable chair and table should be a priority. Do whatever you can to ensure your work space is conducive. A good chair will help you avoid having back problems in the long run.

What Skills and Experience Do I Need to Work as A Transcriptionist?

This is a very common question when you mention transcription as a work from home option.

The truth is, it all varies.

Most general transcription jobs don’t require a certain set of skills or extensive experience. However, that doesn’t mean you can start working as a transcriptionist with zero skills.

In order to succeed in this work from home job, here are some of the skills you need to consider:

  • Typing speed. It goes without saying, the faster you are able to type, the sooner you’ll finish up on an audio file. Typing speed comes with practice. There are several practice software and courses online that you can use to improve on your speed.
  • Good listening skills. If you are never attentive to whatever people say, you may find it hard to work as a transcriptionist. Not only do you have to listen, but you have to be attentive and carefully grasp what is being said in the audio.
  • Grammar, punctuation, and spelling skills. If you have a good grasp of these skills, it will be easier to type out what you hear. Having trouble with your grammar, you may check out some grammar tools that can help you edit your file and remove grammatical errors.

The above are general skills that you need to work on general transcription jobs. But, if you want to specialize and work on medical transcription jobs or legal transcription jobs, having some background knowledge in the said fields will go a long way.

How to Succeed as A Transcriptionist

Like any other work from home job, if you want to excel as a work at home transcriptionist, you will need to treat this more as a business and less of a side hustle.

Here are some helpful tips to help you succeed in transcription jobs:

#Tip1: Buy the right equipment. I totally understand you may be starting transcription as a side hustle but to excel in this field, having the right equipment can help increase your productivity. Check out the equipment I’ve mentioned above and start saving to buy.

#Tip2: Marketing. No one is going to find you unless you put yourself out there. Marketing yourself doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

By having professional profiles on social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can help you land a few jobs.

Use the right keywords and participate in places where your potential clients can be found.

Create an email signature that tells your contacts what you do.

Use your social media profiles creatively. Most social media platforms allow you to have a profile photo and a cover photo.

#Tip3: Create a banner that details that you are a transcriptionist, your rates and your niche (general, medical, legal). Use this as your cover photo on your social media platforms.

Remember you don’t need to spend thousands to market yourself, but knowing the right places to do it and how to do it, can bring in a lot of leads.

#Tip4: Meet and exceed client’s expectations. Clients love working with transcriptionists who can meet deadlines or better yet, deliver the files earlier than agreed. Only take on work that you are sure you can deliver on time. Its tempting to take on extra work but if you won’t deliver on time, it will work against you.

#Tip5: Online courses. If you have no idea how to do it or just want to be sure you are on the right track, taking online transcription courses can help. You can find free tutorials on YouTube, find a Podcast that focuses on transcription, or sign up on online course platforms and start learning.

With the right attitude, and organization, you should be able to turn transcription from a side hustle into a full-time money-making business.

19 Transcription Jobs For Beginners

A lot of online transcription jobs are known as general transcription jobs. They don’t require a certification or specific skills and they are a great option for beginner transcriptionists.

These include working on audio recordings such as interviews, business talks, podcasts, lectures, book recordings, webinars and so much more.

Here are places you can easily find and get hired for work at home transcription jobs:

#1: Rev

Rev.com requires candidates applying to join their site to participate in a grammar quiz and submit a transcription sample

Pay: $0.30-$1.10 per audio minute.

#2: Scribie

Scribie has openings for both beginner transcriptionist who are looking to hone their transcription skills and experienced transcriptionists. The core skill Scribie looks out for is the ability to correct manual and automated transcripts.

#3: Go Transcript

Go Transcript hires transcribers across the world in a variety of languages. Some of the languages they hire for include;

  • English
  • Chinese
  • Dutch
  • German
  • Japanese
  • Korean

To check whether your language is listed, click on the “Apply Button” and check if your language is listed.

Pay: up to $0.60 per audio minute. Average earnings per month is $150.

#4: CrowdSurf

CrowdSurf freelance transcription skills needed
Required skills to work at CrowdSurf

CrowdSurf is a marketplace for transcribers. You have to sign up on their Work Market to get started. They hire both beginner and experienced transcribers.

CrowdSurf audio files range between 5 seconds to 30 seconds with the pay rate ranging from $0.03 to $0.20 per audio minute. You get paid instantly.  

#5: CastingWords


CastingWords works with freelance transcriber across various states and countries. If you are 18 years of age and live in one of the countries or states they support, then you can sign up.

The pay rate ranges from 8.5 cents to a dollar per audio minute. The type of job you do, your level and the grade of work submitted determines the amount you’ll get paid. Work graded below 4 is not paid.  

#6: BabbleType

BabbleType hires English transcriptionist who are able to handle sophisticated transcription formats. To join their team, you will be required to watch a video to find out if you are a good fit for their team.

#7: Daily Transcription

Daily Transcription hires both beginner transcriptionists and professionals. As a transcriptionist at Daily Transcription, you’ll work on academic, legal, entertainment and corporate audios.

If you are able to meet strict deadlines, have strong mastery of the English language, excellent listening skills and can type at least 50 wpm, give them a try.

From stay-at-home moms, students, writers, anyone is welcome to apply.

Their starting rates are at $0.75 – $0.85 per audio minute.

#8: Aberdeen

Aberdeen Broadcast Services is currently hiring closed captioners. Some of their requirements include having a closed captioning software and a speed of 180-220 wpm.

#9: SpeakWrite

SpeakWrite equipment requirement
Equipment needed to work for SpeakWrite

SpeakWrite is currently hiring transcriptionists who have experience in general, legal and Spanish transcription.

To qualify, you are required to be a legal resident of the U.S or Canada. Have at least one or more years of experience. Be fluent in English (and Spanish, for those working on Spanish transcriptions). And, a minimum average typing speed of 60 wpm.

Average monthly earning is $450

#10: SpeechPad

SpeechPad is a great platform for beginner transcriptionists. If you are fluent in English and can type at least 40 words per minute, you can sign up on SpeechPad. No special equipment is required.

Pay: 0.25 – $1.00 per audio minute.

#11: TranscribeMe

TranscribeMe hires transcriptionists from around the work. To qualify, you need to be 18 years and above. Pass their entrance exam. Have a valid PayPal account and access to a computer with internet connection.

#12: Transcription Outsourcing

Transcription Outsourcing

As a transcriber working at Transcription Outsourcing, you’ll work on various audio files including, legal, medical, general and financial audios.

The pay varies depending on the type of audio you are working on; the turnaround time, difficult of audio and your experience.

  • Medical: $0.07 – $0.10 per line
  • Legal: $0.80 – $1.10 per minute
  • General, academic, financial: $0.80 – $1.10 per minute

#13: eScribers

eScribers is one of the largest US legal transcription companies. They also hire electronic and stenographic reporters and proofreaders. If you have experience in a different field other than legal, you can be considered.

#14: Way With Words

At Way With Words, you’ll work on audios across many industries including; finance, academics, emerging technologies, police service, pharmaceuticals and so much more. They also hire closed captionists.

Pay varies depending on the project turnaround time. As a transcriptionist you can earn anywhere between $0.45 – $1.73 per audio minute.

They are currently hiring English first language speakers from the following regions; the United States, Canada, South Africa, the United Kingdom, countries in the European Union, Hong Kong, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and Malaysia.

#15: Averbach Transcription

Averbach doesn’t ask for much when it comes to hiring transcribers. If you are proficient in English with a keen attention to detail, you need to take their skills test to get started. They have a practice test if you want to get a feel of what to expect.

They have competitive rates. Normal files are paid at $1.00 per audio minute while same day and overnight files are paid at $1.50 per audio minute.

Read our Averbach Transcription review here

#16: Allegis Transcription

Established in 1996, Allegis hires freelance transcriptionists who can work on multi-speaker files, excellent grammar and fast and accurate typing. They work for the legal and insurance industries.

#17: Verbit

Verbit is always hiring transcribers. You just have to fill out a form on their website and provide your details including your LinkedIn profile. There is an option for Hebrew speakers.

#18: GMR Transcription

GMR Transcription is always looking to hire typists for general transcription, Spanish transcription/translator and certified translators. Although you don’t need any experience to join, you must pass a transcription test.

Pay rates are based on number of speakers, turnaround time, and the quality of the audio file.

#19: Job boards

Another option of finding transcription jobs is signing up and creating freelancer profiles on job boards such as Upwork, Fiverr and Indeed.

You’ll probably land one off jobs on these platforms but there are also chances of finding a client you can work with long-term.

Start Transcribing Today!

As we have seen, transcription is a great way to start working from home and earn money from your spare time.

If you have the skills and time, sign up to any of the 19 awesome transcription jobs I’ve shared and start earning from home.

I did this for years and I know you can also do it.

I’d love to hear some of your success stories as a transcriber, the challenges you have faced and tips that worked for you as a beginner freelance transcriptionist.

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  1. I am a dedicated young girl who would wish to do transcription but I don’t have an account. Can i get to work for another person account . I will really appreciate

    1. Why would you want to work under somebody, Mercyline? If you’ve got the necessary skills and equipment, I’d recommend checking out the listed companies and trying your luck.

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